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‘Sober October’: How an alcohol-free month can help people with cancer

Ever wondered what it would be like to wake up on Sunday morning without a hangover? Then maybe it’s time to take up the “Sober October” challenge and see if you can forego alcohol for 31 days, or less, depending on what you’re capable of achieving as we head into fall.

Like “Dry January,” the concept hails from the U.K. and works in the same way: participants enjoy the benefits of a month off the booze while raising money for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support, which provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by the disease.

alcohol
Enjoy the benefits of a month off alcohol with “Sober October”, while also raising money for people with cancer. Image: Zoomstudio/Shutterstock via AFP Relaxnews

How does it work?

The idea is relatively simple. First, head to Gosober.org.uk to sign up and join the other “sober-heroes” of 2020, then choose the number of days you plan to abstain (14, 21 or 31). Next, invite friends, relations and anyone else to support you by making donations. And because everyone can make a mistake, it’s possible to have one or two minor relapses in the month, so long as you pay a penalty, which also goes to charity. You can also buy a “Golden Ticket” for a minimum of £15 (approx. US$19.50) getting you a night off from the month of abstention.

You can take up the challenge alone or — even better — as part of a team to help raise as much money as possible and offer support when temptation calls. Groups of friends and acquaintances can even hold alcohol-free-cocktail parties to help each other steer clear of their favorite tipples. Take a look at social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) to see just how popular the challenge is, and how it can even encourage participants to adopt a healthier lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise.

Why take part?

As well as raising money for people with cancer, the challenge aims to shake up the habits of anyone who likes a drink while opening their eyes to their own consumption. It’s above all about raising awareness among consumers, encouraging them to drink responsibly the rest of the year and to take on board current health recommendations.

According to the charity that launched this fall initiative, “Sober October” is also about enjoying the many benefits of a month without alcohol, such as boosted energy, better sleep and weight loss.

The event joins a host of other challenges encouraging people to adopt healthier lifestyles. In fact, in the UK, October is also “Stoptober,” encouraging smokers to try giving up during the month of October. Then there’s “Dry January,” which also invites people to give up alcohol for a month just after the parties and celebrations of the holiday season.

It’ll be interesting to see how many followers this latest edition attracts when bars are closed in several countries and lockdown restrictions can lead to higher levels of alcohol consumption. IB

RELATED STORIES:

Japanese study links even light alcohol consumption with a higher risk of cancer

New study finds heavy drinking could increase risk of stroke, other heart diseases

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