Last time I spoke about my life changing decision to give up alcohol, in August, and how tough it was over Christmas. I have been overwhelmed with support from you lovely readers, many of you deciding yourselves to try a sober lifestyle during what’s now known as #DryJanuary. Good for you! But please be aware that many, in fact most of the benefits of sobriety come after that first , difficult month.
My first few weeks were full of restless night, colds, aches and pains, and residual anxiety. It wasn’t until 3 or 4 months out that the fog began to clear, and I started to actually feel amazing! If this has made you reconsider your relationship with booze, but you don’t feel like giving it up 100%. You might prefer to become part of the ‘Mindful drinking’ movement, championed by online communities like Club Soda. The times are a changing, and responsible drinking ( under 14 units a week ) or total sobriety are now seen as positive and healthy lifestyle choices not as a last resort.
The UK is a little bit behind the rest of Europe, but we’re getting there. Can you believe, last year Germany saw a 40% decrease in alcohol sales- the county which is famous for Oktoberfest beer festival ! I met up with a local entrepreneur who is at the forefront of the alcohol-free drinks movement. Tom Ward, 32 from Evercreech, started his business WiseBartender.co.uk just one year ago. His background in community health, and a keen interest in health and sports, led Tom to invest his own money into the risky start-up. He did his first ever ‘pop-up’ bar in Shepton Mallet last September.
“ I was nervous about how it would be received, but the locals were really supportive. We’ve done quite a few since, and plan to be up at CollettFest and other events in the area over the summer. We’ve been mentioned in the national press, and have booked spots at major food festivals and even the Gin Festival ! Business is booming” says Tom.
The company delivers a wide range of delicious and desirable alcohol-free beers, ciders, wines, and spirits across the UK- with lucky residents of BA4, BA6, BA11 & BA14 getting free delivery on orders over £25. I am a big fan of the Cava - no booze and no calories either, it’s also gluten free and vegan! Follow Tom’s story on instagram @wisebartenderuk.
In other news, I’m obsessed with Shepton Mallet ‘parkrun’, each Saturday morning at 9am, Collett Park. I have only managed to walk round so far, and came an embarrassing 247th out of 252 runners, but I aim to get better each week. The atmosphere is amazing, really supportive and uplifting.
A big thanks to all of the volunteers who turn out in all weather to cheer on the runners.
Please remember to register and print off your code first - Everyone from kids to older folks are doing our local parkrun !
Collett Park, Every Saturday 9am - please register online first and print off your code. Ps. quite a few people just walk to start with :)
All this fresh air, sober living, and exercise has given me a new zest for life and I’m planning to launch my own business later this year. Watch this space...
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)