Attending My First Sober Wedding in 18 Years

attending a wedding sober for the first time

If something bad happens, you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens, you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens, you drink to make something happen

-Charles Bukowski

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Even though I am a married woman, I’ve never been much of a fan of weddings. For some, the environment of weddings is hopeful and inspirational and for others – like me – weddings are full of questionable energy and an open bar – not the best of combos.

I am just back from a two-week trip to America with my husband built around the celebration of my little sister’s wedding.

tips for how to survive a wedding sober

It wasn’t my first trip back home since I quit drinking, but it was the first wedding I had attended since I boarded the sobriety wagon. Incidentally, it’s also the first summer in five years that I have been able to hit the beach – and get a tan!

A Scotsman discovers the Sun.

Every wedding I’ve attended in the past two decades – including my own – I drank at — a lot.

I always believed that was what people go to a wedding for – and I know more than once I’ve heard people say that the ‘open bar’ is the only reason they attend a wedding reception.

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I had no anxiety about the idea of attending any wedding events without having any alcohol. However, I did notice how little some places equip themselves with non-drinkers in mind.

For example, the wedding rehearsal dinner took place at a taproom, but I thought surely they would have one non-alcoholic beer for me to try.

However, when I asked what they had to offer for non-alcoholic drinks the waitress said, ‘Um, orange juice?’. #Fail.

I think most places should get on board by offering at least one creative non-alcoholic option, but maybe that’s just me.

Then came the day of the wedding and the morning in the bridal suite. At past weddings, the hours leading up to the event usually consisted of bottomless mimosas while getting hair and makeup done. And if I’m frank, Prosecco and mimosas are one of the drinks I miss the most. But, I powered through with making myself a ‘nomosa’ with ginger ale and orange juice – not a poor substitute.

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So, I had the non-alcoholic version of my drink on hand, and that helped to take the edge off. But here’s a what occurred to me about ‘taking the edge off’ while venturing through the events of the big day, sans liquor; there was NO edge to take off. Navigating a tight schedule of hair, makeup, ironing, photo-taking, and standing here and there and here again — was infinitely less stressful being a) not hungover from the rehearsal dinner and b) not being at least two sheets to the wind before the event even kicked off.

Attending a wedding sober or the first time in two decades – how did I survive? #alcoholfree #soberlife Click To Tweet

You’re probably not that shocked by this discovery, but for me, it was the first time I was able to step back and realise how much less hassle and stress ensues when we have a lucid (well, er, sober at least) mind. I like to call these my, “Bob Ross moments”.

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One of the things I have noticed as I’ve navigated social events over the past 16 months of no alcohol is that being around people who are drunk when you’re not is a lot of work. Between people saying nonsensical things to you and hearing the same commentary three times in ten minutes from somebody whom you’ve never spoken within your life, you begin to feel mentally drunk too.

So, when all is said and done, my years-long assessment of the emotional energy at weddings is still pretty true regardless of being sober. While my sister’s wedding was a joyous and beautiful event, there were definitely moments of people being dramatic, snipping at each other, and spending 50% of the night standing in a line – either the bar or the toilets. I managed to cut that line standing time down to 25% which enabled me to have more time to dance to the Spice Girls with my mom and sister-in-law and catch up with family I hadn’t seen in almost 5 years.

7 tips for surviving a wedding while sober #soberliving #noalcohol #nowinenoproblem Click To Tweet

Also, ginger ale and pink grapefruit juice with a couple of slices of lime is a delightful beverage. In fact, I have included this drink suggestion in my ‘tips for surviving a wedding sober’ (Pin it, go on!)

7 tips for surviving a wedding sober _ erin's life bites

Have you ever attended a wedding sober? Do you like weddings? Am I weird for not being a fan of them? Let’s chat!

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How To Fake a Rum and Coke

non alcoholic rum and coke + mocktail

There is a divide in the non-drinking community where some people believe that drinking mocktails and zero alcohol beers, wines and spirits is counter-productive to abstainig from alcohol.

I disagree. Some people genuinely like mixology or the taste of beer. Back in my twenties, I used to watch my father nurse a six-pack of Odoul’s Beer over the summer and not get it.
“What’s the point in drinking a beer with no alcohol?” To which my father would reply, “I like the taste of beer, but I don’t like the effects of alcohol.”

Fast-forward about a decade and I totally see where he was coming from. Where I can understand people being concerned about the cognitive associations between a zero alcohol glass of Chardonnay, I can also understand that some people like the taste of a drink but not its side effects.

Okay, now that we’ve scratched that surface – on to today’s post; How to fake a Rum and Coke.

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How to fake a Rum & Coke

First, a public service announcement: I drink sugar-free beverages – or as they say here in Scotland, ‘fizzy drinks’ – so if that’s not your thing, you might not like this. However, I had my husband, who rarely enjoys drinking soda or anything other than water, try this the other night, and he thought it was quite tasty.

