Struggling with stigma

Lots has changed since my last Debbie Downer post about feeling like I was enduring my dull, directionless life. The biggest change is that we’ve decided for sure that we’ll make the move to London in December (just in time for Christmas). Having something to work towards, plan for and get excited about has really lifted my mood and I feel like my life (that was passing at a glacial pace) is finally speeding up.

In saying that, all the same fears that I had a few weeks ago are still there – that I’ll struggle to make friends if they all think I’m a weirdo that doesn’t drink, and that socialising will be so much harder, but I can also see the benefits of having a fresh start in a new country and building a sober life from scratch there.

I still really struggle with the social stigma of not drinking. The evenings spent in a day to day routine (work, dinner, TV, bed) breeze by so easily. I rarely have cravings and I find it hard to imagine that I once used to polish off a bottle of wine each night – the thought of doing that now seems ridiculous. How did I run my life? How did I find the time and energy!? So in terms of day to day life, I can give that a big fat tick – progress achieved. But in terms of social life, I still hate it.

I went to a big boozy work party on Friday night and stayed for half an hour. People say that that’s okay, that skipping these social events is just all about finding out who you really are and what you really enjoy, but that doesn’t change the fact that I felt so left out. I felt like a frumpy loser leaving early to go home and get into my PJs and watch TV like it was any other night of the week. My anxiety was through the roof hours before. I feel so dull without alcohol at social events and anticipating how dull and boring I will be all night gets me worked up and feeling emotional. I felt like crying as I ordered a soda and lime at the bar. Just felt like a massive loser with nothing interesting to say to anyone because all I could focus on was how uncomfortable I was.

So when I think of sober socialising in a new country where I know no one, the thought fills me with dread. I’ve read that new sober friends are generally of a higher calibre than people you bond with over boozy sessions, and that’s all well and good, but the reason they’re better friends is because you have to put so much more effort in. Call me crazy, but I’ll generally try and find the path of least resistance when it comes to doing anything in life. I am dead lazy, which is frustrating, but also just a part of my personality that I have to deal with. I may go in with great intentions of joining clubs and developing hobbies, but realistically I’ve never been a social butterfly and those intentions have never panned out in life in New Zealand, so I don’t see why they would in England. I’ve always found boozy events – work drinks/flat parties/dinners etc to be the places where I meet people and make new friends, so I don’t know how I’ll cope with those if I’m always leaving after half an hour of extreme discomfort!

I have a counselling appointment in a few days. I’m not really holding out much hope that she’ll be able to make me feel completely positive about sober life, but hopefully she can offer some advice about dealing with anxiety and socialising. I’ll talk to her about the realities of moderating and whether it’s possible to drink socially without diving straight back in to addictive behaviours. I’m sure we all know what the answer to that question is, but I’ll ask anyway🙂

***

Here’s some relevant material I’ve been consuming lately:

  • Home Podcast’s talk on the ‘Why me?‘ question that plagues us.
  • This post on building new sober life connections and making friends (from Hip Sobriety)
  • This article on sober socialising.

Runaway train

In the three weeks since I last posted, I have well and truly gone off the rails. Not drinking, but I’ve completely lost focus and feeling distinctly untethered.

Maybe I’m just going through a bit of a dark patch… I’ve read blogs by long-term sober folks before where they’ve mentioned that they’re going through rough patches even after years of being sober, but I’m not really sure if they mean rough as in they’re just feeling a bit low, or whether they’re going through a patch of full blown doubt like I am right now.

There’s been several days in the last few weeks where I’ve dived head first down that rabbit hole of negative self-talk, letting it go on for hours, losing control and letting the inner addict take over my mind. I’ve bargained back and forth about picking up wine from the supermarket as I drove there. It really is like having multiple personalities and it’s really fucking tiring trying to constantly keep it in check.

I think that’s how I have been feeling lately – just really jaded. Mentally tired of there being no let-up. The weird part is, most of the time I don’t actually want to drink. I’m not specifically craving alcohol as a way to switch off, but I am craving an end to… an end to what, I’m not sure. I’m really restless. My life is boring me. I feel like I want a big change, but I also feel like I’m not stable enough in my sobriety to handle big changes.

