A month off drinking is not only a great charity challenge, but also a great way to review your drinking habits. Can you really keep off the sauce for a month? What (or who) are your triggers? Where are the opportunities for you to swap out a few alcoholic-drinks in the longer term? Whatever your motivation, Eisberg the UK’s number one alcohol free wine has teamed up with Laura Willoughby, co-founder of Club Soda the Mindful Drinking Movement, to give you the top 5 tips for a successful Sober October.
- PLAN AHEAD
Winging it won’t work. A bad day at work or an impromptu night out could scupper your best intentions. Planning ahead means you will stay on track. Swap out pub nights for cinema or an immersive experience, avoid mates that will be less than supportive, and make sure you know what you’ll do if your work day turns a bit stressful. How will you relax or console yourself if this happens? At Club Soda, we use a method called WOOP to help plan for obstacles. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. It can be used to set your goal for the month or just planning for a night ahead. For example:
Wish: I wish to be sober for October
Outcome: If I do this I will be chuffed I raised so much cash for charity
Obstacle: My best mate will encourage me to drink
Plan: If this happens I will be clear with them that this is a charity goal I need their help with, ask them not to pressure me into drinking, and then escape to the loo and look at how much I have raised so far to keep me on track!
You can watch a video on how to use WOOP to get you through the month here.
- GET SOME ALCOHOL-FREE ALTERNATIVES IN
Drinks with an alcohol content under 0.5% only have a trace of alcohol, so we consider them basically alcohol-free. To look at this another way, a ripe banana can contain as much as 0.3% alcohol, and you would have to drink several bottles of Eisberg alcohol-free wine (which is less than 0.05% alcohol) to get one unit of alcohol.
Even better, the alcohol free beers and wines are low in calories and have no added sugar. So if you’re worried you’ll be replacing alcohol with sugar then these drinks will literally dilute your fears. Using Sober October to explore the alcohol free options will also mean you know what you like when you fancy a night off during the rest of the year. Most supermarkets stock Eisberg wines, and the new alcohol free section in Tesco contains alcohol free gin and tonic and several beers too.
- RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE
After two drinks no one notices what you’re drinking. The more people drink, the less they care about what you’re having and once you have said no to the first drink, it gets easier. You will start to see the effects on everyone else – and you can flash forward to their foggy head tomorrow and feel a little bit smug!
And what about pushy mates? Some people make it seem like you have personally let them down by choosing not to drink. Don’t get defensive, if they won’t take a simple explanation don’t get drawn in. Try and turn the discussion onto something different, or if necessary make an excuse and go talk to someone else. Remember: it’s your choice, not theirs, and you don’t owe them an explanation beyond a simple ‘I am doing Sober October’.
- FAKE IT IF YOU HAVE TO
Sometimes it’s worth ‘faking it’ a little, just to avoid a boring discussion about the merits/demerits of being out at the weekend sober. So here are a few ideas for flying below the radar as a secret Sober Hero.
Drink in hand. The easiest way to fake drinking is just to have a drink in your hand. Many bar staff know this trick already, and will conspire with their customers to make it happen!
Turning down a drink. Once you’ve got your drink, your standard response can be a simple ‘I’ve got a drink thanks’, or you can ask for a soft drink and let them think you’re alternating between alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks.
Take your own. Go to the party armed with your own drinks, and when going out call ahead and offer to pay them a £1 ‘corkage’ for every drink of your own you have (because they will then chill it in their fridge and pour it for you) or just be a sober rebel. It’s up to you.
Bitters are basically the answer to the ‘non-alcoholic drinks taste like they are for kids’ problem. With ginger beer, soda and a muddle of mint they make a great alcohol-free mojito. Most places will have Angostura bitters, but if you’re lucky or pick your location well, they might have some more exotic offerings like chocolate, cherry or peach, but don’t go crazy, you only need a few drops!
Raising money for charity is always a great reward in itself, but if you know you will find an evening out a bit hard, then make sure you have planned a special Sober Hero reward for when you get home. It could be an episode of a box set, a bath, or some frozen yoghurt. Whatever your reward is, plan it in advance so you know you have achieved another night out sober.
For more information about Eisberg alcohol free wine and for delicious alcohol free cocktail recipes, visit www.eisberg.co.uk
To find out more about Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement and how to join, visit joinclubsoda.co.uk.