Suchej únor’ or ‘Dry February’ in Prague

I’ve known about these ‘dry’ months for a few years now as some of my friends have done them as a way to check in on their own alcohol consumption. Funny thing, I never did that in the past. I figured I couldn’t handle it. Even the shortest month of the year seemed too long. I had too many events each month or travel would be my reason to not take on the challenge. For me, it was all or nothing, so over two years later, I am still not drinking.

Even though I am sober today, I would say that the biggest advantages of ‘Dry February’, is people might start to think more about why and how they drink. It can also be a really great opportunity to see oneself in a different light and discover other ways to have fun. It took me a long time to figure out how to bond with people without going out for a drink.

I’ve blogged before that the Czech Republic is not an easy place to get sober. So I was really pleased when I came across this pop up event in Prague that was highlighting more interesting non-alcoholic drinks. One of the worst parts of getting sober is feeling dull and nothing feels more dull than having a water or soda while everyone else is having a glass of wine or something else special. If I’m going to spend two times more money on a glass of wine or beer, I want something really good.  Czech restaurants serve a homemade lemonade (domácí limonády), but you have to be careful as it varies drastically from place to place what it will taste like (and it is not the American style lemonade).  Many are just sparkling water with some sort of sweet syrup mixed in and taste like crap. However, there are some really great limonády made from fruit, cucumber, ginger, and sage just to name a few. I’ve thought often of doing a ‘lemonade crawl’ to replace the ‘pub crawl’ tours for those who people that can’t or don’t want to drink alcohol.

Friday, my husband, Michal, and I went over to the Karlin neighborhood in search of this pop-up event serving only non-alcoholic beverages. The rented space was nicely set up and every seat was taken up with relaxed young people.  It was a really pleasant atmosphere where people were actually speaking at decent decibels and not shouting and laughing obnoxiously too loud.

The organizers were very nice to come over and describe the reasons behind the event and how the spirits without alcohol were produced. Michal, being a chemist, was particularly interested in the chemical process. Besides the fact that the drinks were so expensive, he was thinking of how he could produce his own flavors and we could get rich too. Their reason for the high prices was all the processes required to take out the alcohol.

For someone in recovery, I did feel it is similar to the decision on whether or not to drink a non-alcoholic beer. Having a Mocktail or non-alcoholic beer can be a sort of trigger to the desire to want something stronger. It can be tricking the brain into ‘needing’ a drink to cover the discomfort some social settings. It definitely caused me to think more about whether I would recommend this to others in recovery. Especially with the spirit are meant to mimic the taste of gin, rum, and vodka served in those pretty and very tempting glasses. But for everyone else, I think it’s a great way to have another drink without pushing the limits.

Even though the pop-up event is over, you can taste these spirits without alcohol at the Hemingway Bar in Old Town and I expect other bars will serve them too.

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