Now that we’re past Labor Day, the unofficial end point of summer, it’s time to gear up for the fall... and for the not-too-distant holidays. Football season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are all prime times for gathering with friends and family, maybe with a libation in hand.
As summer barbecues and frozen margaritas give way to tailgating parties and spiked ciders, some folks decide to press pause on their drinking habits and lay off the sauce for a month. Specifically, for the month of September.
What is “Sober September”?
Like “Dry January," the common practice of teetotaling for a month after the holiday rush, Sober September involves taking a month-long break from drinking, using September 1-30 as a time to abstain from alcohol and provide yourself with the opportunity to examine your health and your drinking habits.
Of course, for many people, sobriety as a health necessity and/or lifestyle decision extends far beyond the parameters of a month, and we don't mean to suggest that sobriety should be treated as a short-term "fad." But if you're not someone for whom permanent sobriety is necessary, taking a break from drinking can still come with a host of benefits.
Wondering whether Sober September might be worth a try in your life? Here are seven reasons to consider it:
1. The back-to-school vibes of September make it a good month for a “reset."
We as a society commonly consider September a time for new beginnings. Even if you’re many years removed from your school days, that sense of possibility still remains associated with this month, which makes September an auspicious time for any number of personal resets (like a drinking hiatus).
2. Taking a month-long break from drinking before the holiday season can have health benefits.
Once Labor Day elapses, September serves as the last month of the year without what have become known by some as major “drinking holidays." Therefore, it’s a great time to try a booze-free month to cleanse your systems before Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December festivities. Healthline cites a study by the University College London Medical School focused on month-long drinking breaks; the researchers reported improved sleep quality, lower cholesterol, and better blood sugar levels among participants after the dry spell.
3. September is National Recovery Month.
For many people, Sober September can be beneficial even if struggling with alcohol dependency isn't part of your life. However, if you are concerned about your drinking habits and find yourself considering full-time sobriety, Sober September could be a useful opportunity to begin that journey, especially because September is National Recovery Month.
Need to talk to someone about alcohol or drug addiction?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free, confidential, 24/7 hotline. Call 1-800-662-HELP.
4. Research shows that a month without drinking can lead to healthier drinking habits afterwards.
In a recent article about Sober September, Good Morning America mentioned the results of a University of Sussex study concerning the similar “Dry January”. Researchers discovered that “people who participated in Dry January drank less often, had fewer drinks when they did drink and were drunk less often six months after Dry January was completed. Also, Dry January participants were better able to refuse alcoholic drinks.” So if you’re interested in revamping your drinking habits even after Sober September ends, this month off can set you up for success.
5. A month without booze is great for your bank account.
If you partake of alcoholic beverages on a regular basis, you’re undoubtedly aware of the toll these libations can take on your wallet. A cocktail or a glass of wine can easily cost $12-15 each in major urban centers, making a “night on the town” a major financial expenditure. But if you don’t consume booze, your spending significantly decreases, which is excellent news for your budgetary plans.
6. There’s a whole wide world of non-alcoholic beverages and “mocktails” out there.
Sober September isn’t a time to avoid social gatherings simply because you’re not drinking alcohol. Instead, you can take this chance to explore the white-hot “mocktail” trend that’s sweeping trendy bars and restaurants around the country. Ask a bartender to make you a booze-free cocktail, and you’ll likely receive a bespoke beverage every bit as well-crafted as its alcohol-based equivalents, and at a fraction of the cost.
7. “Sober September” works well as a group activity with your friends.
As we mentioned previously, isolation shouldn’t be a side effect of Sober September. If you think that your friends would be up for it, why not make your alcohol-free month a group activity? That way, you can provide support to each other and can plan events that don’t center around drinking, removing the possibility of FOMO.