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Are times changing for non-drinkers?

Updated: Jan 13


Non drinker bar

Today I went to a pub after work to say goodbye to an old boss.


Pretty standard stuff, saying goodbye to an old work colleague, but as I walked into the pub I thought of how it used to be, and I marvelled at how far everything had come in just a few years.


Firstly, the fact I said yes to going was a win in itself, because there was no hesitation at all in my response. I remember when I first gave up drinking I would avoid social drinking sessions initially, worried I might be tempted back to my usual choice of expensively branded gin and tonic.


I needn't have worried though. Sure, my first social night out as a non drinker was a tad strange. But the night passed just as quickly, and I laughed until my sides hurt, met lots of new people, chatted to everyone and solved the worlds problems in a night, before going home in my own car which saved me an absolute fortune on taxis. I then woke with a beautifully clear head, lots of happy memories of the night, no embarrassment or flashes of cringe-worthy memories of the night before, and no glazed-eye tagged pictures on social channels.


The second time I went out was ten times easier still, and again, I had an awesome time and laughed until I cried. This time I ordered non alcoholic drinks from the bar with ease, not even considering the alternative, and smoothly exchanged brief information to anyone who asked why I was no longer drinking. Simply put, I no longer wanted to drink alcohol. Nobody even raised an eyebrow. And every barbecue or night out just got easier and easier from there. Now I hardly remember any concerns I once had about socialising without alcohol. It simply is not an issue.


But this time something had definitely changed.


I pulled up to the (recently enlarged) pub car-park by the sea, locked my car, and entered the pub. As I walked up to the busy bar, I hoped there would be something decent on offer for non drinkers. The last time I had gone there for a meal there was only a tonic water to be had, assuming you did not want to drink to usual cola or lemonade fizzy drink options.


The bar person walked over to me with a smile, and she asked what I would like to drink.


"Hey! What alcohol free beers do you have?" I asked, fully expecting the reply to be none, or one.


Without a blink of an eye she reeled off more than seven different choices. "Oh, and we have some really nice alcohol free gin options just in too. Plus the usual mocktails, elderflower, and other adult soft drinks."


Wow. Just, wow.


With delight, I ordered my favourite alcohol-free beer, and my (still drinking) friend ordered the same.


"Yum!" she said, taking a swig from the bottle. "This is actually really good!"


I grinned at her, feeling the love. I had already said she was free to drink whatever she liked, as I was driving, but she insisted on joining me.


Behind the bar was a line of around ten beers, all alcohol free, proudly on display and on promotion. A few years before I had received strange looks of puzzlement in a big city bar when I asked for a zero beer, and I was told they did nothing of the kind. But this amazing little pub by the sea, in a rural area, had an entire selection for me to sample at will.


Walking over to my colleagues I noted glasses filled with alcohol free options, and several were drinking the same alcohol free beer as me. It just felt so acceptable, at last, and the evening was free from the snarky comments I received from some of the same people a few years back when announcing I was alcohol free. Everyone was relaxed and chatting to one another, and peels of laughter broke out regularly, and it just felt... nice.


Later, I gave my old boss a big hug and wished him luck, and my friend and I travelled back home in the car, clear-headed and happy and relaxed. We both decided we would go back to that little pub by the sea again, and I actually looked forward to it.


It was incredible to have so much choice as a non-drinker, and it felt as though the world had shifted a little today. I appreciated the easy way the bartender took my order and I appreciated the huge choice I had. I loved the way my friend joined me and drank the same, even though she could have had anything she liked.


Are times changing for non-drinkers? Could it be that it is finally becoming socially acceptable, or even normal, to be a non-drinker? I sure hope so, because that will make it so much easier for younger generations to be accepted if they choose not to drink alcohol, including my own kids.


How wonderful if this was true.


Amanda x


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