I, like many people, overindulge during the long and hectic Halloween-to-Christmas months and then like to hibernate in January/Feb to reset (and undo some lifestyle damage). I don’t really opt into NA drinks except when friends are over and they are drinking because then I want to feel like I’m on the same plane with them. While all “experts” agree that abstaining from alcohol completely is best for your health, with “moderation” coming in second, for some of us (ahem, me) I find that moderation isn’t my strength, and restricting myself with boundaries and discipline is an enjoyable and effective way to reset after the holidays. Last year, I was fully dry in January (fine, barring one moderate night with my MIL while Brian was out of town for 10 days) and y’all I found that with the right tools (delicious soups, good books, baths, some gummies, the sauna blanket, a lot of yoga, walks, and some NA drinks) I actually really enjoy and indulge in the reset. I want to be clear, being strict about most things isn’t necessary and is a specific personality type, of which I fall into – it is more of a personality flaw, but one that I have learned to manage in a healthy way. In the name of finding some substitutes (mostly on the weekends should we have people over), I tried all of the above. And while more has come out in the last year I figured I’d share which ones were my favorites.
I didn’t mind most of these, but the No Mo Hazy IPA was hands down our favorite. I actually continued drinking these through spring even when I was back to having drinks on the weekends (a fun hack is to go back and forth between normal beer and NA beer, especially through long day drinking bbq days). I did reach out to one of my best parasocial friends, Dax Shepherd to see if I could get some Ted Segers sent my way but they were out, (Dax and Best Friend Aaron Weakley just created this NA beer that is meant to be awesome).
5. Recess Mood Magnesium Supplement Drink Calming Beverage | 6. Giesen Dealcoholized Sauvignon Blanc | 7. Leitz – Zero Point Five Non-Alcoholic Pinot Noir | 8. Greenbar Distillery Organic NA Un Gin + Tonic | 9. Leitz – Eins Zwei Zero Rose Can
I really loved the Leitz brand and that sparkling rose was delicious, with Recess coming in second. One of my closest friends who is solidly sober was so impressed with the Leitz brand drinks and took a photo of it so he could buy it back in his hometown. And if I’m being totally honest a diet tonic with a splash of grapefruit juice is my favorite NA drink, with a kombucha on ice coming in second. I have tried the NA spirits, and many do taste good but I don’t know – having a faux old-fashioned is only fun if you are at a party, but at home, I found myself not wanting it.
Most nights I opt for a long weighted walk around 6 pm and any desire for a glass of wine is deleted. Then after the kids are down I make a hot tea, sit in the sauna blanket, or chew on 3 MG of an indica gummy and take a bath with my romance novel. It’s legal here by the way and while I absolutely do not like being stoned, I have found that taking a very very small dosage sends me to sleep with zero of the negative side effects (munchies, paranoia, anxiety). Now, if/when I’ve accidentally upped to 5MG (which is 1/2 of a gummy) I will eat the entire carton of ice cream or a bag of Doritos – SO DELICIOUS. I’m only saying this as someone who formerly HATED weed and I still do not want to get truly stoned, like ever again. It’s clear that my body chemistry doesn’t feel compatible with it, but during lockdown, Brian and I experimented very slowly and in tiny doses and found strains that simply helped me relax at night in a healthy, moderate way. To be honest, I think there should be way more laws around it and I wish there weren’t a dispensary on every corner in Oregon. But I feel that nibbling on a gummy is a really nice alternative to a glass of wine and is totally harmless (and is a positive in my life). However, speaking from experience I only imbibe after the kids are down – I tried it before dinner a couple of times and let’s just say putting the kids down felt so long and hard as they “needed my attention” and “didn’t listen” (aka they were totally harshing my buzz!!).
For me, it’s all about replacing the bad habits with the good and in my late 30s (6 years ago when the kids were both toddlers and I felt like I was drowning). I found that consciously opting for a healthy fun thing to do to replace the wine was actually really lovely and totally doable. We all have our tools and mine are podcasts while cooking cozy soups, reading romance novels while taking a bath with or without nibbling a gummy.
Anyone else have any rec or fun new habits you’ve adopted??
*Photos by Kaitlin Green