So I have managed to go a whole year without alcohol which now I have taken some time to reflect on this properly before writing this seems an amazing achievement – well done me 😁
Seriously though, if you had told me 18 months ago I would or even could have gone 12 months without ANY alcohol I would have not believed you!
The Human mind is an incredibly powerful thing if you can learn to control it by breaking bad habits and learnt behaviours. This has been especially hard for me as I grew up with 2 parents who were barely functioning alcoholics in the late 90s at the same time as alcopops (Hooch!) were being marketed to teenagers 🤔
Being good at binge drinking also became a HUGE status symbol within the lad and ladette culture of the late 90s and early 2000s especially in my home town, the World renowned party town of Newcastle Upon Tyne! Incredibly this mindset and culture was even more prevalent down in Whitley Bay, the smaller coastal town where I grew up. Whitley Bay for many years was one of THE stag and hen do destinations people would descend on to get smashed before the likes of international destinations such as Prague became more prominent.
When I was travelling around Europe extensively last year in our motorhome, it was obvious that most places, seem to have a much more mature and healthy relationship with alcohol overall than the UK. I’m not saying alcohol isn’t an issue in these other countries though as historically Norway has had widespread issues which they have been trying to tackle by making the prices increasingly more exorbitantly expensive…
In Sweden they took the decision to only sell lower strength alcohol (less than ~3.5%) in supermarkets and standard stores meaning you have to visit a Government controlled alcohol store at set times to get your fix. There was at least one in most towns and at the time, I made a point of looking up before arriving to make sure I was always well stocked. Visiting the System Bolaget each time made me feel like I was almost doing something to be frowned upon weirdly or that was the whole point!?
Germany and Spain seem to have one of the lowest prices per litre of alcohol within Europe or certainly where we travelled last year. However I have found it particularly striking that on weekends and public holidays over here in Spain people aren’t stocking up on cases of beer etc in order to get smashed in the sun compared to Bank Holiday booze deals back home.
Please don’t take this post as some sort of holier than though anti alcohol post as most people can maintain a healthy relationship to the consciousness altering drug of alcohol but overall I am personally better off without it. My intention is to never have another drop of alcohol again despite being surrounded by some of the nicest and cheapest red wine on Earth over here!?
So cheers or Salud as I raise my alcohol free beer here in Spain to anyone and everyone who has or is trying to break personal bad habits no matter what they are 🍻