No. 6 - The Perfectly Imperfect, Erik Fellers
What’s your occupation?
This happens to be a great question given the current situation and the uncertainty of the restaurant industry do to the Covid-19 pandemic. So to answer, I’m in restaurant management. I’ve been everything from a host and server to a General Manager throughout my hospitality career.
What are your hobbies?
Though I don’t do it nearly as often as I like, I do drawings using the stippling technique (all dots). But I also shoot pool and have even made it to the amateur national tournament in Vegas having won my region's first-place spot.
What’s a quote you live by??
I’m perfectly imperfect and I’m perfectly fine being imperfect.
What’s your favorite way to celebrate?
(Movie theater, cooking, etc) A really nice dinner out. I love an amazing steak house, though my taste may vary at the moment.
What inspired your recovery journey?
Short answer, my daughter. I’m not sure if I would have made it without keeping the thought of her in my mind. I needed my love for her until I could learn to love myself.
What’s the typical response people have when you tell them you don’t drink? I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the sheer lack of negative responses. I will say I’ve had a couple of people feel the need to not drink around me, but I encourage them to do as they normally would. Being a recovered alcoholic, I am fully aware that even open-minded people can have a hard time completely erasing all doubts and stigmas.
What’s the most unique thing someone has said to you after you told them you don’t drink?
Though not unique, as there hasn’t been any, I would say my favorite is always “That’s awesome, good for you!” That’s when I know that person has as much an open mind about my disease as any.
How has your life changed since your decision to go alcohol-free?
Wow, this one is a biggie! First and foremost is the ability to love and support my daughter and ex-wife. Being welcomed back into my own mother’s home is also a great one. But as for the non-relationship items, I would say my ability to accomplish goals, ex: last year I lost 35 pounds in 90 days! But, my overall appearance has improved. The most noticeable thing, to me, is just how I feel overall and how much more rested I am. We don’t get true REM sleep when we’re drinking.
What’s your go-to celebration drink when you’re able to make it yourself?
For a celebratory drink, I would probably go with a virgin bloody mary. I do enjoy making and drinking them. I created a Japanese style bloody mary when I ran a sushi restaurant that was amazing!
What do you drink at social gatherings?
Depending on the type of gathering, it’s club soda with a lime or coffee. I find that most non-alcoholic offerings have a lot of sugars in them which I try to avoid. It’ why I am so excited to find non-alcoholic wines as they not so saturated with sugars or beers with lots and lots of carbohydrates. Plus, I find it easier to just sip on.
How do you feel when you can’t find a drink you like?
Though I do understand the lack of offerings at restaurants, I feel very disappointed. Again, non-alcoholic wines are pretty new and it will finally be nice to have that as an option instead of the normal offerings such as non-alcoholic beers and sodas.
SOBRIETY IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Why do you think there’s a lack of dealcoholized options in the hospitality industry?
I think the main reason is the demand or lack of based on lack of knowledge. Restaurants of any caliber want to keep stock on stuff that moves and that their customer base buys. Deadstock is a killer and thus they keep only the bare minimum on hand. This is mainly due to many people still not knowing great selections of NA beverages that can stand up to any alcoholic beverage. This is especially true for wines, and the market is basically untapped.
In your experience, what types of accommodations are made for guests who don’t drink? If any?
Unfortunately, not too many. NA bars are starting to become popular and that could have an impact if they start to take off on a national level. Restaurants could be slightly forced into accommodations as they could lose some guests to these places. It all could vary. But the biggest thing it has impacted in my experience is the need to at least have some selection of NA beers and such. The issue for the restaurants is sometimes it is relatively dead stock. It can depend on the clientele. For example, my last restaurant was a high-end steak house. It barely sold beer of any kind. Now, flip to a sports bar and you’re taking a much greater need for that.
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