Notices

Non-Alcoholic Wine & Beer

Old 09-20-2016, 04:09 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 248
Non-Alcoholic Wine & Beer

Hello,

I'm on 3 weeks and just wondering what people think about non alcoholic wine and beer in early sobriety?

I have been trying a few non-alcoholic wines and beers in the evening - many are awful, but I've found a couple that I like the taste of, and I enjoy the familiar ritual of opening the bottle, using the nice glassware etc. I find it comforting to continue the ritual of the habit in the evening - holding a cold beer bottle or an elegant wine glass - even though the substance in the glass isn't alcohol. Bottles of alcohol free beer were a life-saver at a recent wedding, where I didn't feel like drawing everyone's attention to the fact that I wasn't drinking.

Do you think there's any harm in this? My way of thinking about it is that my priority is keeping alcohol out of my mouth - so I can drink anything else in any kind of fancy glass if it helps! But my husband (a moderate drinker) worries that I might be playing with fire. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

x
SomeSortOfHuman is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 04:21 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Administrator
 
Dee74's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 205,696
Very common question - here's my usual answer

My experience is I don't drink NA beer because it looked like beer, felt like a can of beer, it smelt like beer, it had that same condensation thing on the can like a beer, the same fizz and foam when you pop the can, tasted like beer (kinda)....

Then I'd wonder why I'd go out everytime and get 'real' beer.
I was still knee deep in old behaviours, and didn't even realise it.

As a former beer drinker I know it ticks all the boxes for me, and opens the door to old behaviour and old thought paterns.

I don't recommend it.

I don't need to know but maybe ask yourself why would you choose NA beer/wine when there's so many other things to drink, though?

Is it really the taste of a beer or a wine you want, or are there other things happening here as well?

D
tl:dr

It's not actually about the alcohol content (or not) for me - it's about the behaviours....

D
Dee74 is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 04:29 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Maudcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Wareham, Mass
Posts: 7,067
I know what you mean. It's as much about the ritual as it is the drink. I follow a couple of recovery blogs, and the n/a beverage discussion comes up from time to time. Many believe that those of us with dependency issues should avoid anything with alcohol, even small amounts like n/a beer. Others feel that there's no harm in it because the alcohol to beverage ratio is so small. I never got into non a wine cuz I can take or leave wine in general. Early in sobriety I would imbibe non a beer. And was fine. Didn't cause me to lose sobriety. I agree that the taste leaves something to be desired. Still have one occasionally, but I usually now drink lemonade, soft cider, or sparkling water. So...bottom line. Everyone is individual and must approach their recovery the same way. If non a works for you with no ill effects, then I don't see any harm in it. My opinion only.
Maudcat is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 04:40 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Mountainmanbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Lakeside, Ca
Posts: 10,208
Many will drink the non alcoholic drinks only in time to realize that all of a sudden to their surprise they are holding a real drink.

Asking once again -- what the heck happened to me???

M-Bob
Mountainmanbob is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 05:31 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
FBL
non-drinker
 
FBL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 13,076
I drank to get drunk, so never saw the point of drinking "near beer".
FBL is online now  
Old 09-20-2016, 05:49 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,981
I tried it once and it really didn't do anything for me. The point of drinking was to get drunk, not the taste.
My dad was a long time alcoholic, but would turn to alcohol free beer when he had cravings and it helped.
I think most will say it's just a stepping stone back to drinking the real stuff again, while a few find it a useful tool.
Forward12 is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 06:00 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
tomsteve's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: northern michigan. not the U.P.
Posts: 15,281
seems non alcoholic wine would be called juice.
would there be a problem if you just used juice or soda?
I agree with your husband.
tomsteve is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 06:56 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Canine Welfare Advocate
 
doggonecarl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 10,955
Non-Alcoholic Wine & Beer

That's what non-alcoholics drink.
doggonecarl is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 07:05 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Bunny211's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,601
I was told "Non-Alcoholic beer is for Non-Alcoholics."

