A change for the better – Going alcohol-free during lockdown

Henry Forrest | August 2021 | 7 minutes

In this blog, Henry explains his reasons for going alcohol-free, his love of beer, and his quest to find some great low and no-alcohol alternatives.

Back in early 2019, I decided to stop drinking. I didn’t have a problem with alcohol. In fact, since finishing university I barely drank during the week. But a few things had changed in my life.

I was now married and had two young children. Some days, parenting and getting everything right can be hard. But all in all I had a good life – still do. I might not have had big drinking sessions or had the fridge stocked full or beer, but I did enjoy beer. I would go as far as to say I loved beer. I didn’t drink because of social pressure, but because I enjoyed the taste. However, I was finding that the odd beer in the week would mean waking with a sore throat or feeling tired after a restless night’s sleep. I decided that it simply wasn’t worth it for one beer.

I started to search supermarkets for low-alcohol beers. I know there are quite a few available now between 1% and 2% but I was looking for 0.5% and below. I found that most that were easily available we on the lager side of beer, not my normal choice but hit the spot on a warm day. After about a year of trying everything the supermarkets had to offer, I, and the rest of us, found ourselves in a global pandemic. Now, there’s lots I could talk about here – most of which is not related to my journey with no- and low alcohol, but one thing I did recognise was how fortunate I was to have made the decision to leave alcohol behind me a year earlier. I know that if this hadn’t been the case it could have been very easy for my drinking habits to take a different turn.

It turns out that there is a whole world of people like me trying to find good alcohol-free beer. I remember getting carried away with my first order and picking out nearly 80 that I had never seen before.

With the pandemic also came not really leaving the house. This gave me more time to search online and I found myself searching for alcohol-free beer – something I had not even contemplated searching before. It turns out that there is a whole world of people like me trying to find good alcohol-free beer. I remember getting carried away with my first order and picking out nearly 80 that I had never seen before. Since then I have found a great online community on Twitter where I can talk about alcohol-free beer openly. I’ve been more confident at talking about not drinking with friends, sharing and suggesting some of my favourites – I know of at least five of my friends who’ve made online orders for alcohol-free beers because of the conversations we’ve had. I’ve also started writing a blog to review alcohol free beers with a new friend that I’ve found through Twitter. This has given me an outlet for my new passion but also provides me with some time to be creative, taking photos and writing, which has been great for my own mental health this year.

I don’t have any metrics on my average alcohol intake, hours I was sleeping or level of crankiness – but I do know that I feel better now.

I can’t say that I had any kind of medical before taking the decision to drop alcohol. I don’t have any metrics on my average alcohol intake, hours I was sleeping or level of crankiness – but I do know that I feel better now. Life still has its challenges and I often fail at overcoming those, but I now know that I can relax in the evening with a cold beer that, a) I really enjoy and b) isn’t going to leave me less than 100% the next day. My favourite part of this change is the fun of meeting new friends online and the excitement of enjoying the latest and greatest offerings from the alcohol-free market.

Henry Forest runs the Alcohol-Free Explorers blog. He can be found on Twitter @HoppyAF.

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