What are its origins? Where did it come from? Who first coined the phrase?
Why are they doing this to us!!!!?
Ah yes, it’s that joyous time of year once again where we (some of us more than others) try to give up the sauce or the smoke or the (insert unhealthy vice here) and give our bodies a bit of a break from the ongoing gluttony of many modern lifestyles. I first heard it almost a decade ago when I used to do shows up in Whistler on the regular. Some clever wordsmith made the amazing discovery that the word “sober” actually rhymed with “October” and has been punishing us ever since.
It also coincided with one of the slowest months in the village, so it made it a little bit easier, not unlike the sober bandwagoners who do so in January. I mean, that’s how I got the ball rolling with eliminating my cross-eyed antics for good, but we’ll get into that later. The icing on the cake was the onslaught of Halloween parties that punctuate the end of the month where most people would agree that 30 days actually was a month and the spooky spectacular on the 31stwas the perfect time to end the madness.
Lately, it has been popularized into the mainstream through an overall trend toward wellness and shows like The Joe Rogan Experience where he and fellow comedians Tom Segura, Ari Shaffir and Bert Kreischer give up the booze and drugs and go through some sort of challenge to motivate and encourage each other through the process. First it was a weight loss challenge, then hot yoga the following year, with an extreme fitness challenge last year that saw the group absolutely annihilate themselves (like 5 hours a day most days of the month) with fitness based on a point system linked to their fitness trackers.
This year a good friend and I decided to follow suit with whatever they were doing to try and get ourselves a little bit healthier. At this point in our lives we both have managed to eliminate most of the really dangerous and harmful ones like booze and smoking, but there is always room to grow and to be completely honest, we both need some more shit to do. After wimping out of eliminating caffeine for the month (maybe next year folks – baby steps) I’m giving up sugar, dairy and a few other things I feel like I could do without and adopting the challenge issued on the show.
This year the challenge other than sobriety is to attend 10 total classes of activities ranging from yoga or jiu-jitsu to firearms training or extreme driving. After last year’s intense gauntlet of insanity where the group hardly ever saw their family due to the competitive nature of the contest and their career commitments, they decided to take a different approach.
In addition, the challenge is to also read 500 pages of a book or several books, depending on how you want to go about it. So far, I’ve managed to hit a hot yoga class, the gym and blast off the last 100 pages of a book I started last month by Malcolm Gladwell called ‘Talking to Strangers’ and just picked up Sebastian Junger’s ‘Tribe’ to keep the ball rolling.
I’d love to hear about your experience if you are giving Sober October a try, so hit me up in the comments, and if you are struggling with getting there I encourage you to check out my previous posts on the subject ‘Recovery’ and ‘5 Years and 5 Suggestions for Battling Booze’ here on the blog. I will fill you in on the process as we go through it and stay tuned for more DJ and music content throughout the month.
Wish me luck!
JT James is a DJ, producer and writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. A veteran of the DJ and recording worlds. he has produced several projects in the genres of hip hop and electronic music under various aliases such as James Divine, Track Nicholson and Sandy Villanova. Be on the lookout for his upcoming single with underground hip hop legend Ras Kass and his electronic music collaboration with James Landau.