This drink recipe requires only two ingredients, contains no alcohol and is even sugar-free (though you could use regular cola if you so choose!).

Are you ready for the secret ingredients?

  1. Jordan’s Skinny Syrup in the flavour Cinnamon Vanilla.
  2. Coke Zero (or regular, again, if you prefer!).
Do you love Rum & Coke but can't drink alcohol? Check out this post on how to 'fake' a Rum & Coke! #alcoholfree #sober #noalcohol #mocktail Click To Tweet

Jordan’s Skinny Syrups are my jam. I absolutely love them.

I have always loved blended coffee drinks, and sweet protein shakes. One thing I have struggled with now that I live in the UK is they don’t have coffee creamers. In America, you can get SO many flavoured coffee creamers, it borders on obsession. I love creamers and so Jordan’s Skinny Syrups are a fantastic alternative for making sweet drinks and snacks.

[Pin this recipe for later]

Internal Photo credits: Google

Back in my real Rum & Coke drinking days, I loved Bacardi Razz, so I experimented with Pepsi Max Raspberry with the Jordan’s Skinny Cinnamon and Vanilla syrup and it was, well…

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So, if you’re a fan of Rum and Cokes and you don’t want to feel like you’re missing out this summer, give this one a try. Don’t forget to share it and follow me on social media!

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Repairing Health After Alcohol

Repairing your health after alcohol erin's life bites

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

-Jim Rohn

So, maybe you’re taking a break from drinking or decided to give it up for good – whatever the duration or reason there are some lifestyle adjustments that can be made to maximise the break to your mind, body and soul.

Steps for Repairing Health After Eliminating Alcohol

  1. DRINK MORE WATER. Even if you are a religious drinker of water throughout the day, after kicking the sauce, you are going to want to switch to water and make sure that you stay hydrated and flush the body out by consuming a litre or more (6-8 glasses) of H2O each day.
  2. INCORPORATE VITAMINS AND MINERALS DAILY. Alcohol consumption inhibits the body’s ability to fully absorb all of the nutrients it needs, so a great habit would be to incorporate a multivitamin and B Vitamin regimen daily. Many vitamin supplements these days include all the essentials (including B complex), antioxidants and probiotics. An excellent all-in-one to check out is the Complete Multivitamin Complex by Bulk Powders.
  3. EAT A BALANCED DIET. I don’t know about you, but even though I tried my best to eat a healthy diet when I was a drinker, I cannot deny that after a few glasses of wine I would automatically want crisps, pizza or chocolate. Drinking screws with our insulin and hunger regulation and therefore we can feel like we have no control over the food choices we make while on a night out — or through a hangover. Incorporating a diet full of balanced whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, whole grains and beans will help to regulate blood sugar, meet nutrient requirements and help to create usable energy the body can access throughout the day.
  4. LIMIT REFINED SUGAR. Many people increase the amount of sugar and sweets they eat after they quit alcohol (as well as after quitting smoking). Sugar can have the same effect on our brains as drinking can as the same response of dopamine release occurs when we consume sugar just as when we drink alcohol – especially when paired with a conditional habitual response pattern. Even if sweets are convenient and help to keep you from ordering a glass of chardonnay, the better choice would be a piece of fruit or a handful of almonds (which are fabulous for liver health, btw).
  5. GET A DEFICIENCY SCREENING. If you’ve been a regular drinker – or what would classify as a heavy drinker, you may have been missing out on the absorption of vital nutrients. A nutritional professional can help screen for any deficiencies that you may have to determine the best course of action for your dietary needs going forward.
  6. REJUVENATE YOUR LIVER. The liver takes a beating throughout our lives as it serves as a filtration system of toxins, metabolises drugs, and makes essential proteins required for many vital bodily functions. After making a lifestyle change, such as eliminating alcohol, it is a good idea to focus on rejuvenating your liver by choosing a balanced, whole foods diet that includes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. So, to get started, here are some foods you can include in your diet today are carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, almonds, and oats.
  7. GET EXERCISE. Regular exercise helps the body by promoting lung, kidney, intestinal, and overall immune system health which all support the body’s efficient natural detoxification processes. Aside from the physical health benefits of a fitness routine, exercise helps to produce endorphins which can help reduce anxiety and depression. If the root cause of your alcohol habit was stress or response to stressful events, finding healthier strategies to cope with these feelings will encourage positive behaviours and better health choices overall. Check out my free eBook for jump-starting fitness as well as my workouts for free guidance on how to get (and stay) fit!

And in case you need a reminder of how you can work on repairing health after alcohol, I have created this handy-dandy infographic. Be sure to pin this graphic and share with friends and family or anybody who may be looking for ways to start repairing their health after eliminating alcohol from their lifestyle.

Have you recently eliminated alcohol from your life? Check out these 7 tips for repairing your health after alcohol. #alcoholfree #soberlife #sobrietytools Click To Tweet

These tips are great for anyone looking to take charge of their health – knowledge is power and you do have the power to change your life mind, body and soul.