I still feel frustrated with my lack of progress. Ever since I stopped drinking I’ve wanted to be ten steps ahead of the point that I’m at. I get frustrated with not having made as much progress as I think I should have. A couple of weeks ago I had to skip a good friend’s birthday in favour of going home and crying in the bath. I was hormonal and sensitive and just couldn’t handle being around other people drinking. I was so on edge and it really pissed me off that after eight months I still didn’t feel up to sitting through a dinner for the sake of a friend.

And that’s how everything has been feeling lately – like a matter of enduring life. I’m so, so bored. When I look back at what I’ve achieved in 2016 it looks like fuck all. I look like I’ve strung a long line of sober months together. Nights spent enduring social events, finding myself snatching at snippets of fun and really, really trying to be happy, but the only time I am truly comfortable and not thinking about being sober is when I’m sat at home on the couch in front of the telly. Am I going to spend the rest of my life taking it easy and killing time hiding away in my house like a hermit? Is it a matter of sitting patiently for a few more years? Or is day to day life always going to feel slightly more shit for the sake of something greater, like my health?

***

In other news, we’re talking about making a big move over to London – probably not a good idea in my current state, but will I ever be in the right mind set? It’s not for a few months yet, but when I fast-forward to thinking about moving to a new city, meeting new people, making friends, getting a new job etc., of course my mind goes straight to the thought that I wouldn’t be able to get through it without drinking. I do realise that I can definitely move continents and make new friends and build a new life etc all without alcohol, I know I can, but I just know that it will be ten times harder.

I’ve been dreaming of moderation – every alcoholic’s dream right? Wondering whether I’m doing this sobriety thing at the right time in my life. So many other bloggers are in their 30s and 40s – they’re married with kids and settled. I’ve always said that I’d do a year and see how I feel after that. What happens if, come Christmas, I still feel like life is just a slightly shitter version of the life I was living before? What if? What if? What if? I’ve been feeling like I owe myself the chance to see whether I can moderate, and if (like I suspect) it all turns to shit then at least I’ll know.

Feel free to try and talk some sense into me – I can’t promise I’ll listen. I can’t tell whether it’s me or the addict in charge of my mind right now!

Dickheads everywhere

I don’t think I’ve ever really grasped just how good I’ve had it when it comes to other people’s reactions to my decision to stop drinking. I’ve had it soooo, so good, but if the last fortnight is anything to go by, my luck has run out.

When I first quit I was constantly on the defensive, always prepared for hostile reactions when I turned down offers of drinks. Boozing culture is so well ingrained in our society that I expected it to ruffle a few feathers when I decided to go against the grain. Plus, I had been living in a world that revolved around alcohol and I couldn’t believe that people wouldn’t care about my decision not to partake in a bit of gasoline guzzling.

On the whole though I was pleasantly surprised by other people’s reactions. Close friends and family knew that I’d been worrying about my drinking for a long time before I actually stopped, so they had a bit of background and didn’t hassle me one bit. In fact their reactions have ranged from being curious about it all, to hugely supportive, to awestruck. And the majority of workmates, strangers and acquaintances have been mildly surprised, yet completely un-phased by news that I no longer drink. Overall, people just do not give a monkey’s what I decide to put into my body. It’s fab, it’s how things should be.

And so (with my surprise at everyone else’s lack of surprise), alcohol free me has slowly come out of hiding and I’ve gained confidence in this new aspect of my identity. I’ve become better at picking my timing and dropping it casually into conversation. Things seemed to be on the up and up. But, as this image so wonderfully summarises, up and up is never the reality:

Expectations v reality

The reality is that there are, in fact, an abundance of dickheads around. Absolutely loooooads of them. Ignorant, insensitive, ill-informed, blithering idiots, who feel it is their place to make you feel like a less of a human for becoming addicted to an addictive substance, and feel that it is their right to be offended by your decision to do something about that pesky little addiction.

I guess I’d been lulled into a false sense of security by all the wonderful mature reactions I’d had the good fortune to experience for the majority of my time spent sober, so I was a bit miffed at my work-party last week to be met with judgmental comment after judgmental comment all night long. There was pity “Oh you don’t drink? What… ever? That must be so booooring!”, and shock “You don’t drink? You?”, and attempts to coax me out of the ridiculous proposal that I stop drinking “It’s not forever, right?”, but what I found most unsettling was the disgust I encountered. My standard explanation when people ask why I don’t drink is to tell them that I wasn’t comfortable with the amount I was drinking so I decided to cut it out completely, but watching strangers’ faces balk in disgust at this fact has been making me second guess whether being honest all of the time is best for me.

