Drinking and driving but not in a bad way...

A long time ago when I was 18 I started the process of 'removing things' that I deemed unnecessary in my life. I didn't know I was doing it back then, but that's how it has turned out when I reflect back on what has happened.

The first thing to go was sugar in Tea. I had grown up going through the sweet kiddies drinks sweetened orange, rosehip and then sweet tea.... and at 18 I questioned why am I drinking tea with 2 sugars? ... so I reasoned if I can get used to it with 2 sugars and people drink it without, it must just be a habit. So stop I did, and after 3 months of thinking why have I done this? New habits where formed and it was normalised, and the sweetened version awful.

The next thing to go was sugar in coffee. I didn't think that would be easy but what happened was that I just craved stronger coffee to make up for the lack of sweetness. Another 3 months and that was normal too...

So just recently I gave up drinking alcohol which is the subject of a previous blog (here). Now I have regularly drunk the non alcoholic beers on offer when out for a night as the designated driver or in periods of abstinence. They have always seemed to me absent of soul, the guts of what beer is all about and devoid of flavour or... a bit soapy to taste. I have always been quite relieved in one way to go back to the 'full fat' versions even though alcohol comes with inebriation and a hazy fog in the morning. Having now completed just short of 150 days without alcohol which is time for a new habit to be formed, this week a couple of new thinking patterns have been revealed to me.

Actually non alcohol beers are a soft drink that tastes like beer. I am not a fan of sweet drinks and do not drink lemonade, coke or any of the other fizzy soft drinks on the market. So this week when the weather was hot it was awesome to be able to have a very cold beer (no alcohol) enjoy the drink and... be able to drive and have no impaired abilities at all.

This is quite enlightening as I have never drunk at lunchtime as even half a pint wrecked my thinking for the rest of the day. But now of course I can enjoy one of these beers at anytime of the day when it takes my fancy.

The real difference behind this is that now, the non alcoholic versions of the beer have been normalised. To me they are what beer now tastes like. The others are a distant memory that I no longer can remember well enough and the new paradigm is what I have got used to. I am also beginning to enjoy them for what they are which is something I thought I would never say. Next stop is experimenting with a half spoon of honey in the beer, or alcohol free cider and some blackcurrant (snakebite)... not drinking doesn't have to be boring!

The additional benefit of course is that I can have as many as I want, when I want, without the side effects. I don't have to worry if one more will take me over the limit, or compromise me in the morning. It is just what we get used to and this week has been a bit of a revelation.

I know that for some, drinking a beer of any type would be almost like tempting fate, but for me it works as my reasons for stopping are principled and sacrosanct, so going back is not a possibility for me.

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