Three years ago I stopped drinking alcohol. It sucked.
I have tons of unforgettable memories that involve alcohol. Oh, the irony.
I don't hold anything against those who choose to drink. I get it. Drinking is fun. Real fun. But in my mid-20's, there was a tipping point.
The scale had actually tipped years before I began to notice how much pain alcohol was causing me. I was 26 when I started to sit up and take notice. That was when I tried to stop the first time.
The morning after my 28th birthday in 2018, I had my last sip of alcohol.
I'll save the details for future posts.
During my first year of not drinking, I had no idea there were so many great alcohol-free beer options out there. When I shopped for groceries, I would grab a few bottles of whatever was on the shelf without much thought.
Like many others, I didn't believe you could enjoy a beer without the regular alcohol content.
That belief changed one night while out for dinner at a pub in London. I saw Adnams Ghost Ship 0.5% on the menu and gave it a try. It was the first time I sipped an alcohol-free beer and thought, "Wow, this is actually pretty good.".
The next day, I found it in my local supermarket and it is still a favourite of mine today.
That discovery led me to look for more. I soon realized there was an entire world of alcohol-free beer that I had completely ignored. My quest had begun.
I haven't always had the idea to write about alcohol-free beer or my experiences on the journey of sobriety. But I am a creator at heart. I was a photographer and I work full-time as a designer.
I've always wanted to put something out into the world that others could get value from. I've tried writing about design. Making videos about photography. I even considered blogging about my love for golf.
I've lost count of how many domain names I've bought for my blog ideas. Nothing ever stuck because I wasn't excited enough about doing it.
One evening, while buying more useless domains and thinking about this exact dilemma. I reached for an alcohol-free beer from the fridge. As I cracked it open I thought, "holy sh*t, I should write about alcohol-free beer".
Why Did I Start Zen Beer?
- To support those who don't drink, no matter their reason.
- To support those who do drink and are looking to cut down, take a break, or stop entirely.
- To be a resource for those who do drink and want to understand and support the decisions of those who don't.
- To help people discover great alcohol-free beer for any occasion.
- To raise awareness around alcohol-free/low-alcohol/non-alcoholic beer and its growing market. I'd love to see even more options in bars, pubs (especially on tap!), restaurants, and supermarkets.
The initial excitement around starting Zen Beer centred around the idea of sharing great alcohol-free beers. But as I've continued to work on it, I've wanted to share my experiences as I walk this road of sobriety.
The Two Parts of Zen Beer
What you can expect from the articles I post.
I'll share stories from my perspective as a dude in his 30's navigating life without alcohol.
I was 28 when I stopped drinking. At the time of writing this, I've been sober for 3 years. Alcohol was very much a part of my identity. It's been an interesting journey of self-discovery since I chose to stop and I want to start sharing some of the things I've learned.
I'll answer questions like:
- How do I handle social situations without alcohol?
- What do I tell people when they ask why I don't drink?
- What caused me to stop drinking?
- Why did I abuse alcohol in the first place?
I'll also share my favourite alcohol-free beers. Think of them more as "Beer spotlights" than "Beer reviews". Partly because I know nothing about the beer-making process, and partly because I want to focus on the positives of beers I love, rather than highlight the negatives of beers I don't.
From time to time I'll also publish videos of these on YouTube.
I am so stoked to put this out into the world. There is much more to come. Thank you for being here.
Zen Beer is where I share my thoughts about life (and beer) without alcohol.