To be fair to this particular bunch of dickheads, I think it was the age group of a lot of the people there that night – we’d recently hired a whole lot of junior staff straight out of uni and they probably haven’t learnt that there’s a big old diverse world out there and that they’ll need to learn to tolerate differences.

What’s rattled my cage a lot more recently is the judgement and disgust I’ve copped from an old friend. I can cope with a lack of understanding from people that don’t know me, young people that live in a booze soaked world, who are conditioned daily to believe that alcohol is the only way to have fun, but it’s a lot more confronting when it comes from a good friend. This friend has tiptoed around the edges of disdain. She hasn’t outright said that she doesn’t agree with my decision, but it’s quite clear that she’s not in support. The problem is, her comments are so minor that I feel like I’m being petty by bringing them up with her. The other day she messaged me delighted to see that I’d started drinking again. When I explained that the big glass of wine in the photo was AF wine, she replied simply “ew yuck”. This friend is one seriously intelligent girl, who’s normally really open minded and considerate, which is why I find her reaction all the more frustrating.

I guess the silver lining here is that her display of shitty friendship qualities just makes my supportive friends shine all the more brighter in comparison. Plus, she has really ugly eyebrows, so that makes me feel better too😉

Cringing

Today I had a job interview for a job I’m really keen on. The interview didn’t go as well as it could have, and all afternoon feelings of shame have just been washing over me as I re-live each appallingly bad answer I gave over and over in my mind. My face involuntarily scrunches up every time I remember how badly I ballsed up my responses and I just want to slither under my desk and the ground to eat me up.

I wish there was a switch that would turn off these feelings. I don’t know how to get rid of the feelings without drinking, so I’m just sitting here – sitting in the feeling, physically feeling like my guts have turned to jelly and there’s a pool of acid collecting in my stomach. It’s probably just an accumulation of adrenaline, but it’s making me feel horrific.

Anyone know how to get rid of these feelings of nerves and shame? I’ve tried talking through how things went with a couple of friends from work, but it hasn’t helped. I assumed the nerves would disappear and I’d feel relief after it was over, but instead I just feel doubly worse re-living the shame of making a fool of myself. Maybe it’s just a matter of time until the adrenaline drains out of my body…? Will running help? I’m clearly desperate to rid myself of this feeling if I’m considering running!🙂

Four good things

Month eight has been a cracking month so far!

I haven’t blogged in a few weeks because I haven’t felt the need. It’s a bit like the training wheels have fallen off and I just don’t need that support that I used to. Sober Mummy wrote about sober props recently and I agree – it’s a good measure of how well you’re doing when you notice the props falling away.

I thought it was about time to do up a list of things I’m grateful for right now, so here’s four good things…

1.) Trip to Queenstown

I’ve had crap holidays and good holidays sober, and this was a good one. The weekend pretty much centred around food. (I think that’s the key to a good sober holiday!)

This photo was taken on our last morning there. We had an early flight so I got up early and went to the bakery for breakfast at dawn. There wasn’t a soul around. I love that time of the morning when it feels like the world is all yours. If only I didn’t love sleep so much, I could enjoy my hangover free mornings more!

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2.) The alcohol shaped hole is filling in

One of my biggest fears when I decided to cut out the booze was that I was in a lose-lose situation. I thought my life was going to be miserable while drinking and miserable without. I could see that the drinking was causing a little path of destruction through my life, so I wanted to remove it, but I didn’t want it to leave a gaping painful hole behind. I didn’t want to drink and I didn’t want to stop. Basically I didn’t want my addiction.

The first six months were definitely patched with misery. I tried really hard not to feel like I was missing out, or feel like I was denying myself something I wanted, but sometimes you just can’t change how you feel no matter how much mind power you use! What I really needed was mind power + time. I just had a marinate in shitty feelings for a while until they sorted themselves out and I began to feel better.

These days (for the most part) I have what I wished for. I live my life with booze removed and no gaping hole. I’ve read a lot of advice that says you have to find something to fill that gaping hole. Often it’s running, or yoga or AA meetings, but for me I’m not too sure what it is… I think I’m just getting on with life and the lack of boozing is becoming less of a presence.

3.) Sober treats

I’ve found a new pit to pour money into that isn’t the booze aisle of the supermarket!

