Mindful drinking: here’s how to do it

Searches for non-alcoholic drinks are up 50%, while demand for alcoholic drinks is down 33%. Sober curious? Here are our top ways to try mindful drinking and have a healthier relationship with alcohol
1. Understand what mindful drinking actually is

According to mindfuldrinkingfestival.com, it’s an attitude. ‘When you drink mindfully, you become aware of how your body and mind are affected, and can decide if you’re OK with that. You get that bit of space to take control of your drinking habits.’ To put that into practice? Resist the temptation to guzzle your next G&T while already planning your next tipple. Make it special by taking the time to sip it slowly. Savour it. Focus on how it tastes, looks and the sensations it brings. Concentrate on the enjoyment, rather than simply necking one after the other for the drunken buzz.

2. Remember these top tips from mindful drinking guru Rosamund Dean

Her book, Mindful Drinking: How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life (combining scientific insight with simple, practical advice), is the perfect starting point for the sober curious.

  • Build up your alcohol-free (AF) days. ‘The thing that makes moderation more difficult than abstinence is the fact that, once you’ve had a drink or two, decision-making skills go out the window. Try to have more alcohol-free, than drinking, days in a week. An app such as Dry Days is good for monitoring your drinking, and it’s strangely satisfying to see those AF days stack up.’
  • Plan ahead. ‘If you don’t want to drink on a night out, don’t expect to make a good decision on the spot. Decide in advance what you’re going to drink and – importantly – what you’re going to say to anyone who tries to pressure you. Have a pre-planned line such as: “I’ve got an early meeting and my tolerance for hangovers has really dropped”, or “This place does the ginger kombucha I love”.’
  • Go easy on yourself. ‘We’ve all been starved of social interaction and it’s completely understandable to be a bit giddy as you re-emerge. If you overdo it, don’t make your hangover worse by feeling bad about it. Instead, think about the series of events that led to you drinking more than you meant to. That way, you can learn from it and plan differently for next time.’
  • Make it joyful. ‘My rule now is that I think about whether I’m going to remember each drink with joy or regret. If it’s regret, I skip it. If it’s joy, I go for it!’
3. Give a booze-free bar a go

London-based? Square Root Soda Bar is great for tasty cocktails made sans alcohol (they taste so good, you’d have no clue!). And for boujee, non-alcoholic beverages – think refreshing ‘mock-jitos’ served in gorgeous vintage glasses – try Redemption. Near Manchester? Go to Cloud 23: the views are top-notch and the entire cocktail menu can be made alcohol-free! DRY, in Edinburgh, offers alcohol-free beers, wines and cocktails, while in Ireland, Dublin’s chic hotspot, The Virgin Mary, is the country’s first alcohol-free bar. (Check out the Club Soda Guide for the best non-alcoholic and low alcoholic drinks and venues local to you.) Cheers!

4. Educate yourself

Podcast Love Sober is hosted by two friends, Kate and Mandy, chatting openly about navigating life, and parenting, through a sober lens. They say: ‘Whether binge drinking or drinking to self-medicate stress, depression or anxiety, we talk about it all with the vibe of a comfy chat over a cuppa.’ And for more tips (and a non-preachy, witty read), try The Sober Girl Society Handbook, by Millie Gooch. Following her successful online community, it empowers you to reflect honestly on your relationship with alcohol. And the uplifting, inspiring The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, by Catherine Gray, is a raw memoir that also explains why we drink and what it does to our brains and bodies.

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