Alcohol is such a big part of having a stereotypical British social life, whether it's a few drinks after work with colleagues or a big night out with friends at weekend. We love an excuse to have a little tipple and more often than not that one little friendly drink that we said we would have after work then leads to ten shots and a very sore head in the morning. I've never been a huge drinker - mostly because I'm too lightweight to drink in large quantities, but I did enjoy drinking alcohol. I was more of an evening wine drinker and someone who liked to order cocktails on a weekend to get that 'Friday feeling' than the sort of person who went on a Saturday night bender, but these drinks still added up. Two years ago I was forced to temporarily give up alcohol due to illness and being on a constant supply of strong medication. At first it was difficult, especially when it came to birthday parties or Christmas, but in time it got easier and several months in I didn't even miss it. I realised that giving up alcohol had quite a few benefits and after awhile I enjoyed not drinking it. Today I thought I would put together a little pot about what that one year alcohol free taught me.
I made great memories that I could actually remember
There's nothing worse than waking up after a night out and everything being a blur as you frantically try and jigsaw everything together. Being alcohol-free enabled me to remember much more of my nights out and in turn many of my friends actually drank a lot less and we ended up having a lot more meaningful conversations together.
A good bartender can make most cocktails into mocktails if you just ask
Sometimes being alcohol free can be a little bit boring if you go somewhere and there's nothing alcohol-free apart from soft drinks, but these days bartenders are becoming a lot more adaptable and some will happily make you a mocktail on request. This can be better than ordering off the main menu as you often end up trying lots of new, unique drinks.
Being designated driver has its good and bad points
If you drive and don't drink, there's a chance you could end up being a designated driver. This didn't bother me too much - I enjoy the responsibility and it gave me the authority to tell people when it was time for them to go home, however some nights have been easier than others and it all depends on how well you trust your friends not to take advantage. If you think things are going to end up sour, it would probably be best ordering a taxi.
It helped me save money and I felt healthier
After a few months of not ordering four or five £9 cocktails a night and drinking all the sugar that comes in those drinks, I had a lot more money and my body felt healthier. I had energy, my skin looked great and I could spend the money that I didn't spend on alcohol on clothes or holidays.
True friends will always have your back
When you cut out alcohol and go on nights out, you really discover who your true friends are. Your true friends are the ones that pace themselves so they can maintain a conversation with you, the ones who will dance with you knowing that you are sober and the ones trying to ensure your drink isn't topped up with alcohol when you're not looking.
Eisberg alcohol free wine was always my go-to non-alcoholic drink when I wasn't drinking alcohol and recently they sent me two of their brand new alcohol free sparkling wines to try. Their alcohol free rose and blanc sparkling wines come in two pressure corked beautiful bottles and taste wonderfully bubbly and juicy. The rose has tasting notes of red cherry and strawberry and the white wine tasting notes is citrus and peach. Both wines are made with real wine and just have the alcohol extracted. They are perfect for anyone wanting a break from alcohol or something different to try on a weekend. I have been drinking these wines in my new Tony Laithwaites signature series wine glasses which have a slightly flared lip which is helps give better enjoyment when it comes to drinking wine and they look really sophisticated too.
One year on I'm really glad that I gave up alcohol temporarily as it taught me that I still have a great fulfilling social life without it and although I'm back having the odd glass of wine on the weekend, I don't over indulge anymore. I've managed to find the perfect balance of being alcohol free when I want to be and also being able to enjoy a glass of rose on special occasions that warrants an alcoholic treat.
Would you ever give up alcohol?