How alcohol-free alternatives helped me to stop drinking

How alcohol-free alternatives helped me to stop drinking

When I went sober, one of the things that scared me the most was feeling like I was the odd one out. I was worried about people noticing I wasn't drinking alcohol and asking questions that I wasn’t ready to answer.

Giving up alcohol was a very personal thing for me and I was dealing with a lot, as many people are when they go sober. I wasn't ready to share the reasons behind quitting drinking so soon into my journey, or go into much detail about it. I guess I was concerned about things people might say if they noticed I wasn't drinking. It felt too exposing and too risky when I was new to sobriety. So, for me, looking like I was having a drink just made things easier.

When I was drinking alcohol-free beer, gin, or cava, I was still able to be one of the crowd, and enjoy social situations, without facing scrutiny. That really helped me a lot in those difficult early events and celebrations.

I would take my own alcohol-free champagne to parties and events, drink non-alcoholic beers if I was at a bar, or have an alcohol-free G&T if I could find it.

Basically, it avoided lots of questions, avoided any unnecessary peer pressure and I guess also helped me "ween off" the booze and the associations I had around it that I needed to work on. I’d definitely say that alcohol-free alternatives were a life saver for me.

0% drink recommendations

If you’re quitting completely, or just cutting down, I highly recommend picking up a few non-alcoholic drinks, at the supermarket, or online. Some of my favourites are:

  • Tanqueray Gin 0.0%
  • Nosecco / French Bloom 0%
  • Non-alcoholic rose
  • NIO alcohol free cocktails

The great news is that there’s more and more awareness of these 0% alcohol options, which means they are being stocked in more shops and bars.

BBC Good Food, recently taste tested a range of zero alcohol beverages and have some excellent recommendations. They highlighted Lucky Saint for lager lovers, Ghostship from Adnams and Harvey’s Old Ale for ale enthusiasts, Lervig “No Worries” IPA and Galactic milk stout alcohol-free, Big Drop Brewing Co. if you like your stout. They agree with me that Tanqueray 0% comes out on top for a classic gin, without the booze, and have some brilliant recommendations for other gins, rums, amaretti and tequila. Check our their non-alcoholic favourites

Mocktails are more and more available in bars and restaurants and feel that little bit special. You can always ask your bar tender to mix you up your favourite, but just without the booze. There are also canned mocktails available in many supermarkets and shops for something alcohol free, but that feels a lot more grown-up than a soft drink.

If you can’t find alternatives like these, or you prefer to be creative, then mix up a mocktail or two at home. They are perfect for house parties and there are lots of fantastic recipes online, so you can perfect the blend that best suits your palate.

Preparation is key

I’d recommend you pick up a selection of zero alcohol beverages as part of the preparation for stopping drinking for good, or as part of any plans to take part in a no drinking challenge. Find the ones you like. that feel like a treat and are a good replacement, rather than a punishment. Then throw or hide away your alcohol, so you won’t be tempted to drink alcohol for the sake of it and can enjoy a good selection of alternatives.

Once you’ve got your favourites, then if you’ve got a house party to go to, dinner at a friend’s house, or just fancy a drink after work, then you’ll be prepared and have something non-alcoholic to look forward to that’s not just squash or water. Preparation is key!

When you’re at your friends for dinner and everyone’s having wine at the table you can still sit there with a wine glass of Nosecco, or your zero percent gin and tonic and still feel like you’re a part of it.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma, when it comes to not drinking. Please don’t give into peer pressure, you’re better than that! I’ve found that if people have a problem with you not drinking, then that’s their own issue and not yours.

I was fortunate and actually got a lot of respect from people when I stopped drinking. There were the odd ones that laughed and didn’t think it would last. But here I am, more than two years sober and still going. Non-alcoholic alternatives are a really great tool in your sober girl toolkit and I’d highly recommend them.

Navigating social situations sober

I completely get how hard social situations can be when you’re not drinking. But the biggest thing I’ve learnt is the situations where I’ve felt uncomfortable, these are the times where I have grown, learned things about myself and have been experiences which have been truly transformational.

Who needs a drink to loosen up when you’ve killer dance moves and hilarious jokes? Follow these tips for navigating social situations sober and you’ll be the life of the party…without the hangover!

📝 Plan Ahead
🍺 Bring Your Own Drinks
👭 Find Supportive Friends
🚫 Practice Saying No
✨ Focus On The Experience

I promise you, you don’t have to drink to have fun.

If you’re out and around alcohol and feeling uncomfortable, take a deep breath and tell yourself it’s going to be ok. Remember that you’re allowed to say no and you don’t have to justify yourself. If you become overwhelmed just take a step back, walk away for a bit and compose yourself, or just leave. It’s OK! There will be ups and downs, but I promise you you’ll get through it and be able to face these situations more easily every time.

I am walking and living proof that you can do it if you want to. You can do anything you set your mind to and just believing in yourself is the first step!

So here I am raising a glass of alcohol-free champagne because the most incredible love stories are the ones we write for ourselves. Cheers to the beautiful journey of self-discovery and empowerment!

Written by Arabella Featherstone

Arabella Featherstone is a leading fitness trainer and coach with the vision and drive to transform her clients’ bodies and minds through fitness and nutrition. She supports her clients to build strength and resilience in their bodies and minds and shares her sober life on her Instagram channel @feathersfoodfit. Visit to sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know about the new challenges or download her free e-book Unleashing the Strength Within.

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