“I can enjoy life, me time, parties, social occasions with friends, even raves, without the false influences of alcohol.”
Well, the clue to the contents of this blog really is in the title, my alcohol-free raving weekend. The words ‘alcohol-free' and ‘raving' don’t quite look right when written together do they? Let’s face it, I am sure many people haven't thought about doing such a thing… raving and drinking have always come hand in hand. To be honest it wasn’t something I’d planned, in fact we’d booked the weekend before I decided to embark on my alcohol-free journey. Before taking this trip, I truly wondered if I could get through two days in London with my party friends, raving, drinking, late nights and kid free – I mean come on, this sounds impossible without alcohol, right?!?
We arrive at our lovely friends Paul and Bernadette’s. ‘Casa Linney’ has the best hosts! My usual welcome drink would have been a nice cold glass of prosecco, but they’re aware of my mission and are fully supportive, so we’re all cheers’d with a nice cup of tea. After catching up it was time to get ready for party number one which was held at the very trendy – but not at all pretentious – Putney Pies and The Vault. This is where all the cool cats hang out, and where our good friend and host for the weekend Paul Linney was DJ’ing.
Putney Pies and The Vault
So, Putney Pies fills up quickly with the Pie diners, which are delicious by the way! There is a real eclectic mix of people down there, the young ‘uns, the quirky’s, the old muso types and even club night and DJ reviewers House Culture (who’d come especially to do a write up on Paul). They were all there to enjoy a night of good quality house music with a warm and friendly vibe, the atmosphere was second to none. I sat with my Diet Coke, then water, then another Diet Coke, and the evening past quickly as I chatted and people watched and danced the night away, I didn’t even notice the lack of alcohol!
We get home at 1am, shattered from the long day travelling and sore feet from all the dancing, ending it with a nice cuppa Yorkshire tea and an early-ish night at 2am. Not bad for a tee totaller!
After a great sleep (7 hours) we join our lovely hosts for breakfast, then out to Windsor Park for a hangover free dog walk with the most obedient Rottweiler I know. He dog smiled all the way round the park with his lifelong companion, and slightly demented friend Yuki. The walk was fresh, invigorating and something I would absolutely NOT have even considered doing with a hangover. Had I been hungover it would have been a day in bed with a cup of tea and my duvet fully wrapped round me and don’t expect to talk to me let alone see me until at least 5pm… It made me feel amazing and already finding the not drinking 100% worth it.
Erick – as in Morillo – well this was never part of my birthday weekend plan. By chance it popped up on FB that he was playing on the Saturday. Anyone who knows me knows that Erick is my favourite DJ (apart from Paul of course) and one of the best nights on my favourite island Ibiza is Ants and they were taking their show on the road to Printworks, an iconic London venue.
It was 4pm and although I’m not hungover, I was tired from the day before’s travelling and partying and the morning’s countryside walk, topped with the fact that it was bloody freezing and wet – remember we live in the warm climates of Spain’s Costa Blanca – so prancing about in rave gear in the cold at the age of 42 all of a sudden seemed like a ridiculous idea! But, I’m nothing if not stubborn and we’d committed, so off we go me and the hubby. Sat on the tube barely saying a word to each other, thinking of the nice Chinese that Bernadette was having back at theirs, in the warm, topped with the fact that I couldn’t even have wine to get me in the mood or quite frankly through this awful idea was really starting to take its toll! Two hours of trains and tubes later we arrive at Canada Water, with stewards pointing us in the right direction – it dawns on us that this is a big event, not sure why I thought this would be a dirty little rave somewhere, nope, 5,000 people does not constitute little!
But all of a sudden, we’re in, and we’ve paid so we may as well wait and see Erick’s set. We enter into the cattle market, and we suddenly realise what 5,000 people in not too big a space looks like. But we won’t be defeated! I came to see Erick, so I was going to see Erick! Right Dave, let’s go to the front. My poor suffering husband, who has been a huge support, who not only agreed but actually volunteered, to join me in my alcohol-free raving, looks terrified as I dump my red bull, grab his hand and push through the tightly packed crowd to get my spot to see the man himself. Now here are where the joys of not boozing come in to their own while pushing past all the pretty little things and their muscle bound boyfriends out of the way I have an air of determination and ‘don’t mess’ about me, but most people were that out of it that it was fairly easy to get them to move along and get our spot at the front and dance away to the DJ god that is Erick Morillo. I mean the energy that Erick delivers is unbelievable, you simply don’t need booze. He’s electric, incredible, amazing tunes had me dancing all the way through his hour and half long set. Can you tell I’m his number one fan?!?
After Erick we sneak in to the VIP area – joys of being old and sober I guess they must have thought we worked there! We watched the young cattle market dance to the hard beats of Richy Ahmed and decided our time there was done. Good effort though, 9pm… Ha ha… Did someone say After Party? Yes, I was delusional enough to have bought tickets but pre-AF this would have been me, never knowing when the party was over and always the last one standing. Not now though, we were hot footing it to the train station hoping my clickety Dorothy raving trainers would respond to ‘there’s no place like home…’ We get back around 11pm, as you can imagine we saw a fair few sights on the train journey home, and we couldn’t help thinking wow, is that what we used to look like?!? Another nice cuppa Yorkshire Tea and an early night for us.
So, the weekend ended on a perfect high of food and drink (non-alcoholic) and great company. I’d like to say it’s been bearable, but it hasn’t, it’s been so much more, I feel empowered for getting through 2 days of raving, 2 days of child free time, 2 days of me time which before would have been just 2 days of getting pissed and thinking I was having a good time. I can safely, and soberly, say I 100% had an amazing time. The best bit was coming home to Spain on Sunday to my lovely girls, refreshed, present, energised and hitting Monday knowing I have no limits. I can enjoy life, me time, parties, social occasions with friends, even raves, without the false influences of alcohol.
An entrepreneur and former senior oil broker, Ruari gave up drinking after excessive consumption almost cost him his marriage, and worse, his life. Going alcohol-free improved his relationships, career and energy levels, leading to him founding OYNB to provide a support network for others.