‘Ahhh, that’s better’ – 10 ways to relax without alcohol


When I tell people about my teetotal stint, I am often met with disbelief (not in a good way).  They say things like: ‘But what about Christmas? New Year? Weddings? Nights out?’ etc etc.

But when I press them further, it’s clear that teetotalism doesn’t really baffle them because of Christmas, or weddings.  What they really need is that glass of wine to relax after a long day at work.

I have to say I totally get this.  It’s not often I crave a drink, but when I do it is at random times: a Tuesday evening when I come in from work, or a Sunday afternoon after working on an assignment.  When I’m stressed.  When I just want to relax.

I think what we really crave from alcohol is not a social lubricant, or the ability to dance, but the ‘ahhh, that’s better!’ moment we get from the very first sip. 

But there are other ways to obtain this.  Here are some of my favourite ways to relax without alcohol.

Relax without alcohol #1. Have a bath.

....val la pena di vivere!

You know, the amazing kind: posh M&S bubble bath, lots of candles, a good book, the works. Just try not to, um, set fire to any parts of yourself.

 Relax without alcohol #2. Get lost in your favourite book.

Lunchtime Reader

Even better, combine 1 and 2!

Relax without alcohol #3. Catch up with a good friend over some grub.

frosty chat

Nuff said.

(For more social things to do without alcohol see here)

Relax without alcohol #4. Go for a jog.


Yes, I know, to some this seems as relaxing as pushing drawing pins into your feet. But if you give it a chance, you might find it’s your favourite way to relax after that tough day in the office (preferably not in weather like this).

Relax without alcohol #5. Have a cup of tea.

cafe "Jiboanjiyan" Yanaka, Tokyo

For many, drinking alcohol can become a habit. Getting home = opening a cold one. But conventional wisdom says it takes 30 days to form a new habit. Like Pavlov’s dogs, if you link tea-drinking with relaxation often enough, you will begin to associate the two. (Of course, you might want to replace ‘drinking tea’ with ‘eating chocolate hobnobs’ – whatever your thing is).

Relax without alcohol #6. Get a hobby.

The Artist

What floats your boat? Do you enjoy being creative? Are you good with words? Are you a snooker genius or a darts pro? Getting lost in doing something you enjoy it far more relaxing than alcohol could ever be.

Relax without alcohol #7. Go for a walk


Nothing quite like pounding away those stresses on the pavement and pondering the meaning of life (or what you will have for tea).

Relax without alcohol #8. Sit and breathe

Buddha meditating on a flower, blessed statue wearing a khatag, reaching liberation through meditation, overcoming cognitive obscurations - the Bodhisattva vehicle, Garden for the Buddha, Seattle, Washington, USA

I hesitate to use the word ‘meditate’ – for some this conjures up images of sitting for hours in the lotus position and saying ‘om om om’. I must admit, I struggle with meditation: I have tried it a few times, but my mind is like an unruly puppy and refuses to stay focused on one thing. Nonetheless, meditation is worth a try – just try sitting, calm and still, and keeping your mind focused on your breathing. If done properly, not only is it truly relaxing but it will improve virtually every area of your life. Just try not to put your hip out from crossing your legs for too long.

Relax without alcohol #9. Go out for dinner with your significant other.

Romantic Dinner at The Cliff Bay

Take the person you love out for some good food and meaningful conversation/hilarious banter. Good luck finding a location like the one above, however.

Relax without alcohol #10. Do what couples do once they get home from the romantic dinner. Yeah, you get the idea.

New Picture (30)

So these are just a few ideas. What do you like to do to relax? Feel free to comment below.

(Photo credits from top to bottom: krasi; pinkiwinkitinki; mikecogh; Freelens; onnola; photoantenna; pointin jimmie; Asela; Wonderlane; Porto Bay Trade)

If you liked this you might be interested in 7 Amazing Things You Can Do When You Stop Drinking


7 social things to do without alcohol

Free alcohol...
Photo credit: Nils van der Burg

A strange thing happens when you become an adult.  After 18 years of socialising just fine without a drink in your hand, it suddenly becomes a near impossibility.  As a child, adventure playgrounds, bowling alleys, swimming pools, indoor play areas, magicians, go-carting or simply a few toys provided endless pleasure.

After 18 years of training, you would think socialising would be easy.  And yet virtually no adult activity is completely devoid of alcohol; even most cinemas have a bar, and pitchers of beer are delivered straight to your lane at bowling alleys.  We need it, supposedly: to loosen our tongues, to dance, to simply chat with people we may have known our entire lives.

Why is socialising so difficult without alcohol?

Some might argue that it’s not difficult without alcohol, it’s just better with it.  But is this really so?

Some of the happiest, least inhibited and purely ‘high’ experiences of my life were as a child, running round, ecstatic on life, enjoying myself.  On nothing stronger than juice (and maybe a few high-sugar treats).

I think as adults we can regain this natural high.  If we leave the bar and embrace other social activities, there is a world of fun we might never discover if our only idea of pleasure is a glass of wine or six.

Here are a few ideas for dry social activities:

1. Go to a theme park. 

No need for alcohol when you’re already screaming with laughter (or terror).   Plus beer is not a good idea when there’s a good chance of seeing it again, this time on the way up.

Roller Coaster!
This is fun, honestly. (Photo credit: AJU Photography)

7 great things you can do once you stop drinking

2. Go to a spa.

There is nothing quite as decadent as spending time with your friends (or by yourself) in beautiful surroundings while a professional gives you a massage and brings you cups of coffee. There really is no need for any kind of drug once they’re done with you.

Spas - Hydrotherapy Area
Photo credit: Grand Velas Riviera Maya’s photostream

10 ways to relax without alcohol

3. Go and see a comedian.

I’ve said it before here, and I’ll say it again.  Drinking is just an attempt to inject the same pleasurable chemicals into our brains that we can get from, say, laughing.  The difference between laughing and drinking is that laughing doesn’t make you feel like Black Sabbath are performing to a Wembley crowd in your skull .  (Try and find a comedian that makes you laugh, th0ugh, as opposed to making you laugh at how bad they are).

photo credit: StevenJohnSeller

4. Go-carting.

‘Nuff said.  Do it n0w.

Go cart 1
photo credit: shahero

5. Play football/netball/tiddlywinks/whatever floats your boat.

Playing sport is a great way to get people together, and also gets those endorphins flowing (see a natural high? for more).

photo credit: phalinn

6. Throw a dry dinner party.

Play great music, serve great food, and keep the glasses topped up with Schloer. I guarantee everyone will have a great time.

Dinner Party
photo credit: Lachlan

7. Go walking in the countryside.

Good friends, open air, beautiful countrside, ideally a bit of sunshine. Perfect, right? A good steak pie afterwards doesn’t hurt, either.

Irish countryside near Ballyconnell
photo credit: jimmyharris

So there are just a few ideas to get you started. Please comment below if you have any others.

Good reasons to hate alcohol

I’ve just read a fascinating post about all the reasons to hate alcohol.  Really got me thinking: do I really want to carry on at the end of the two years? There’s not a single point I can argue with, and yet there’s still this nagging voice inside that won’t let me consider permanent teetotalism.  Maybe that will change over the next two years.

Anyway you can read the post here: http://20outof10.blogspot.co.uk/2008/04/i-hate-alcohol.html