A couple of weeks ago I spent my Friday night at the Bobbi Brown counter. The women there are super down to earth and genuinely keen to make sure you’re happy. While my friends had a few pre-dinner drinks, I went off to get my make-up done, before meeting up with them later for dinner.

Skipping drinks was a genius idea and I’d make it a weekly ritual if it wouldn’t bankrupt me. Perched on my chair, sipping my sparkling water and being pampered, I felt like I was getting a much better deal than my boozy mates. Dinner later on was less alcohol-centric, so I felt like I was getting the best of both worlds. I’d definitely recommend doing this to stamp out any lingering feelings of FOMO. The counter will do your skincare/make-up for a set cost of around $100, but they’ll shave $100 off the cost of any product you buy.

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4.) This quote from Brené Brown

I don’t usually go in for this quotey shit – it’s all a bit lala when I’m all for practical advice. But this quote resonated with me for some reason:

“You can choose courage or comfort, but you cannot have both”

It was shared on Laura McKowen’s facebook page and I guess I was in a reflective mood when I read it. I think it really sums up sobriety (especially early sobriety). Sobriety has been extremely uncomfortable at times (to the point where I felt like I would 100% absolutely die if I didn’t drink), but I just had to recognise that my body/mind was simply intensely uncomfortable without the comfort of alcohol. It takes a lot of courage to sit with the discomfort and have faith that it becomes much more comfortable the more practice you get.

Brene Brown

Am I doing enough?

I read an article today that was shared by Kate from The Sober School blog. Her site seems to be aimed much more at people thinking about quitting or just getting started with giving up the drink, so it doesn’t apply to me as much anymore, but I still follow along because she’s pretty inspirational. When I first started to seriously look at my drinking and came to the decision that I needed to quit, I was pretty bummed about it. I worried about how uncool it was to have a drinking problem and expected to spend the rest of my life as an outcast, living on the fringes of society, but Kate’s site was the first I found that had a different approach and helped to allay my fears a bit.

Anyway, Kate’s awesome, but to get to the point of this post, she shared this article today and it really got me thinking…

I’m not really sure whether I’m doing enough.

I know that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, everyone’s journey is different, my path is my own, yadda, yadda, but surely there are some recoveries that are better than others. Surely there are healthier ways to go about things – specific things that make sobriety better/happier/more successful.

I don’t think that I’m living as a ‘dry drunk’ as described in the article, but I do worry that I’m somewhere in between white knuckling it through and having a deep, life altering experience. People have said to me before that “as long as your not drinking, you’re doing it right”, but there must be a bit more to it than that. Is connecting with an online sober community enough or should I be connecting with sober folk in real life? I’ve heard that real life connections are infinitely better, but I’m painfully shy and the thought of going along to a meeting makes me shake in my boots. I also have close friends and family that I’m completely honest and open with. They’re definitely a great support, but I wonder how important it is to have real life support from those who know exactly what you’re going through.

And then there’s the emotional side of things. The desire to numb my feelings with wine for many years must have stemmed from emotional issues, but I don’t really know where to start with identifying or addressing those problems. I suspect I’m just an overly sensitive, anxious, painfully shy person who is highly skilled in self-criticism and has a penchant for overthinking any situation. So that’s awesome – no idea what to do about it though! I’m loathe to go to a counsellor to talk about this stuff because I hate parting with money unless it’s for something physical that I can put in my house. I don’t even know whether a ‘counsellor’ would be able to steer me in the right direction – is it a therapist? Or do I need to be paying someone with a PhD to fix me? A psychiatrist? Psychotherapist? Psychologist? Or will I just naturally figure out new coping mechanisms by myself over time? (See, over thinking things again.)

I also know that a lot of people find something new to devote their spare time to. Hobbies, or yoga or running or whatever. But I haven’t really channeled my focus in any one direction. I’ve dabbled around, making a few healthier life choices and have enjoyed the freedom to think about stuff (like my career and big life choices) that I just wouldn’t have looked at seriously before (because wine was the centre of my universe). I wouldn’t go so far as to say removing alcohol has changed my life completely though… should it have?

***

In sugar quitting news, everything is going swimmingly. On Friday night I caved and had half a glass of ginger beer and I’ve had a couple of hot chocolates before bed. The ginger beer happened at work drinks. I was already feeling a bit deprived being sat in a middle of a bunch of people drinking wine, so out of the alternatives (ginger beer or water) ginger beer won. That was a lesson in poor planning. And the hot chocolates were the result of feeling anxious/overwhelmed and wanting the comfort of sugar. I’ve been really good with making sure there aren’t any hidden sugars in my food though, so I’d say I’m under the daily recommended amount of 6 tsps.

