Sober September Is The Latest Trend. Here's What You Need To Know

When summer rolls around, it is a time to feel free and let loose. While it is different for everyone, this can include summer vacations, parties, music festivals, nights out with your friends, as well as a feeling of optimism and positivity. Summer represents a time that follows all the new growth and beginnings that came from springtime, making things feel hopeful and bright. Because of these summer indulgences, this is also a time when people enjoy a variety of alcoholic drinks in high amounts. In a 1996 study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, it was found that drinking is usually the most excessive in summer: "With regard to drinking five or more drinks on 11 or more occasions in the past month the level of seasonality is very pronounced."

Come the end of summer, September introduces yet another, quieter season often referred to as the "season of change." During this transition into fall, many people take time to reflect on their life, where they are at, and where they want to go in the future. In opposition to a busy summer, fall brings a calmer state of mind to acknowledge different aspects of your personal life (via International Association of Wellness Professionals). A new feeling enters with a recommitment to work, school, oneself, or other responsibilities depending on your goals. Thus, concepts like Sober September are born.

What is Sober September?

For those who indulged in summer drinking, they may want to use September to give themselves a break from it, gathering and recollecting themselves for the new season. This means no alcohol for the month of September, or 30 days following the end of summer. It's comparable to the concept of Dry January which is associated with the idea of beginning "the new year with a clean slate," per Harvard Medical School. However, Sober September is relatively new and can be attributed to the British charity Cancer Research U.K., which The Sun credits with starting the challenge in 2016. "After a boozy summer, September is a month that finds a lot of people in detox mode," author of "Sober Curious" and founder of Club SÖDA NYC Ruby Warrington tells Bustle.

Additionally, Sober September presents a great opportunity to reflect on your relationship with alcohol. It's a good way to determine the kind of impact that consuming alcohol has on your life. "These months are good and healthy to do, if not only for the reason that they bring back into the forefront of our consciousness how we consume alcohol and force us to take stock of this," ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton tells Good Morning America, referring to Dry January and Sober September. If you find these challenges very difficult, it might indicate that you may have a problem with dependence, overuse, or misuse of alcohol. By recognizing this, you can take the proper next steps for your health.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Benefits of going sober short-term

Even just one month of sobriety alone can bring powerful benefits for your health and your body. Participating in Sober September can give you a glimpse into what long-term sobriety could do for your wellbeing. Online alcohol treatment platform Monument says that sobriety challenges are a good way to start a rewarding journey. Many of its members started with a challenge like Sober September, finding themselves pursuing sobriety beyond that time. By doing it with a community through a wide-spread challenge, you also feel like you're a part of something bigger. Doing the challenge with others, even strangers, can help you feel encouraged and motivated. By being sober for a month or more, you will also begin experiencing a wide variety of sobriety benefits like better sleep, reduced anxiety, increased energy, and more, per GQ. "There's no doubt that giving your body a break from alcohol, or a reset to a lower level of drinking, is good for your health," professor of addiction psychiatry at King's College's National Addiction Centre Colin Drummond tells the publication.

If you're ready to do a sobriety challenge, ask your friends and family for their support. This also sets a boundary to help them understand your goals. Additionally, try staying away from places associated with drinking. Find other activities such as going outdoors or starting a new hobby instead. If you feel like you absolutely need to have a drink, opt for a mocktail to stay on track.