My Battle With The Beer Trolly (and others).

At work, every Friday, something called ‘The Beer Trolly’ comes round to our desks. The trolly offers up the chance to purchase beer, cider, or wine, to help see in the weekend after a hard week. The first time the trolly approached me, I asked for a Sprite, or a Ginger Beer. The man pushing the trolly said to me: “Sorry, we only serve alcohol”.

Needless to say, I went on a little bit of a rant wondering why I had to travel 4 floors down to the cafeteria to ask for a sprite, when everyone else could have their beer and drink it without getting up.  I’m now planning a tactile email approach asking (perhaps demand that) facilities to take pity on the non-drinkers of the company. Perhaps its only me, it really does feel like it!

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me since I stopped drinking. More so than often, I’m greeted with a look of disgust for daring to ask for an EANAB (an Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverage) in a bar or from someone.

Am I really?
Really? Are you sure it’s because I’M boring?

Not so long ago, my sister and I went for a Sunday Roast at a pub down in South London. I ordered a pint of Orange Juice & Lemonade and the barman said to me: “You can’t come into a pub and ask for that, I’m only going to serve you alcohol”. I laughed at him, but insisted on my pint of OJ. Reluctantly, he served it to me, handing it over with a wise-crack about me needing to live dangerously. Looking back, perhaps he was trying to flirt or something, or perhaps I’d offended him. I don’t know. Either way, I came away thinking: why is it such a big deal!? Was he working on commission?

Then there was the time when a guy approached me on a night out, an offered me a drink. He seemed like a nice enough guy, so I said alright, and asked for a cranberry juice. His response?

“You need a proper drink”.
“No no, its ok, I’m not drinking tonight)”
“Go on, let me get you a drink”
“Really, I’m fine!”
“You will be after this, go on drink it” and he promptly handed me a shot of tequila.
“No thank you.”
*F*ck you’re a real bore aren’t you!?”

I walked away, and then had to deal with him following me around all night, staring me out with disapproving looks… it was really weird, and actually became quite the comedy. Why was he wasting his night, and his time, trying to mess with me?

Time and time again, I’m left with this question: why does it matter to you if I don’t drink? What exactly IS the problem? I fear as being a non-drinker is considered not normal, it must really scare people. I’m still trying to find the answers, stay tuned for a ‘critical essay’ presented in a highly readable way with all the facts!


The Final Straw – Elizabeth’s story.

I wanted to stop drinking for nearly 3 years before I actually committed to the decision. It took me that long to find the will power to do so.

It was the same deal after every night out. I’d wake up with debilitating hangover, crippling angst, a racing heart and say: “I am never drinking again…I just can’t do it anymore”. Fast forward to the following weekend, and there I am in the early hours of Sunday morning, propped up at the bar, drink in hand, swaying from side-to-side without a care in the world.

The truth is, having recently suffered some pretty tragic personal loss, I did have a care in the world, I had many. I believe that is why I was drinking so much, just to block it out and numb the pain. In reality, I was falling deeper and deeper into a very dark hole. My nights out had gone from a carefree party, to an opportunity to blame my anger on something and drown out the noise of my mind. I’d be defensive, rude to strangers, and nine times out of ten would wake up the next day and feel like I’d have to apologise for myself. There were instances where I was told what I’d done or said, and it would haunt me for months. Paranoia became my worst enemy.

309924_10150280080797272_8347239_nWhen I was younger, I really enjoyed drinking.
The warm buzz my Vodka and Cranberry would give me, made made me feel like anything was possible,that I was invincible. Going out at the weekend and getting ‘wasted’ with the best of them became something I really looked forward to – I was always the last one standing, brandishing my debit card, demanding round after round of black Sambucca “because its worse”. For years I had fun with it, I felt like I’d never grow tired of the dance floor and the drinks.

I’m actually ashamed to think about all the money I must have spent, the volume of toxicity I drank, the ridiculous things I’ve said and done, all in the name of having a good time. I would go so far as to say that I was the typical binge drinker. Not touching a drop during the week, and then come Saturday night, I’d consume until I was passed out. God help me if I was ever faced with Gillian McHeath – showing me exactly how much I’ve consumed over the last ten or so years would be enough to send me to an early grave. Quite literally I should think!

It all spectacularly came to a head last September when my mental state was at an all time low. I came to terms with the fact that my way of thinking, combined with drinking was a match made in hell. I had to break up with Vodka and Cranberry, Cider, Champagne, and black Sambuca. We were no longer in love, or working together.

So here I am, 10 months in to my life without alcohol. Here’s what I’ve learnt:

I am so much happier.

I have a much better time on nights out.

I feel better on the inside, about my health and about myself.

I am still last one standing on the dance floor.

There is such a thing of being two-pints up on life.

You are not a boring person for not drinking.

Society, although a little confused by your decision, does not shun you.

 I miss Champagne, and am desperate to find a suitable alternative for celebrations. As soon as I do, you’ll be the first to know.

I’m looking forward to learning more as my journey progresses. I hope to share with you all my thoughts, feelings, lessons etc… and I would love to hear about you, so don’t be shy.