Why not celebrate with a cup of coffee? A seltzer with lime? A piece of good chocolate? Change your behaviors and your mind will follow.
Bunny211 is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 07:16 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
 
JeffreyAK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,183
Those familiar rituals are what you want to break. Yes, you can keep them forever and still not drink, but you're making it harder for yourself by reminding yourself, every time and with every near-beer sip, that you can't drink the real stuff. Many, many people have relapsed because drinking the near beer eventually led to "F'it, I miss the real stuff, I can have just one..."
JeffreyAK is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 08:10 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Forum Leader
 
ScottFromWI's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Posts: 16,945
Originally Posted by SomeSortOfHuman View Post
Hello,

I'm on 3 weeks and just wondering what people think about non alcoholic wine and beer in early sobriety?

I have been trying a few non-alcoholic wines and beers in the evening - many are awful, but I've found a couple that I like the taste of, and I enjoy the familiar ritual of opening the bottle, using the nice glassware etc. I find it comforting to continue the ritual of the habit in the evening - holding a cold beer bottle or an elegant wine glass - even though the substance in the glass isn't alcohol. Bottles of alcohol free beer were a life-saver at a recent wedding, where I didn't feel like drawing everyone's attention to the fact that I wasn't drinking.

Do you think there's any harm in this? My way of thinking about it is that my priority is keeping alcohol out of my mouth - so I can drink anything else in any kind of fancy glass if it helps! But my husband (a moderate drinker) worries that I might be playing with fire. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

x
Lots of good advice here already. I personally drank NA beer as part of my "moderation" attempts several times and also after I quit the first few times, but it generally led back to drinking regular beer for me, which was my exclusive drink of choice. So yes, I it's definitely playing with fire. I also found myself exhibiting some of the same behaviors with the NA beer...drinking it quickly, hiding it from others, continuously calculating how much of it I could drink before I actually felt a little bit of the alcohol...because NA beer/wine is not actually alcohol free. A 6 pack of NA beer contains about as much as one regular beer, so it's absolutely possible to get a slight alcohol effect if you drink enough of it.

I think another "red flag" is that you seem to still be romanticizing alcohol in your post...the ritual, the coldness of the bottle, etc. It happens to most of us and is just another indicator of how strong our addiction really is.

The other comment I wanted to point out was that you saw the NA drinks as lifesaver at the wedding because you "didn't feel like drawing everyone's attention to the fact that I wasn't drinking". That's a common assumption in early sobriety - that people notice or even care if we are drinking or not. Most people simply don't even think about it...we obsess over it of course because or addiction wants us to...but for the most part no one really even pays attention to it.
ScottFromWI is offline  
Old 09-20-2016, 01:28 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Semi-Professional Philosopher
 
steve-in-kville's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Rural PA
Posts: 949
Originally Posted by Bunny211 View Post
Why not celebrate with a cup of coffee? A seltzer with lime? A piece of good chocolate? Change your behaviors and your mind will follow.
^^This.

I find myself drinking a lot of seltzer. And my coffee intake did increase a bit, but I am drinking more decaff late in the day. I also keep a lot of healthy snacks around as well (nuts, dried fruits, dark chocolate(!)).
steve-in-kville is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:17 AM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 248
Hi all,

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Lots of food for thought.

So far, I haven't found that NA beer or wine has made me want to reach for the real stuff, but it's something I'll try to be alert for.

When I was very stressed at the weekend, I opened a bottle of non-alcoholic rose (0.05%, so nothing that would have an alcohol impact after one glass), and the action of opening it did give me some slight relief - I don't know what to make of that... One the one hand, it obviously means that I'm keeping a connection between alcohol and stress relief alive in my mind. On the other hand, it did stop me going to the bar in that moment, so it was a useful tool on that occasion.

Even when drinking soda or fruit juice in the evening, I've been trying to make it into a ritual by using a nice glass / ice / slice of lime or whatever - e.g. last night, I had tonic water and lime juice in a champagne flute. I think this probably does mean that I'm romanticising drinking - but I'm trying to work out if that matters if there isn't alcohol involved and if it's OK to still use the preparation of ANY drink as a way to mark the end of the work day. Even when I have a fruit tea in the evening, part of the pleasure of that for me is trying different flavours, making it in a nice glass mug, watching it infuse etc. Maybe putting so much focus on having a drink (even one without alcohol) is torturing myself / playing with fire - or maybe keeping the comfort of some sort of ritual will help to keep my cravings at bay. I don't know - just thinking aloud here...

