Tag Archives: San Pellegrino

What do you drink instead of booze?

When I gave up smoking there was a plethora of widely available and nationally promoted advice and support guidelines and a raft of nicotine replacement therapies that I could choose from to help me stop. Patches, gum, microtabs, lozenges, inhalator, nasal spray and drugs.

As for replacements for alcohol you find your own through trial and error.  These are the things that have helped me:

Tea, coffee, herbal teas – particularly Twinings, Pukka and Clipper brands.

Soft drinks  and cordials – particularly San Pellegrino, Belvoir and Bottlegreen.  Elderflower cordial is really popular and delicious.

Mixers – if you liked a G&T like I did, then just have the tonic water, ice and a slice.

Alcohol-free beers and wines – now this is a contentious subject and I can only speak for myself but I like the option of these.  Others are understandably cautious about drinking these and I completely respect that.  You should do what is right for you and err on the side of caution if unsure.   I have tried Becks Blue, and some supermarket own brand de-alcoholised wines, either in red, rose, white or sparkling.  The drinks industry are waking up to the fact that there is a growing alcohol free market and are beginning to cater for it.  Good websites for a wide selection of beers, ciders, wines, spirit and cocktail substitutes can be found here and here.

I have also tried kava, which is a drink made from the roots of a plant of the Western Pacific and is consumed by the Pacific Ocean cultures of Polynesia.  It has a sedating effect and is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity.  This can be bought online via stores like this one.

These are not recommendations just alternatives that I have tried and this list is by no means exhaustive!  I’m interested to hear any other suggestions that I might try 🙂

Edited to add: 14th March 2016

Kava and the Rise of Healthy New York

In an increasingly health-conscious New York, some would-be boozehounds are turning to kava, made from a South Pacific-originated plant, as a substitute for alcohol | New Yorker, USA

Boxing Day blues no more

If you’d have said to me 4 months ago that I would choose not to drink on Christmas Day I would have gone very still in fear, laughed nervously and said that this was some kind of a joke.  Previous Christmas’ had been great excuses to make fast and loose with every and any kind of booze – bucks fizz for breakfast, red wine for dinner and Disaronno for tea.  It was the one day of the year where it was obligatory, even compulsory and so I happily committed to the cause.  You could have a ‘messy Xmas’ and no-one would bat an eye-lid and so I frequently did.  Cue the morning after and the hangover from hell and the Boxing Day blues.  I would drag my sorry hungover arse for a run, ever step punishment for the guilt and excesses of the day before, to get home and collapse in front of the telly with junk food and chocolate and maybe a ‘Bloody Mary’ to try to take the edge off.

This year the anticipatory anxiety started on Christmas Eve – around lunchtime as wolfie found his voice.  I got more ansty at the idea of not drinking as he got more vocal in my ear.  I had to have a long bath and go to bed early to escape myself.  I woke up without a hangover – that joy never gets old ever 🙂  I had mustered my sober toolbox for the day; own booze free drinks to take with me – check; driving for fast escape if needed – check; permission to take time out to hide in the bathroom/with the dog/with the kids if it all gets too much – check; leave early if necessary – check; and log in to sober blogging community if really struggling – check.  It wasn’t my sober tools I doubted it was me.  Could I stay strong?

But you know what it was okay and I learned a new tool for the toolkit.  When the first drinks were being poured I took myself off and played with the kids.  For me this is always the most difficult bit – resisting that first drink and watching others tuck in.  It is also the time that you may have to fend off questions as to why you aren’t drinking, so I avoided both by getting my San Pellegrino and effectively hid out with the non-grown ups!  It worked though as once everyone else had got past the first glass they stop worrying about what you are drinking and my anxiety dissipates.  I was asked if I wanted wine with my Xmas lunch to which I just said ‘I was good’ with what I had and that was that.  When things got difficult I went and helped the host with the drying up or hung out watching tv with my kids. They were tired by 7.30pm so we had a ready made excuse to leave as everyone else was just warming up and things were starting to get messy.  I had a lovely day and remember every single part of it.

I had a long bath when I got home as a reward and when I sat in bed last night the self-pride I felt was enormous.  If you are looking for a way to give your self-confidence a shot in the arm then this is a winner as far as I’m concerned.  I would go so far as to say that the glow of achievement I felt matched or exceeded that which I felt when I crossed the line of completing the London Marathon.  And this morning I woke up without a hangover and went for a run with no feelings of punishment and no guilt.  I’m not sure that this would have been possible without the knowledge that there were so many others I knew out here in the sober blogging community that were doing the same thing here with me in the UK but also in different time zones and parts of the world.  Thank you all for the sober skills, for listening and supporting 🙂 Day 96.

Loaded Gun

Reflecting on Friday night and my work Xmas do I think I hadn’t actually given it much head space – I think I was in denial and thinking ‘oh it’ll be ok, I’m almost 11 weeks without a drink’.  How wrong could I be?

I should of realised it was going to be really hard, thinking about it now.  The celebration was in a city that I spent many years in my late teens and early twenties partying hard.  Driving in and walking to the venue I passed so many old drinking haunts and the ghost of drinking past stirred.  These were happy drinking memories of a time when I hadn’t become a dependent drinker and I was young and naive and having a very good time.  To make it worse the dining venue was in the building of an old bar that I frequented 🙁

I had got the time wrong and arrived half an hour early so had to go sit at the bar.  I thought I can do this and ordered my San Pellegrino and just people watched trying not to look at the rows of bottles in front of me.  Most of my colleagues were drinking and the table was crowded with glasses of fizz and wine but that was okay.  Although my new colleagues were warm and friendly I was having an excruciatingly difficult time of it.  Alcohol had always been my social lubricant and without it I felt lost and incapable.  I wasn’t me and I didn’t know who ‘me’ was without alcohol in this situation.

This morning with a little distance between myself and that night I can now see how well I did and how glad I am that I didn’t drink.  In hindsight this event was a loaded gun but fortunately and thankfully I didn’t pull the trigger 🙂

Day 78