“Buy U A Drank” NOT –

September 4, 2020 – People wanting to go sober in September this year may find it’s less popular due to the pandemic. The stress of 2020 have led to a spike in drinking; data released in July by Nielsen showed that in-store alcohol sales had increased by 54% and online alcohol purchases by 500% compared to 2019. If you feel like your quarantine drinking habitshave gotten out of hand, though, Sober September may offer a reset button. 

The idea of Sober September may have emerged in England with the charity Cancer Research UK, which was credited with creating it in 2016 and now hosts “dryathlons” year-round to raise money for cancer research. In the U.S., Yahoo Health suggested in 2018, it may have gotten a boost because it coincides with the start of the new school year. “September has a back-to-school feel, and after a boozy summer it’s a month that finds a lot of people in detox mode,” Warrington tells Bustle. “People also see September and October (‘sober October’ is also popular, in the UK in particular) as a good time to take a break from drinking before Halloween and the holidays kick in.” 

If one month without booze seems difficult, particularly in a pandemic, go slow. “Even if you don’t go completely sober, a reduction in drinking is still a worthy goal as it not only improves your sleep but can improve your overall health and wellbeing,” Dr. Joseph Volpicelli M.D., a psychiatrist and sobriety expert, tells Bustle. “Sometimes a goal of lessening up alcohol consumption can be a great lifestyle transition for a month.”

Sober September may be just the beginning.The Atlantic reported in 2019 that alcohol-free cocktails had become easier to find as millennials — and, as they come of age, Generation Z — become less enthused about drinking in general. Sobriety may be tougher now that we’re all hosting cocktail parties on Zoom, but if you’re thinking about going sober before Halloween, you definitely aren’t alone. 

If you or someone you know is seeking help for substance use, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).