Meet Tristan Newsome - Why I don’t drink alcohol anymore

Choosing to drink alcohol-free wine when you live on the doorstep of the Barossa Valley can be a controversial choice. Love for cycling and a desire to improve his health is why Tristan has said no to alcohol over 1 year ago. He is now a wholehearted supporter of alcohol-free drinking. Read his full story and take a page out of his book.

Give us some background on yourself

I'm 37 years old, a keen cyclist, cook and musician. I've been a musician since around 15 yo and have won numerous songwriting awards. I have no human kids but three furry ones - two greyhounds from my time working at the Greyhound Adoption Program and a boxer.

I've had a varied career working mainly in insurance and as a muso. I've jumped around a bit in recent years, trying different things such as working for the Greyhound Adoption Program, a university and currently working at Bike Society in Adelaide.

Why have you decided to move to alcohol-free drinks?

Years of being a musician, keeping very strange hours, binge drinking to catch up with friends after gigs in the early hours of the morning, etc, had taken its toll. I got more and more into cycling, in particular road cycling. That’s where I started to realise that being out till 3 AM then getting up at 6 AM for a ride was not going to be a good time. My health wasn't good and my weight had spiralled too.

I really came to the conclusion that my relationship with alcohol wasn't a healthy one and not something I was able to moderate. Unfortunately my off switch is a bit faulty, so after years of trying to control it, I decided that going completely alcohol free was the best course of action for me. I was ready for it so have been successful and have now been sans booze for nearly a year with no intention of going back.

Having a plethora of tasty alcohol free drink alternatives has made the world of difference and has 100% been a factor in me being able to stop for good.

What were the benefits you gained from lowering or stopping your alcohol intake?

My health has improved majorly! I'm losing weight pretty rapidly, I've still got a little to go to hit my goals but I can feel my strength is a million times better and my heart rate is noticeably lower when exercising.

In addition, my mental health has drastically improved too. Even at those times in the year where I might struggle a little with seasonal depression, I've felt to be on a much more even keel and capable of dealing with things as they arise (what a year to do it in too….). Not wasting weekends in bed, no anxiety feelings and generally just winning more at life has been such an amazing benefit and change for me.

I wish I'd have come to these conclusions earlier!!

Do you still drink alcohol sometimes?

Never, for me alcohol just doesn't work. I sometimes feel a little envious of people who can balance things better and drink a little. Living in Adelaide, with the Barossa Valley on my doorstep, gives me some FOMO but again, there are so many good alcohol-free options coming out in the wine world (all available on Craftzero wine) that it doesn't bother me. Absolutely nothing wrong with people drinking in moderation, or mixing up between non-alcoholic and alcoholic; however for me alcohol free drinks are the way to go.

How have people reacted when you decided to drink alcohol-free beverages?

This varies greatly depending on the context. I tend not to make a big deal of it, the beauty of alcohol-free beers is that people don't even know unless you bring it up or they ask what you're drinking. Questions can range from curious to very peer pressuring but if someone gets pushy about me not drinking, I stick to my guns and tell my story. Generally afterwards they have a better understanding of it and think twice about pushing people into alcohol. Binge drinking and drinking to get drunk is a real cultural problem in Australia. Normalising alcohol-free options and not making people feel pressured about their own choices is something I've really taken on board.

Do you have a partner in sobriety? If yes, who?

My partner, Janita, helps me with it and is supportive of it, however she still drinks. Initially, when I was just starting on this path, she had concerns about drinking around me and worried about how that would make me feel. As we've grown through this, she has realised that her drinking doesn't have any effect on me. I now actually have more fun in social situations not drinking as I'm more in control of what I'm doing, I can think clearer and any nerves and anxiety melt away quickly.

What is your favourite alcohol-free drink?

My daily go-to is the Peroni Libera - it tastes like Peroni but with no booze so win-win!! Other than that, the Upflow Brewing range, with a alcohol-free stout, wheat, Pale Ale and IPA, is amazing. I also enjoy the Brooklyn alcohol-free beer.

Where do you usually enjoy your non-alcoholic drinks? i.e social events, home, after exercise.

All of the above. Nothing better than a cold beer after a hard workout or a good ride. At social events, it's nice to be able to be inconspicuous and enjoy a non-alcoholic drink whilst still holding a bottle of beer or a glass of wine and blending in.

Finally, to whom would you recommend making this choice?

I'd recommend everyone give it a go, or just use it as a balanced choice. The more bars that stock alcohol-free drink options are just going to make this easier for people too. So many people that I've had conversations with have wished for more alcohol-free options at a bar. So that they can have a glass of proper wine or a beer and then have a zero alcohol drink in between, rather than a glass of water. Some nights you just don't feel like drinking, or maybe at a work conference, or other situations where you need to be on the ball - go alcohol-free!! The message, really, is about drinking responsibly - not necessarily quitting completely. For me quitting completely was the right option but if you can drink responsibly keep drinking - just switch it up every now and then!!

Tristan’s has chosen to go alcohol-free for his sports training and to improve his physical and mental health. These are two of the 20 reasons to ditch the booze we talked about earlier this week. Doesn’t matter why you do it, or how often, drinking alcohol free beverages is the right way to change your life for the better.

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Read another inspiring interview: Meet Sarah Connelly from Sober Sommelier

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