I grew up in Kelowna BC - sounds beautiful, I know - but that's not quite how I remember it. From a very young age my mother (and most of my family) had very addictive tendencies. I'm not talking a bottle of champagne on a birthday either, I'm talking about pee your pants drunk and going missing for days/weeks on end.
Growing up I liked to think that the apple actually DID fall far from the tree. Even though I had grown up in foster care and had been "in the system" since day 1 I liked to think I was different. Different because I was brought up in a way I knew I would never impose onto someone else. Fast forward about 10 years (last year) when I began to notice how habitual partying had become in my and my friends' lives. We were all exhausted, we had no social skills without booze, and our self-confidence ... well, what self-confidence.
At that point in my life I knew personally that I wanted to step back from drinking and that's when I found out just how difficult that really is. Not just because of my own habitualness or family blood line, but because our entire world is catering to a life surrounded by alcohol. You go to a restaurant and the first thing mentioned is whether you want a drink and unfortunately your response dictates what type of service you're going to get. Not to mention trying to go out to the bar and only being offered fountain pop and grenadine (eye roll).
All of this personal experimentation about how I felt and how I was treated when I went out as a non-drinker REALLY brought some clarity to my eyes. No wonder people relapse and no wonder people fall under pressure. We legit have NOTHING in place that is promoting a healthier option (Budweiser Prohibition doesn't count either, it's gross and has a high calorie count). So I began to look for non-alcoholic options myself.
I wanted to pan through all the crappy tasting drinks and find out where the gold was hidden, because there's no way that I'm the only person who has been feeling this way. I came across the world's FIRST distilled non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip. This opened my eyes to a world of products and people I had zero connection to before. From there I began my journey of finding the WORLD'S best non-alcoholic beverages with the intention to import (almost none are in Canada) and distruibute them into bars and restaurants in Canada.
Now I know that this project isn't going to save my mother, in fact I've had to cut off ties because she's furious at me for advertising change. But what I AM hoping comes from this is conversation about harm reduction, community support for young addicts, and healthy options in Canadian establishments. It's inevitable that young adults are going to experiment, in fact we've set them up to do just that so there's actually no avoiding it. What we CAN do is create a space that is fun, educational, and filled with delicious drinks. So that WHEN these young adults are bombarded (because yes that's what it is) with peer pressure questions they will have the knowledge, the community, and (most importantly) the OPTION to choose otherwise.
I don't know about you but I don't want the next generations to deal with addicton in the ways we've had to. It's brutal, it's embarrassing (or at least you're told it is) and it's not very fun. It is our RESPONSIBILITY as adults to analyze how our lives have been and then adjust accordingly. And that's why I created Sober Saturdayz, to host events, educate on harm reduction, and have a delicous experience while we're at it. Don't believe me, ask the Collective yourself!