Say no to “beer pressure”

19 May 2019 | Columns

Gerine Hoff

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how more and more people are getting on the no-spend bandwagon. Or rather, only spending money on the most essential items.

Not long afterwards, I read an article about a bar in Brooklyn, New York. What makes this bar different from others is that it is totally alcohol-free.

What, you may ask, are the parallels between not spending money other than on essentials and a non-alcoholic bar?

Simply, both are better for your wallet and the latter is most certainly better for your health.

But back to the bar.

A bar without booze may sound like an oxymoron. According to the article’s author, in world cities like New York and London, an alcohol-free nightlife option can appeal to people who would prefer not to drink. And yes, as surprising as it may sound to us Namibians, there are non-drinkers out there!

Even more surprising is that alcohol-free bars aren’t a new concept. In actual fact, in the late 19th century, a number of alcohol-free bars (called temperance bars) already existed in the UK.

For many of us, drinks are a way to unwind after a hectic day, to relax with friends and take a load off. That’s the social side of things. Unfortunately, there is a much darker side too.

Being in the news industry, we get a police report every week and it never ceases to shock me how many crimes begin in bars, drinking holes, night clubs, shebeens – call it what you want. After a few drinks, a quarrel between lovers turns deadly; brothers begin arguing about who had the longest pull on the last cigarette; a driver gets into his car, causes an accident and kills innocents; a man follows a woman home and rapes her along the way.

The list is endless. Every week. Week after week.

This alone should encourage people not to grab the closest cold one.

In terms of health benefits of not drinking alcohol, the internet is full of testimonies of how much better teetotallers feel.

One awesome example is the One Year No Beer (OYNB) alcohol-free challenge. It even has its own website. Founders Andy Ramage and Ruari Fairbairns say their team has helped tens of thousands of people create a healthier relationship with alcohol.

They also say that it’s not just a lack of hangovers that bring hangers on: A recent survey among OYNB members showed that 58% on the 90-day challenge said they’d lost weight, 76% said they had more energy, 78% said they were more productive and 80% said they slept better.

According to their website, a major reason for OYNB’s success is developing a more positive and proactive mindset about going alcohol-free and making the most of the time, money and energy you’ll have as a result. Another reason is that it forces people to question habits that have become ingrained into their daily routines – like having a drink to unwind at the end of the day.

So, while a “drink optional” attitude may not yet be the default, perhaps it is time to make a life-altering decision.

Are you up to it?