What happens after Sober Spring?

Maddy Lawson | June 2019 | 7 minutes

Sober Spring ends on 20 June - but what next after three months alcohol-free?

This has been Alcohol Change UK’s very first Sober Spring. With Dry January we’ve been there and bought the t-shirt – in fact, we’ve printed, worn and run marathons in the t-shirt – but Sober Spring is something new. Thousands of people across the UK and further afield have gone alcohol-free for three months.

In some ways, Sober Spring has been pretty similar to Dry January. There has been the same sense of energy – of the possibility that comes when you cut out something that may have been holding you back. As with Dry January an amazing community of Try Dry-ers has come together, whether in the comments on Sober Spring mastermind Catherine Gray’s daily Instagram posts, on the Sober Spring Facebook group, or in person at Sober Spring socials.

During both Dry January and Sober Spring our inboxes are flooded with updates from people who have gone alcohol-free telling us about the new drinks they’ve tried, friendships they’ve forged, hobbies they’ve resurrected, sleep they’ve luxuriated in, and so much more.

An amazing community of Try Dry-ers has come together, whether in the comments on Sober Spring mastermind Catherine Gray’s daily Instagram posts, on the Sober Spring Facebook group, or in person at Sober Spring socials.

But there have been differences too.

A month without alcohol is the perfect bootcamp for kicking your relationship with alcohol into shape. It’s not too scary to take on, but it’s long enough to give you a taste of life without alcohol muscling its way into every experience. It’s long enough to challenge habits, and to come out the other side with a fresh perspective.

Three months without alcohol is bigger. Maybe three times bigger – or maybe more. It’s enough time not only to challenge habits, but to form new ones. Enough time to try out life alcohol-free, and to see if it’s for you.

Even if you’ve come out of your three months of Sober Spring and can’t wait to have a glass of something you’ve missed, that’s not three months wasted. You will have learned how to stay home, go out, relax, commiserate and celebrate without alcohol.

Sure, doing all those things without booze can be tricky, and many of us will have had slip-ups along the way. By the way, this does NOT mean you’ve failed Sober Spring – to paraphrase the immortal words of Chumbawumba, you get knocked down but you get up again, and it’s the second bit that matters.

But the point is, you have learned that you don’t need alcohol. The next time any of those occasions comes around when you would have had a drink by default, without thinking about it, without even enjoying it, you will be able to fall back on the skill you’ve practiced of saying, “No thanks.” Moderation can be hard, but hopefully, you’ll be able to drink only those drinks you will actually savour – and your body and brain will thank you for it.

Moderation can be hard, but hopefully, you’ll be able to drink only those drinks you will actually savour – and your body and brain will thank you for it.

But you might come out the other side of Sober Spring and not want to go back to drinking. Maybe you’re happier without alcohol. Healthier. Livelier. Braver. More comfortable in your skin. Maybe you jump out of bed when you used to crawl (also fine if you still crawl. In our humble opinion, Morning People owe it to the rest of us to keep their energy to themselves until at least 10am).

If, like hundreds of thousands of other people around the country, you have found that your life is better without alcohol in it, grab that better life by the hand and run away with it into the sunset.

Or maybe just grab it and dance to some Chumbawumba. Much like life alcohol-free, Chumbawumba is both great and widely underrated.

On that wildly uninspiring note, CONGRATULATIONS. You’ve done something amazing. See you again soon.

What's next?

Whatever you choose to do now Sober Spring is at an end, you might be after some extra support. There’s lots out there. Here are Alcohol Change UK’s recommendations.

  • You can read this blog for tips on what to do at the end of an alcohol-free experiment (just replace the ‘Dry January’ with ‘Sober Spring’ – the tips work just the same, but you get to be extra smug!)
  • Download the Try Dry app to track your dry journey, or if you’d like to go back to drinking in moderation you can use it to track your dry days.
  • You can join the Dry January and Beyond Facebook group, full of people who are alcohol-free or moderating long-term. It’s an amazing, supportive community.
  • You can also get support from your local alcohol services, who you can access in a number of ways, including through your GP – there’s lots more information here. Many people seek help this way at some point in their lives, so if you’re even thinking that it might be helpful there’s no harm checking it out.