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If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you

Updated: Feb 11

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear – you poor deluded fool. No not you dear reader, I’m talking about the foolish individual who thought his opinion was required when I placed my order for a non-alc spritz in my local pub recently.

Why is it that when you reduce your alcohol intake everyone from your mum to the dog-walker feels they need to pass comment on your choice of beverage?

I don’t recall at any time during my (what I like to call) professional drinking days when I had to seek approval from strangers as to how acceptable my drink choice was, and yet now that my choices are for a more positive life it seems that everyone has an opinion on them.

I’ve always been a sociable person (you could argue that was half the problem) and I’ll talk to anyone, especially when I’m stood at a bar – it used to be my happy place and the truth is that even though my drinking habits are different now I still feel very at home in a pub.

Having managed bars, pubs and restaurants for so long I’ve heard pretty much every type of comment you can think of from punters and it’s fair to say I’m not easily offended. And in truth I wasn’t offended by Mr Opinionated either, but it did lead me to wonder just how offended he was by my drink choice – and why?

In truth I should imagine I’ve probably said something similar to other strangers when confronted by their choices to consume their beverages sans alcohol – confronted being the operative word.

Never, back in the day, would I have imagined myself voluntarily entering a watering hole and choosing to have my thirst quenched by anything that didn’t have a decent ABV and I could not get my head around it when anyone else did.

What was that? Was I embarrassed by my inability to go out and have a good time without drinking? Afraid that people would realise I wasn’t quite as sharp and witty as I thought myself to be without a drink in hand? Worried that my ‘friend’ count would go down if I didn’t drink & ‘ahem, party’ with the best of them?

I don’t really know, and maybe I never will. But what I do know is that my choices now are made from a place of strength and confidence that I’ve never really felt in my ‘hay-day’. Don’t get me wrong, I had many a good time and am not one for disparaging my past to strengthen my future, but I am certain that the choices I make now regarding if and when I have a drink are far healthier than at any time in my life.

If that doesn’t sit well with the odd stranger at the bar, if some old ‘friends’ don’t get it, then that’s a definitely a ‘them’ problem.



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