When I first stopped drinking it was the middle of winter. A cold, dark day in December when I sat in my bed and decided that “never drinking again” was going to stick this time & I’d make a sober London life work.
Once I’d got Christmas over with, it was
easy easier to stay in during those early days. It was fun to stay home and watch Netflix. In January everyone was broke or on a healthkick (or both) a. They embraced the opportunity to go on yoga dates or for a healthy brunch over a big night out.
The recent hot weather has shown me just how much I associated summer with drinking, walking home from work and everyone’s drinking outside the pub or eating alfresco or having Pimms with friends – my resolve has been tested.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so pleased that I made this decision. This alcohol free journey is helping me become the person I always wanted to be and the benefits seriously outweigh the booze. But it’s still there, and the FOMO I’ve recognised recently has been given a firm talking too.
Lovely Africa wrote in her Not Drinking Diary this week that when she started her booze free journey she had ‘not one sober friend’ and now, thanks to instagram she has ‘them in abundance’.
The instagram community is seriously awesome for alcohol free inspiration, (and you’ll hear me rave about it constantly, it’s how I’ve met most of my not drinking friends) but nothing beats real life connection.
It can be bloody hard to meet like minded people – when I stopped drinking I knew one other person who’d stopped (Hi Jess) but I met her through a not drinking meetup I attended when I was still on the fence about quitting. My social circles at the time were/are all happy drinkers. I’m not asking them to change, and I’m not planning on changing all my friends either, but I am so grateful to the new ones I’ve added who are on a similar path to me and get what I’m going through.
But … going back to my initial point … it can be difficult to continue socialising when you don’t drink, particularly at the start when you’re not sure what you’re doing, and everyone continually asks you why and tries to force drinks down your throat (in the friendliest of ways); so going to events that are alcohol free can be seriously great for building your confidence if you’re new to stopping or cutting down and meeting new friends.
I’ve picked out 4 alcohol free events for booze free fun in London, some well known and some less so (and one is my own because I’d love to meet you!).
Whether you’re completely alcohol-free, straight edge, pregnant, trying to moderate, exploring healthier options, working on your confidence or just a bit curious about this whole drinking less movement movement then there’s an event for you:
1.Mindful Drinking Festival, Sunday 13th August, 12-6 Free Entry (Bermondsey)
You guys already know I’m a big fan of alcohol-free versions of my favourite drinks – I wrote about booze free drinks to try this summer recently – they help keep me on the straight and narrow and I genuinely like the taste. They’re also often much healthier than other soft drink options (some people say alcohol free beer is the healthiest thing you can drink besides water).
The Mindful Drinking Festival will feature a range of innovative drinks to taste and buy, talks from producers, mocktails from top mixologists, and much more. The event is going to be the first of its kind to truly showcase this emerging sector of the drinks industry, and there’ll be plenty of free samples!!
The festival is totally free to attend, but they’re asking for people to RSVP in advance; you can do that here on the Mindful Drinking Festival website.
I’m going to be there from 3ish so let me know if you’re going and make sure you say hi on the day!
2.The Grand Gathering, Just Breathe – August 29th, 7-9pm (London Bridge)
Held at The Shangri-La, at the Shard, The Grand Gathering is a community based evening of meditation and more. Started by Michael James Wong, the community that come together here are from all walks of life. Whether you’re brand new to Meditation or have a regular practice, you’ll feel welcome at this monthly event.
It is a night of calm, live music & a group meditation. Each gathering pledges support to charity partners by asking for a £5 donation for your ticket. I went to the first Grand Gathering when they were based in East London and I’ve been to everyone since. The July event is sold out, but sign up to the Just Breathe mailing list to be notified when tickets go on sale for August. See you there?
3.SLIP London – August 12th, 9pm – 2am (Shoreditch)
SLIP – See Love In People – is a club night in London that has gone booze free. It ‘brings the best underground techno and house acts to the people’ & their facebook page reads ‘vibing off each other is all we need.’
SLIP parties are about Seeing Love In People, dancing sober, socialising, amazing music, healthy juices, healthy snacks and raising money for charity. All the best ingredients for a great night out with zero regrets in the morning. Just a sense of joy come breakfast the next day.
Seriously, a sober London club night??? No booze??? Sign me up. I miss dancing & throwing myself into the deep end of an actual club still feels hella intimidating. It’s in Shoreditch and the next one is in August, I’m thinking about getting a group of my not drinking friends together to go so if you want to join us let me know!
4.Alternative Saturday Night – August 5th, 7.30-9.30pm
Yoga. Meditation. Tea & Cake.
The event I co-host with my lovely friend Lizzy. It’s just for the girls, an intimate gathering of 10 women all choosing to do something different with their Saturday evening.
I’m a big fan of yoga and meditation as tools to keep me grounded, and they play a big part in my alcohol free toolkit. Our event is suitable for you if you’re a seasoned yogi or a complete beginner. Tickets are sold out.
(If you’re not in London and would love to try a yoga class or some meditation, I love Movement for Modern Life – an online website that has many senior teaches leading classes and challenges from beginners to advanced. You can try it for free for 14 days, and then sign up for as little as £10.99 a month if you like it)
So my pick of 4 sober London events choose from this summer! I’d love to hear about more happening in the city, & if you’re not in London anything going on where you live! Comment below, email me or drop me a note on instagram.
All my love, as always, L xx