A report published very recently by the Office of National Statistics has revealed that, astonishingly, a third of adults aged 16-24 are completely sober – they don’t drink at all. The proportion of adults who don’t drink has increased by around 40 percent, according to the report, from the period of 2005-2013. Furthermore, only one out of 50 adults described themselves as “frequent drinkers” (i.e.: drinking “on five or more days before the [job] interview”), representing a decrease of over two-thirds in the same period.
There are obvious benefits to being teetotal: you can say goodbye to the eye-pummeling need for one of these hangover cures, the nightmarish nausea, and the gut-wrenching vomiting, not to mention the fever, the record-breaking blood pressure, and the sky-rocketing levels of bad cholesterol that alcohol can cause. But without a few stiff gins or a couple of bottles of wine to accompany you on a night out, what are your options? For those of you who believe that a life of abstinence from alcohol would not be a life worth living, or who wonder about how to survive without the social lubrication of alcohol, read on to discover a menu of five great alternatives to a night fuelled by alcohol.
1. Meet friends where they are less likely to drink alcohol
If you’re the kind of person who struggles with being the ‘odd one out’, consider meeting friends where they are less likely to drink. A night out at the movies is a good idea (if you’re in London, check out the alcohol-free environment of the Underground Film Club, the Car Park Cinema or the alfresco Pillow Cinema for something different), as even if others are drinking, you not drinking will be less obvious when the lights are down. Another example is to meet for afternoon tea or at a sporting event – anywhere that takes the focus off the fact that you are not drinking alcohol.
2. Discover the joys of ‘dry bars’
Cities around the world are increasingly embracing ‘alternative lifestyles’, so it is no longer unusual to see vegan restaurants, dry food stores and raw food restaurants around us, for example. Dry bars are another example, and provide for those who do not drink, in a social environment that is similar to that found in traditional bars. If there are no dry bars in your area, go to the best bars in town as these will typically serve creative, alcohol-free cocktails that will help you ease the night away.
3. Swap the pub for a late night café
Drinks at the pub or bar with friends or coworkers is pretty much the default venue after you’ve finished work. But why not swap the Rose & Crown for a late night café? In London, there are several late night cafés – perhaps the most famous example is Bar Italia in Soho. See what’s available around where you live. Without alcohol, you’ll find that your conversations are much more meaningful than the usual alcohol-fuelled repetitive drivel about how you can’t afford to get on the property ladder, your terrible boss, and who you fancy at the office.
4. Rediscover the fun of dancing
Put on your dancing shoes! If you feel too old to go to a nightclub (you’re not) with its thumping loud music and packed crowds, try a fitness dance class. Like Zumba? Then you’ll probably enjoy the current craze called Clubbercise. Similar to Zumba, it recreates the nightclub environment (complete with club music and psychedelic lights) for its classes – no alcohol needed. If there isn’t one near you, why not start one up? According to the website there’s a huge demand for instructors.
5. Be open to new experiences
Explore a new sport, learn a new skill or try your hand at a board game bar (they’re all the rage now). Being open to new experiences is a fun way to meet new people and enjoy natural highs that won’t harm your body.
Recreational activities such as those mentioned above are usually a form of ‘scaffold’ to the basic activity of socialising (e.g.: talking and having fun with others). If you take these activities away, you will notice their absence, but if you take away the alcohol from these activities, its absence gradually becomes less noticeable as it is replaced by the distraction of socialising.
Do you think socialising without alcohol is a good thing? Share your views in the comments section below!