I’ve always said that this sugar free experiment won’t be at the expense of my sobriety. If it’s all too hard then I’ll be throwing in the towel, but I’m happy with how things are going so far. It hasn’t been as painful as I expected.

 

 

 

Forever?

Month six was a good one. I was really beginning to relax into sobriety, cravings had pretty much died off completely and socialising was becoming easier. I felt strong. There were a bunch of times I was grateful to be sober (especially when I had to drive!) and the prospect of this new sober life stretching out ahead of me didn’t fill me with dread as it did in the beginning.

Roll on month seven and I feel like it’s two steps forward, one step back. My resolve over the past few days has weakened and I keep picturing myself going back to drinking at some stage down the track. I know I only have to focus on the here and now, and it’s not so important to be okay with not drinking forever, but I still get a bit stressed over thoughts of the future.

I want to move cities (if not countries) at some stage in the next couple of years and the thought of settling in to a new place without the ease of getting to know new friends over drinks is really daunting. I’m now a pro at staying sober during the day to day grind of work and home life. Routines make things easy, but turning my life upside down is really going to throw a spanner in the works.

I guess that’s the challenge though right? The possible always seems impossible until it’s done. I’ve always relied on alcohol to make boring evenings fun, to make socialising less stressful, to ‘give me dutch courage’, and so on. It’s not until you take away the alcohol and learn to live without it that you realise you don’t need it. Boring evenings aren’t less fun without wine anymore, I’ve had enough practice to know I can go without and not miss it. It’s a matter of doing it and proving to yourself that it’s okay. I just haven’t had the chance to prove to myself that I don’t need alcohol in my future, because I haven’t got there yet…  Am I making sense? Probably not.

In other news, I am about to commence operation ‘I quit sugar’. I’ve bought the book and I’m doing the eight week detox with a couple of friends. Week one involves cutting out obvious sugars, so no sugar in my morning coffee or bowls of icecream in the evenings. I’m on the soda and limes instead of ginger beer. My diet is dull and cardboardy now that I’m not washing everything down with fructose, but it’s only for eight weeks. Doing a sugar detox feels like such a luxury when I compare it to being sober because I know there is an end to this if I want it. If, after eight weeks, I want to go back to a sugar laden diet, I can. Which is funny because that’s how I started out with sobriety – it was just an experiment really. But I liked parts of it, and I was curious to see what would happen if I kept going, so I did.

When did I start worrying about whether it was forever or not? It’s a hell of a lot less stressful when I think of sobriety as ‘just for the foreseeable future’. Simply as a means to getting healthy again. Not bothering with alcohol for a while because it wreaks havoc with my anxiety. Sometimes thinking in the short term just has to be enough. I don’t know how Mrs D and others can be so confident in proclaiming that they’ll never have another drink again in their lives – it must take a lot of sober practice to have that confidence and I hope I get to that point too! #sobergoals

Earl Grey’s Orchard

Warm, creamy, aromatic and tart…this one’s a goody!

With a base of fragrant mulled apple juice, topped with a head of chilled Chantilly cream, it ain’t doing your waistline any favours, but it is so, so worth it.

You’ll need:

  • 1 L apple juice
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp honey
  • zest of half an orange
  • 2 Earl Grey teabags

For Chantilly cream:

  • 100 mLs full fat cream
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

This will make 4 short glasses or 2 tall ones.

Add your mulled apple juice ingredients to a saucepan and simmer over a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes.

While your apple liquid is simmering, whip the cream with icing sugar and nutmeg. Once thick, leave in the fridge to chill.

After simmering, set aside your apple liquid to cool for 5-10 minutes.

It should still be fairly hot when you pour into glasses.


Dollop your chilled cream on top. It should melt slightly, but float.

The tangy apple cuts through the cream, perfumed with Earl Grey tea and spices. It’ll set your taste buds singing!

Blabbing about being blue

This post was meant to be an update on how blue I’d started feeling again, but the mopey days came and went so quickly that I didn’t get around to posting while I was feeling blue. I’m back in happy mode, but felt the need to document it anyway.

