Members’ best ideas


Today’s post is a bit different. We have been running lots of different workshops in January (this was written in January 2015!), both for Club Soda members and for other people. And there’s been a lot of chatter on our website and on Facebook. So we thought we should gather together some of the best tips, tricks, and other ideas that people have come up.

Survival kits

Let’s look at what people have been putting in their survival kits. We have some quick wins, or five to twenty minute distractions, first:

  • Healthy snacks
  • Hot drinks (hot chocolate, coffee, herbal teas, …)
  • Meditation/prayer beads
  • Sorting out the laundry, re-organising a bookshelf
  • Cleaning or any other housework
  • Do 20 push-ups!
  • Just move! (to a different room, go outside, …)
  • Have a cigarette or vape (even puffing on an empty e-cigarette may work!)
  • Lozenges/mints for a “big” taste
  • Have a shower
  • Go shopping, or just browsing or window shopping
  • Go for a walk
  • Do some yoga
  • Cook a nice meal
  • Bake a cake
  • Rowing machine or other exercise
  • Find and watch a TED talk, listen to a podcast or Desert Island Disks on iPlayer
  • Write a blog post, diary, journal, update Club Soda progress …
  • Play a mind game
  • Read one chapter of a book
  • Pampering (hot bath is always a favourite!)
  • Google a mocktail recipe and make it
  • Call a friend
  • Walk home via a different route
  • Learn a bit of a foreign language using an app (DuoLingo)
  • Cut the lawn (a seasonal one, this!)
  • Adult colouring books to relax in the evening! Got myself some glittery gel pens and pictures of mandalas and other cool swirly patterns and I happily sit there making sure I don’t go over the lines. My Mum got me into it as a way of relaxing. Would recommend!
  • I’ve quaffed a lump of Stilton with half a pack of Jacobs crackers whilst waiting for the rib of beef to cook and have chocolate mousse (Tesco finest) for later.
  • Check out FutureLearn and Coursera for free university level online courses. I have done several and the quality is really good.

And people also have some month-long binges: longer-term goals they want to reach during their MOB, or bigger rewards:

  • Go to the gym regularly, get fit
  • Finish a half-marathon!
  • Stop smoking too
  • Save enough money to buy something big
  • Weekend away in February
  • Buy a new handbag.

Non-alcoholic drinks

An ever-popular topic: what to drink instead? There’s been a lot of debate on the merits of all the different non-alcoholic beers now available. Beck’s Blue always divides opinion: some give it the thumbs up, some other disagree. But it is perhaps the most widely available one, so often the only choice in the pub. Bavaria 0.0% was “highly recommended” by one member. Whereas this is not a recommendation: “Now I’ve never actually tried drinking cold dishwater, however I think that the Kaliber I had in the pub tonight might be close!”

Brewdog’s Nanny State has many supporters: “lovely, hoppy stuff. More of a real ale than the usual AF lagers. Only downside for me is no info on its calories” and “it’s not sweet and I hate sweet beers. It reminds me of a cross between grapefruit and Guinness lol. It looks like a proper beer too. Yes, a winner for me!” or even “bloody good stuff”.

Another popular one is Erdinger: “in my glass now and is LUSH! It is so good that it does feel a bit like cheating”, “I love the Erdinger – of course I may just prefer Erdinger because it’s the biggest! Old habits die hard :)”, “gets my vote”.

The Guardian also did a very timely review of some 0% beers.


Some members tried wines and ciders. Eisberg non-alcoholic white wine didn’t exactly get a glowing review from one taster: “doesn’t taste too bad but more like fruit juice than wine!”. And there was even worse: “Found an alcohol-free Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, it *is* as revolting as it sounds.” Kopparberg ciders did a little better: “a tad sweet for me but not bad! [pear flavour]”, “I had the Strawberry and lime last night, sweet but pleasant“, “Tried them both however, I don’t have a sweet tooth and found them way too sweet for me“.

Here are some other drink ideas:

  • I found that Sainsbury’s alcohol-free sparkling white wine when mixed with sparkling water makes a pretty decent substitute for a white wine spritzer
  • My Uncle introduced me to the idea of ginger beer and tonic water, which sounds revolting but is really quite nice. The tonic water takes the sweet taste away.
  • Robinson’s pink grapefruit squash with fizzy water is rather yummy! Also it’s pink so looks quite fancy in the glass!
  • I bought myself a soda stream to make sparkling water because I use so much of it! It saves on the plastic wastage too! Win win!
  • Liquorice tea
  • Fever-tree ginger beer (“great – a real kick!”)
  • Belvoir cordials. Keep in the fridge though as they go mouldy as not enough crap in them!
  • Appetizer and pomegranate – lovely.

What to say when not drinking?

Another frequent discussion point: what to say when you get asked why you’re not drinking? Often just saying that you’re doing a Dry January (or have gone Sober for October) is enough – who wants to argue with raising money for charity after all? But sometimes that’s not enough – or they may even be a month without a “dry/sober” campaign. What then? Here are some ideas that we’ve heard:

  • I’m giving my liver a break!
  • Just fancied a break. Or: Just fancied a bit of change.
  • I’m on a paleo diet, and they didn’t have cocktails in prehistoric days!
  • I’ve got lots to do tomorrow, so I can’t afford it.
  • A gentleman on Facebook said he always says “I’m pregnant” and rarely has to explain further!

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