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Go Sober for October - What are your favourite non-alcoholic alternatives?

Tori_Scope Posts: 6,060

Scope community team

edited October 9 in Coffee lounge
Sober October encourages people to go alcohol-free in October to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. 

In the spirit (ha) of this, I'm interested in knowing what your favourite non-alcoholic drinks are. 

I tend to like keeping it pretty basic if I fancy a non-alcoholic drink, with a simple fizzy drink. Dr Pepper, and fruity ones like Fanta Fruit Twist, are classic favourite for me!

If you need some inspiration for something a bit fancier, why not check out Ross' post from last Alcohol Awareness Week, in which he posted some delicious mocktail recipes?

If you're trying kick the booze this month, Macmillan also have a handy wellbeing hub you can access, with plenty of tips and ideas. 

two drinks on a table

Here are some top tips to get you started:

Believe in yourself

You might be feeling apprehensive about a whole month without alcohol and wondering if you have the willpower to last a full 31 days. Research shows that yes, you do – as long as you believe you do. People who believe that willpower is unlimited tend to be better at dealing with tasks that require self-control, and also tend to be happier. Tell yourself that you can do it, and it’s more likely that you will!

Get your friends on board

Our friends and family are vital to our success with this kind of thing , – they can either be your biggest supporters, or biggest liability if they’re determined to get you to drink. Making sure your friends are on side is really important, and better yet see if some can take on the challenge with you. If nothing else, let them know you’re giving up alcohol will make you less likely to quit, just to avoid the embarrassment of doing so!

Try urge-surfing

One thing you can try is urge surfing, a mindfulness technique which has been used to help people with addictions . When you feel the urge to drink, you’re encouraged to pay attention to it without trying to change it or get rid of it. We know that when you try not to think about something, it often makes the compulsion to think about it much stronger. So instead of trying to push away the urge, really think about it: what the sensations are that come with it, what you’re thinking about, and why. The point is that urges pass, whether you give into them or not. If you can confront the uncomfortable sensation, accept it and handle it, you’re much more likely to be able to get through it without giving in.

Change your environment

Studies have shown that people who have the most willpower actually use it the least. In other words, the way they shape their surroundings means they’re less likely to come into contact with temptation. This month is a good opportunity to ‘soberlise’ and try activities that don’t involve alcohol.

Have a plan for alternatives

Most of us have a favourite tipple that we’ll automatically choose when we find ourselves at a bar, whether that’s a pint of Guinness or a gin and tonic. Have you thought about what your non-alcoholic drink will be for the month? Having a plan in place for what you’ll order if you find yourself at the bar will help you to avoid falling into old habits.

Break up the month into smaller chunks

Small goals feel easier and more achievable, so break up your big overarching goal of 31 days in your mind. Think about individual days or specific events that you need to get through, and reward yourself for doing it. Did you make it through a party without having a drink? Brilliant, that deserves a massage or a shopping trip. Thinking about the challenge in terms of a few days or a week at a time will make it feel much easier, as will celebrating those small wins (without alcohol of course!).

Have self-compassion

If you’re used to drinking a lot of alcohol and your social life is geared towards it, this challenge will be really difficult. It’s important to remember that you’re only human, and to treat yourself with kindness even when you’re struggling. Don’t be afraid to let yourself have other treats instead of alcohol, reward yourself with other activities you enjoy so you don’t feel too deprived.

Beware the ‘what the hell’ effect

One thing that has been well-documented is the ‘what the hell’ effect, where people slip up once and think, “What the hell!” and break their resolution. For example, someone on a diet might have some birthday cake in the office – then order a takeaway when they get home, as their diet is already ‘broken’. If you do slip up and have a drink, it’s not an excuse to go mad – get back on the wagon as soon as you can, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Focus on what you’ve already achieved

Some studies have found that people trying to achieve a goal feel more motivated when they think about the smallest area of progress. In other words, when you’ve only just started, you’ll be more motivated by thinking about the few days you’ve gone without a drink than the few weeks left to go. However, when people are nearly at the end, to maintain your motivation, focus on the small number of days you have left.

Remember why you’re doing it

Whatever your reasons for going sober, they’ll be a powerful motivator when things get tough. Whether you’re doing it to lose weight, if you are supporting a friend who is going through a difficult time, or you’re just doing it to help a good cause, remembering why you signed up in the first place will help you stay on track.

Do you drink? Have you ever tried to give up alcohol? What's your favourite non-alcoholic drink alternative?
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  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,330 Disability Gamechanger
    We are neither of us big drinkers but SM is enjoying alcohol free wine at the moment 6 bottles from amazon for around £23, so its a win win.
    I am a person with epilepsy not an epileptic, my illness doesn't define me.
  • nannymaroon
    nannymaroon Member Posts: 245 Courageous
    I'm not a big drinker so I don't really miss it. Right now I'm enjoying a glass of Iceland's raspberry and apple juice drink. I first tried it when a friend made a vodka cocktail with it. Even without alcohol. It's very dry and tastes a bit like cranberry juice. Very refreshing over ice with a slice of lime.

  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,521 Disability Gamechanger
    Same here. Drank my way through my 20s but now I’m a near wholly social drinker. Gluten free beer maybe once or twice a week, especially of catching up with friends on Zoom or during our work based Album Group. Only tend to exceed that on a night out with friends from school and even then 6pints over 6 hours and you largely wake up so we and raring to go (ish). Mostly I drink lots of water, ginger beer or bitter lemon. 
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,608 Disability Gamechanger
    I like piña colada and realised I like it just as much without the rum in it, it was the other flavours that made it nice to me.
  • Dragonslayer
    Dragonslayer Community Co-Production Group Posts: 1,540 Pioneering
    I still like a drink of whisky, Jim Beam Bourbon. But only in the evening and not too much when I do.
    I like a beer now and then, but now I have found small bottles of Becks non-alcoholic beer and I drink a couple of them on an evening with a little lime to add some flavour. I find it as good as alcohol beer when I do drink it.
  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Member Posts: 1,994 Pioneering
    I drink zero alcohol. Prefer water with meals,  if I go in pub I have coffee
  • Teddybear12
    Teddybear12 Member Posts: 765 Pioneering
    I drink Mocktails most of the time because I drive.
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Give me a cup of tea any day!
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