Thanks again for taking the time to comment!

x
SomeSortOfHuman is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:20 AM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 248
Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
The other comment I wanted to point out was that you saw the NA drinks as lifesaver at the wedding because you "didn't feel like drawing everyone's attention to the fact that I wasn't drinking". That's a common assumption in early sobriety - that people notice or even care if we are drinking or not. Most people simply don't even think about it...we obsess over it of course because or addiction wants us to...but for the most part no one really even pays attention to it.
Unfortunately, childless women in their 30s come in for a LOT of attention in my peer group when they are not drinking - everyone asks if you are pregnant! And even with my bottle of NA beer, some random guy I'd never met before started having a go at me at a wedding because I wouldn't join in some dumb drinking game!
SomeSortOfHuman is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 02:33 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Canine Welfare Advocate
 
doggonecarl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Norfolk, VA
Posts: 10,955
Originally Posted by SomeSortOfHuman View Post
Unfortunately, childless women in their 30s come in for a LOT of attention in my peer group when they are not drinking
It's often suggested that in early recovery you stay away from situations where alcohol plays a major part, then you don't have to pretend to drink to met your peers' expecations.

That line from not drinking to drinking can get mighty thin. Best to not even be in a position to cross it.
doggonecarl is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 03:09 AM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 248
Originally Posted by doggonecarl View Post
It's often suggested that in early recovery you stay away from situations where alcohol plays a major part, then you don't have to pretend to drink to met your peers' expecations.

That line from not drinking to drinking can get mighty thin. Best to not even be in a position to cross it.
I agree - but sometimes not possible to avoid... This was my sister in law's wedding and it came very early in my sobriety - first weekend, I think. I would have skipped it if I could, but it would have gone down very badly, especially as I was in the wedding party. In retrospect, it gives me strength knowing that I got through that event without drinking. Just very annoying when people assume that it's because I'm pregnant! Was tempted to scream "I'm not knocked up - I'm a raging alcoholic" - but it didn't seem like the right time or place!!
SomeSortOfHuman is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 05:10 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Maudcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Wareham, Mass
Posts: 7,067
I was very tied to the ritual of drinking when I first became sober. Beverage in a wine glass with ice, etc. made it seem special. Over time--it's been 3 years-- the ritual became less important, somehow. I still do it occasionally with sparkling cider, but not nearly as much. Peace.
Maudcat is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 05:41 AM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
 
Jack465's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by SomeSortOfHuman View Post
And even with my bottle of NA beer, some random guy I'd never met before started having a go at me at a wedding because I wouldn't join in some dumb drinking game!
What did he say?

Anyone who would actually do this is clueless... especially if they don't even know you. There could be a thousand different reasons why you might not be drinking.

Please, ignore them.
Jack465 is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 06:08 AM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
 
Jack465's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 444
Oh, I missed the part about the NA beer, so he thought you were already drinking... nevermind.
Jack465 is offline  
Old 09-21-2016, 06:21 AM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 8,674
Originally Posted by SomeSortOfHuman View Post

When I was very stressed at the weekend, I opened [chose to drink a] *my words*] a bottle of non-alcoholic rose (0.05%, so nothing that would have an alcohol impact after one glass), and the action of opening it did give me some slight relief - I don't know what to make of that... One the one hand, it obviously means that I'm keeping a connection between alcohol and stress relief alive in my mind. On the other hand, it did stop me going to the bar in that moment, so it was a useful tool on that occasion.
Several problems and troubling signs here.

When stressed, you chose to drink.
0.05% alcohol is still....alcohol.
You exhibited the same behaviors as when you were choosing "real" alcohol.
As you said, [I]on this occasion[I], this was a successful tool. There are infinitely more tools you can use to successfully handle times you want to drink and feelings you have as a person, when stressed, sad, hurt, anything. And as others have said....some find that this re-starts the eventual drinking (in mind and then in action).

I think it is a bad choice for many (most? all?) of us because it introduces risk. Period. Especially at the beginning. We have to learn NEW ways of coping with life, and this (IMO) is simply changing our old one, slightly.

My life is simply about NOT doing things that COULD (ever) lead to drinking again. Why inject something like this?
August252015 is offline  

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:09 AM.