A millennial’s take on alcohol-free drinking
To celebrate the upcoming 150th alcohol-free drink review I asked a good friend of mine, Nikki, to write an article on alcohol-free drinking from a millennial’s point of view. Nikki actually got me into the world of non-alcoholic drinks in 2020 and has since gone on to found a leading booze-free social events group with thousands of members. I’ll stop the waffle and let Nikki take it from here …
“Drinking habits across the UK are changing. Last year a You Gov poll revealed that one in five adults don’t drink alcohol – that’s 15% of men and 21% of women, whilst three in ten say they are now drinking less than before the pandemic.
The UK’s most extensive study of drinking behaviours in 2019 also showed that 26% of 16-to-25-year-olds didn’t drink at all! As an older millennial, this is a very different drinking landscape from the one I grew up in. I entered adulthood in 1999 during the height of laddette culture when women were encouraged to frequently drink to excess with little regard for the consequences. Back then, alcopops were widely advertised, and drinking trends were spiraling, such that by 2004 British drinkers were each consuming, on average, the equivalent of over 100 bottles of wine every year.
No wonder, then, that my social life for the next twenty years revolved around a work-hard-play-hard cycle of weekend binge drinking, poor decisions, and inevitable hangovers, which for me and many people my age felt not just socially acceptable but expected
Then in September 2021, aged 40, I decided to stop. Initially, I’d planned to quit for a month as part of Dry January to improve my sleep and overall fitness levels, but I felt so much better for it that I decided to carry on, and by the time Sober October rolled around, I still wasn’t drinking.
The obvious benefits – clearer skin, better sleep, less anxiety – were undeniable, but I’d be lying if I said sobriety didn’t come with its challenges. Most people I knew drank alcohol to some extent, and social events with friends and work still tended to revolve around trips to bars and pubs, so the temptation to drink felt, at times, overwhelming. For a long time, when people would ask me why I wasn’t drinking, I felt a constant need to justify my choice as though I was committing some sort of social crime.
That’s when my friend, the street artist Rua, and I decided to start a Meetup group called Lucid London, with the aim of providing booze-free social events across London for non-drinkers and anyone wanting to drink less.
An alcohol-free group without judgment
Lucid London is free to join and we now have over 1200 members from all walks of life who attend a wide range of activities, from walks and picnics to life drawing and sober clubbing.
Inclusivity is at the heart of what we do – our members choose not to drink for a variety of reasons, including medical or religious. Some have struggled with alcohol use in the past, and some simply choose not to drink alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle. Rua and I run the group on a voluntary non-profit basis and would like to offer more events, but as we both work full-time, we can currently only offer around two per month.
The events are always great fun, so we’re keen to find more volunteers who might like to host in-person or online events. It’s easy to do, and organisers can host as many or as few events as they want. If that’s you, please get in touch with us via the meetup group or by email. You can also find us on Instagram and via our website – Lucid London.”
Thanks Nikki, great article, looking forward to attending the next Lucid meet.
Images are not of Nikki and Lucid but courtesy of Pexels.com
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