7 things to do in Sober October instead of drinking
Sober October, a chance to do something more than sitting in the pub drinking pint after pint
It's a pretty damning indictment on British culture that quitting drinking for a month as part of Sober October is viewed as an achievement worthy of the admiration of friends and colleagues. Something you dread beforehand. Your Everest.
"It's my last night on the booze so better make it a big one," you no doubt told your mates on the last Friday in September, a stone dead look in your eyes and a tray of Jägerbombs in your hand. Knowing it was sad, but important to say goodbye properly.
But that final blow out is now over and so here we stand on the cusp of sobriety. Thousands of us vowing to quit the sauce for 31 days in pursuit of #CleanLiving and a purer soul.
The sad fact is, though, that it can get pretty boring quitting booze with so much of what we do on these rain-sodden isles revolving around intoxication - after work pints, catching up over a drink, watching the game at the pub, etc etc. But it needn't be that way.
In fact, you can almost see it as an opportunity, a chance to pursue hobbies and interests you might have otherwise fobbed off in favour of a trip to the Red Lion.
Here's what is worth checking out and suggesting to your friends as ways to socialise whilst you're on the wagon (perfectly envision via stock imagery)...
1. The Gym
Obvious point is obvious, but if you're one of those people who signs up and visits the gym a handful of time in January - with the only further contact coming via your monthly direct debit payment - then a Sober October is the perfect opportunity to rekindle your fitness ambitions. Look no further than JOE's 'Ditch the dad bod' series if you're looking to get yourself into shape.
Squash stands out from other sports, because unlike say football or rugby, you can play it indoors away from October's rain and growing chill. However, that gentle escape from the elements belies the fact that squash is brutal. There is no escape in squash. There is no hiding in midfield. Just you and your opponent. Playing squash is like doing drills with Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in your ear. You must run and run and run. You will be broken.
3. Art Gallery
If you're the kind of guy who mostly hangs out with people known for sitting in the pub rather than doing anything high brow, demonstrating you have some cultural capital will set you out as some kind of Baudelairian figure amongst your friends and acquitances. Make sure you bang it on your Insta stories and, as it's coming up to winter, why not go the whole hog and invest in a few black turtlenecks too? - really own it.
4. Escape Rooms
These are pretty fun. Almost like a VR video game, only without the headaches and niggling sense that wearing a headset makes you look like a complete weirdo. If you've never heard of it, the concept is pretty simple: you and your friends are locked in a room and need to solve a series of tasks in order to get out of there. It's kind of like an IRL Crystal Maze or Fort Boyard. Good clean sober fun.
Bowling was good when you were 13 and it's still good now. People will tell you it is something only worth doing as an adult if you're also boozing, but they are deeply deeply wrong. What they won't realise when they agree to come along is that bowling is a sport. Once you've spent 20 minutes on the 10p machines and teddy pickers and changed your shoes, you will all want to win.
Does Messi sink pints at the half-time of El Classico? Of course not. Destroy anyone who dares step up to the alley with a Stella in one hand and a bowling ball in the other. Demolish them.
6. Rock Climbing
Here me out on this one, because I was admittedly sceptical about the idea of climbing up a wall over and over again, seemingly without aim or purpose - a human hamster on a vertical wheel. But, the thing is, I have a friend who's got really into it recently and usually he doesn't like doing anything other than drinking pints and playing Halo online. So fuck it, it must be good.
7. The Pub
Finally, the ultimate challenge for anyone taking part in Sober October is making a visit to the pub and ordering a Diet Coke. Even if you're not drinking, it's important you stay in contact with your friends who continued to stray from Our Father's light. The ultimate satisfaction will be watching your friends slowly grow more incoherent, whilst you regale them with all the new hobbies you've taken up.