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What is Sober October and How Did it Start?

History of Sober October

If your Instagram feed has been inundated with people chugging mocktails and #soberoctober Instagram posts, you may be curious how this viral challenge got started...

Sober October is similar to its better-known compadre, Dry January, which kicks in as part of your New Year's resolutions.  

In other words, it's just another challenge to stop drinking alcohol for a month. It's a growing trend.

But hey, any reason to get off the sauce for a month is a good one. And many people participate in Sober October for charity, often for recovery and addiction counseling clinics.  

So if you think you can survive Oktoberfest and Halloween without booze, read on... 

The idea for Sober October began ten years ago when the Australian youth health organization Life Education raised money with its "Ocsober" fundraiser in 2010. The name "Sober October" is credited to Macmillan Cancer Support, a UK-based cancer charity. 

But the Sober October challenge became mainstream three years ago when Joe Rogan announced he was taking up the challenge on his The Joe Rogan Experience podcast (and its millions of listeners). He invited listeners to join in. 

Rogan also partnered with fitness tracker WHOOP, which measures heart rate and activity levels, so podcast listeners can check in on him and his co-hosts on Sober October. 

You can listen to the 3rd annual challenge on Joe's recent podcast. Warning: if you haven't experienced the Joe Rogan podcast before, it contains explicit, often vulgar, language and this year also includes some mentions of drugs and other adult topics that may make some cringe.  

Since then, celebrities like Rosanne Barr, Nikki Glaser and pro surfer Kelly Slater have taken on the Sober October challenge. Many celebrities have gone on to cut alcohol altogether. 

Hello, World!

Kelly Slater's Instagram feed.

What's the difference between Dry January and Sober October?

Sober October, like Dry January, is just another month-long challenge to give up booze (and share with the world on social media). There's even a Sober September challenge floating around. 

One of the benefits some see in not waiting to peg your sobriety to your new year's resolutions is that there is less pressure and perhaps it can become more sustainable if you chose to slow down or give up booze all together afterwards. If you've ever experienced the January 1st crowds in your gym, and then witnessed the slow decline once February hits, you'll understand the risks of trying to do too many major life decisions at once. 

That being said, anytime is a good time to cut back on drinking, and millions of people just need a reason... any reason to give it a try. 

If you need the extra push to give up drinking, one of these challenges is a great way to start. And here are some non-alcoholic drink recipes to make Sober October go a little easier. 

Giving up drinking during college football season may be hard for some so we've also put together some drinks you can enjoy on football weekends.