To be fair, it was more of a mopey grey than proper blue. I guess I’m getting so attuned to my feelings that I freak out every time I start to get a bit down and diognose myself with full blown depression. Ever the drama queen.

Anyway, I think I’ve pinned down a few of the causes of my low mood:

  • First up, our weekend away to Queenstown (which was amazing by the way – I’ll post about it later), but I ate like shit all weekend and had crappy sleep on a shitty mattress, and of course travelling in general is a bit stress inducing.
  • Couple that with reading Caroline Knapp’s Drinking: A Love Story, which I’m finding extremely triggery and have had to stop and start reading several times.
  • Plus Louis Theroux’s Drinking to Oblivion doco, which I found quite scary and left me thinking “what if I try, and try, and try to live my life happy and sober, but eventually end up like poor Aurelie?”… “What if no matter how hard I try I’ll eventually be worn down and sucked into the vortex of alcoholism because it’s ultimately more powerful than me”. Thinking in extremes probably isn’t doing me any favours in the mood department.

As soon as I began to feel a bit mopey I went straight back to basics. Ate a tonne of healthy food – veges, salmon, brown rice – cut down on my sugar intake, tired myself out by working hard, slept well, drank water, read feel-good articles, had some deep and meaningful convos, and said “no” to going out. And the blues breezed back out of my life as quickly as they’d come in.

Three cheers for self care!

And three cheers for sober treats – these are Celosia – they look like hot pink fuzzy brains; my favourite flowers:

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Six Good Things

I like to think that I’m a ‘glass half full’ kinda gal most of the time. I’m a big believer in the power of positive attitude and I try to find a silver lining to any shitty situation. But I’d be lying if I said that sobriety has been a walk in the park so far – sometimes you just can’t force happiness and sometimes you’ve just got to have a big fat whinge.

Lately though, my brain chemicals seem to be falling into line and I’ve been feeling better, feeling steadier. I don’t want to jinx anything, but it feels like optimism is tentatively creeping back into my life. It’s becoming easier to spot the positives, so here’s six good things from me:

  1. I’ve finally started telling people “I don’t drink”. None of this “I’m trying to be healthier” nonsense anymore. People ask “why?” and I tell them the truth (in varying degrees of detail). It just fell out of my mouth one day and i haven’t looked back since. To be clear, I’m not knocking people that choose to be vague, it certainly helped me to be vague to begin with, but these days I’m all for being straight up.
  2. I’m fascinated when I come across alcoholic characters in books or telly. I find myself rooting for them, they’re on my team. I loved how Trixie from Call the Midwife found an outlet in her aerobics classes in London’s East End during the 1950s, similar to how so many of us find yoga to be a huge help these days. And I found myself getting way too emotionally invested in Catherine’s sister Clare’s character from BBC’s Happy Valley.
  3. Coffee. Need I say more? This is an addiction to be dealt with another day.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
  4. Sober treats! I’ve been able to save more now that I’m not demolishing $100 worth of wine a week. Sometimes though, you’ve got to scrap the savings in favour of treating yo’self.Recently I bought this perfume. It’s a unisex scent that smells clean and powdery. I’ve heard it described as smelling like velvet, or the pages of a book. It smells different on everyone’s skin and I love it!

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  5. Ok, I think this one’s the best of the six. There’s been a big push at my work lately to promote diversity. I guess it’s the latest ‘thing’ in HR circles. There’s been all the expected stuff – trying to get a better male/female balance in top positions, making sure racism, homophobia and sexism are stamped out etc.But at our company’s latest fortnightly meeting a woman from the diversity working group stood up to talk about non-drinkers in the company. Everyone gets wine gifted to them on their birthday, and she explained that you could add yourself to a non-drinkers list and you’d get a gift card instead. I’m already on this list, but I thought it was cool that they are becoming more aware of non-drinkers’ needs, given the extreme boozing culture at my work (and in NZ in general).

    I’m also helping out with organising our mid-year work-do and we were given direction from the big boss to make sure it was less alcohol-centric than years before. It seems like the message is filtering through the company. Great news for me, maybe a bit of a bummer for the drinkers though.

  6. And finally, how good is it when you come across non-alcoholic drinks menus as good as these:Processed with VSCO with m3 preset

    This one’s from the Black Sparrow bar in Wellington. The apple snap was amazing and I’ll be trying to recreate at home. I’ll share if I’m successful!