It’s freakin’ Matcha Week! If you read part 1 of my interview with Sarah Holloway from Matcha Maiden you would know that Sarah is a mega #girlboss with the whole social media world in the palm of her hands.
You would also know that we met on a blind date and chatted for hours about all things to do with life, love and business.
During our loquacious flurry my non drinking came up and I was surprised to learn that she was a soberina too – for much different (but still valid) reasons than I.
Here in part 2 Sarah tells us her experience with being sober, how she lives a kickass life sans the booze and why she gets even wilder on the dance floor than your average twerker.
Oh, and also, Stay tuned for Raw White Chocolate Matcha Maiden Cashew Clusters!
So just like me, you gave up drinking! Why did you give up drinking and how did giving up change your life?
I gave up drinking about 3 years ago now because I have a sulfa allergy (and I was a lightweight to begin with so let’s just say the world is a better place without me and alcohol). I had always known about the allergy but it had never manifested itself so regularly, but I guess some allergies intensify as you get older while others fade away. I had never experienced hangovers before but suddenly started to suffer from them for up to a week. This advanced to hangover like symptoms for days even after a sole cocktail or wine at dinner. I pushed through for a while in complete denial about the whole thing and since I was at uni, writing off a few days wasn’t a big deal. But then I started full time work and couldn’t afford that level of physical discomfort so regularly so I decided before NYE 2012 to draw a line in the sand and I haven’t looked back!
It has definitely been life changing and it’s a change for the better. I have felt a thousand times better and I can now enjoy my weekends – yep, proud to say I have reacquainted myself with Saturday and Sunday mornings which I didn’t see (other than from the night-before end of the day before) for many years. It has led to other lifestyle changes too which some would call a burden but which I think have been positive. I go out a lot less, get a lot more sleep, make healthier choices when I’m out, have far less embarrassing moments and have a healthier bank balance – it’s a win/win situation! Having said that, I don’t regret having enjoyed a few drunken weekends/months/years… I didn’t stop drinking for moral reasons (which has made the lifestyle change easier), and definitely enjoyed my young partying days and look back on them fondly. I don’t judge anyone who continues to drink either (in moderation) – it was just personally a good time for me to stop and a necessary lifestyle change.[line] [pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]What has surprised me is how much pressure people apply to you to join them and how much they find it hard to respect your decision not to do so.[/pullquote] [line]
How was it changing your lifestyle around alcohol?
It was much easier than I thought it would be and I have to say a big part of that was because it was allergy-driven. It meant that people around me didn’t pester me as much about it. It’s a little bit sad sometimes to see how much our lives revolve around drinking and I didn’t notice it so much until I stopped. I don’t have any issue with people enjoying a good drink at all, I used to enjoy one myself (VERY much). What has surprised me is how much pressure people apply to you to join them and how much they find it hard to respect your decision not to do so.
I don’t usually bother explaining the allergy thing to start off with and people get so unreasonably annoyed at you deciding not to drink. It’s like they feel you can’t properly have fun or they feel that you’re judging them for drinking if you don’t, which is absolutely not the case. I’ve been alarmed at how much people try to encourage you to drink even after you politely decline. The allergy has made it much easier as people can sympathize then with “how terrible that would be for you” and “you poor thing, it’s not your fault”. I’m not one to care much what people think anyway, but it’s just surprising how much people are bothered by non-drinkers.
[line] [pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]I love meeting people and find talking quite easy so I’ve never needed a drink to “take the edge off”. [/pullquote] [line]
How do you deal socially with not drinking alcohol in a corporate situation?
Again, similar to my answer above, it’s just easier to explain the allergy so it’s 100% clear that I’m not doing it for moral reasons and am not judging anyone else around me who is drinking. I don’t think it should have to be that way, if I don’t want to drink just because I don’t want to then that should be the end of it. Sadly, it’s not! But discussing the reason why I stopped and explaining the back story helps to ensure that I’m not excluded from anything on the basis of being a non-drinker.
Friday night drinks aren’t quite the same if you’re not a drinker, but if you’re a would-be drinker, they’ll still invite you! The other good tactic is to nurse a soda water with lime for the night – no-one will ever know it’s not a vodka, lime & soda! On a personal level, it doesn’t bother me whatsoever. I love meeting people and find talking quite easy so I’ve never needed a drink to “take the edge off”. I find not drinking is a total non-event until someone else makes a big deal about it, and then I’ve got the spiel prepared so it all goes smoothly these days.[line] [pullquote width=”600″ float=”left”]I LOVE me a dance floor – music is enough for me (all my friends can vouch for that), and I’ll often appear the most drunk of anyone because I get so high on life sometimes. It’s a bit ridiculous.[/pullquote] [line]
Do you manage to live a fully happy life without alcohol?
I think I live a much fuller happier life without alcohol because I remember more of it! Being healthier means being happier and having more energy and vitality to do the things I enjoy. I still go out and I LOVE me a dance floor – music is enough for me (all my friends can vouch for that), and I’ll often appear the most drunk of anyone because I get so high on life sometimes. It’s a bit ridiculous. So it hasn’t stopped me from doing anything I want to do. It does mean I have less fuel to stay out later, but nothing good ever happens after 2am anyway so I’m not missing much by leaving a bit earlier than I would have in the past. When the environment and vibe is energetic and exciting, alcohol is completely unnecessary for me so whether it’s during the day or out at night, I don’t miss it at all.
Do you find it hard to have fun without alcohol?
Not at all – see above! I have FAR more fun without alcohol because I can stand up (yep, I was a bit of a flopsy, lean-y drinker – also very fun but not as classy).
[line] [pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]It has allowed me to fully enjoy my weekends, exercise more, start a health food business, and just feel generally better.[/pullquote] [line]
How has not drinking enabled you to do other things?
As I mentioned, I am just immeasurably more healthy and energetic particularly on weekends and it has allowed me to squeeze so much more life into my days. I used to feel so horrible after drinking and now I never experience that awful nausea and head spin, so it has allowed me to fully enjoy my weekends, exercise more, start a health food business, and just feel generally better.
What’s your favourite thing to drink (apart from Matcha Maiden)?
Fresh coconut water out of the coconut. My absolute obsession. I got hooked in Bali and Thailand and now I’ll pay exorbitant prices to have the fresh ones at home. I’ve learnt to hack a little lid in them with a knife so it’s authentic too! So delicious! You’ve never seen a more devastated face than mine when they’re not available!!