It’s been a pretty crazy month for me, i’ve passed my 200th sober day. I’ve been to my first sober wedding and my first sober festival. One I found so hard it nearly broke me and the other filled me with so much sober joy I nearly cried with happiness in a field! What can I say except that sober life certainly has it’s ups and downs but i’m trying to teach myself to go with the flow. Here’s all my favourite sober stuff this month.
I’ve got to be honest, I really miss Gin & Tonic, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for the perfect alcohol free replacement and i’ve had fun searching! I know it can be frustrating because AF alternatives are all quite pricey and you don’t want spend £25 on a bottle if it’s going to be disgusting.
My top tip is to try them in a bar first before you buy or at an alcohol free event like The Mindful Drinking Festival – where I happily tried most of these. Another important thing is mixing with the right tonic and for me that has to be Fever Tree. My personal favourite from the ones below is the Atopia and the best value for money is the Rhubarb & Ginger one from ASDA, I tried this in a cocktail at their Christmas press day and loved it.
STRYYK Not Gin – www.thedrinkshop.com, Seedlip Grove 42 – seedlipdrinks.com, Atopia Wild Blossom – ocado.com, No Ghost In A Bottle Herbal Delight – deliciousdrinksshop.co.uk, Asda Extra Special Rhubarb & Ginger Botanical Drink – Asda, Sea Arch – wisebartender.co.uk
If you are looking for a bar to visit with a mixed group of drinkers and non-drinkers why not check out 45 Jermyn St in the heart of St James’s. This dining room and bar mixes old school glamour with some serious forward thinking when it comes to their cocktail menu.
Many of the drinks on their Ice Cream Floats and Rickies (drinks served in a highball glass) menus can be enjoyed alcohol free. I’ve put the menus below so you can start planning what to try first!
I’ve been interested in trying Floatation Therapy for a while so when I saw that a new place called 3 Tribes had opened right near my office in London Bridge I took it as a sign from the sober gods that the time was right.
3 Tribes has two floatation tanks each in its own private room with an ensuite shower. The tank looks like something out of a science fiction film, a giant white egg that you climb inside and close. The tank is filled with about 30cm of water that is full of Epsom salts. When you climb in you float on top of the water and you can lay back and fully relax on it without sinking – a bit like your own personal dead sea.
I wore a swimsuit for these pictures but actually it is advised that you go into the tank naked because your clothes will just become heavy and uncomfortable. You also wear ear plugs and once the lid is closed it is pitch black inside. By cutting off all your senses the idea is that you can think and focus clearly without any distractions, almost like a meditation. Floatation therapy has been used to treat anxiety and to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder because of the deep sense of relaxation it can bring.
I was a bit nervous to get in the tank. I am claustrophobic and I was scared of being trapped in the dark, but I soon realised that I could open the tank myself from the inside if I needed to and it doesn’t go pitch black immediately, the light fades slowly so you can get used to it.
The feeling of floating was strange at first. You can’t believe that the water will hold you and you tense your body to hold yourself up. Part of the treatment is to surrender your control and once you realise you can completely let go it’s an amazing feeling.
In the dark you can get disorientated and as I floated (the treatment lasts an hour) I began to feel that I was spinning round in all directions like I was lost in space, I also sometimes felt as if I was floating down a stream, as if the end of the tank had opened and I was floating off somewhere. This sounds slightly terrifying but actually once I got used to it and decided to just let myself go and enjoy the sensation it was really quite fun.
I know some people who have tried floatation and absolutely hated it, and others who love it and do it regularly for the sense of peace it brings them. I even know someone who came out of the tank having re-evaluated her whole life and quit her job! I didn’t have any sort of epiphany but for me having a solid hour of peace, of time just to spend inside my own head was what I really needed and enjoyed and the sense of relaxation I felt afterwards was worth every penny!
Whether you like Moby’s music or not (I do), whether you think he came across as a bit of a creepy weirdo with the whole Natalie Portman situation (I do) you cannot fail to find this book fascinating. How Moby an awkward god-fearing teetotal vegan, raised in poverty by his single mum became a world famous millionaire dance music mogul really is an astounding story. What is even more astounding is how he then almost lost everything including his own life by destroying himself with drink, drugs and a LOT of crazy meaningless sex.
I recently watched the Netflix Motley Crew movie The Dirt and honestly I think Moby could have drank, snorted and shagged the lot of them under the table, which is really saying something since there was four of them and only one Moby!
The main points I took from this book were firstly that if you have a drink problem it really doesn’t matter how long you have been sober for (in Moby’s case 8 years) you only need to let your guard down one time and that one drink can destroy everything you have worked for. Secondly that if you have a past trauma (in Moby’s case sexual abuse as a child) no amount of sex, drugs, booze or money will ever heal that wound. Until you get the help you need to overcome what has happened to you it will eat you up inside and hold you back from the happiness you truly deserve.
When I first got sober I thought I was doomed to drink lime and soda for the rest of my life while sadly reminiscing about all my favourite cocktails and most full-bodied red wines. Then I stumbled across wisebartender.co.uk and the world of AF drinks was my oyster.
When you are newly sober you just need to try a lot of different stuff and see what you like. I tried their Lager Lout Wise Pack £25.53 for 17 different alcohol free beers but if beer isn’t your thing they have AF wine, prosecco, gin, vodka, rum and every kind of exciting mixer your can think of. The possibilities are endless and if you can’t make up your mind drop them a DM because they also give excellent advice about what’s new, what’s popular and what they recommend. Never have a dull drink again!
I wanted to do a round up of awesome art prints to buy yourself or a sober friend, but it turns out that 99% of the sober art out there is shockingly cheesy and I wouldn’t want it on my wall. However I did find one print so amazing that I immediately bought it for myself and I think it’s beautiful enough for a feature all of it’s own. It’s by an illustrator called Cressida Djambov and you can buy it here.
Thanks so much for reading, wishing you a lovely August and please send me your best wishes for my first sober holiday coming up in a couple of weeks time!