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non-alcoholic beer....

Old 09-29-2011, 10:07 PM
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non-alcoholic beer....

argh, so I really should get to bed, but wanted to get this out and get some insight from all of you.

RAH has been doing well, however he tends to isolate and doesn't hang out much with other people. Most of his work buddies like to go out and party. He's gone out a few times with them and keeps telling everyone that other people's drinking doesn't bother him and he seems to be doing well with that, though I wonder if he's just pretending. He's also had non-alcoholic beer when out with his friends before and reports that it's ok (no trigger).

Anyways, his younger (early 20s) brother came over tonight. He doesn't come over much. The last time he was here they ended up going grocery shopping and the younger brother came back with a beer. I let it slide because RAH told him it was ok. Tonight they went out grocery shopping again and bought a 6 pack of non-alcoholic beer (which still has a minimal alc. content and smells just like "real" beer). I'm not sure if RAH drank 1 or 2 bottles (I saw him pour some in the sink at one point), either way I am not really all that comfortable with having alcoholic beverages in the house (whether "non-alcoholic" beer or "real" beer). I know RAH just really wants to fit in and doesn't want to be a "party pooper", but I'm having a hard time seeing him around alcohol in the house.

I was planning on talking to him about the fact that I don't want any type of alcoholic beverage in the house - not from him and not from any of his friends or family members (though I have to be VERY careful as to how I word this, so he won't get defensive). Do you think that would be appropriate (i.e. not controlling)? *I guess I'm still struggling trying to figure out what is controlling and what is a feasible boundary*
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:15 PM
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I can't control what my AH does. After learning from Al-Anon, I stopped looking for wine bottles or telling him what to do in regard to his alcohol.

I have a friend who has been sober for over ten years now. He occasionally did non-alcoholic beer. I have another friend who said she didn't want any non-alcoholic beverages around her and she has been sober for over a decade. I think it's an individual choice. Individuals have to figure out their triggers and what to do about them.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:15 PM
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I know there are two schools of thought on non alocholic beer pro and con, I guess it's something the two of you have to work out.

IMO if he is behaving it may help him to feel like part of the group, but you have to do what works for you, not knowing his history it's hard for anyone outside to say with any certainty.

Sorry not more help, best of luck, will be rooting for your success.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:26 AM
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Hi Lotus!

It doesn't sound controlling to me, but rather like you've identified a boundary. It makes me sad that you're scared to express it to him.
(though I have to be VERY careful as to how I word this, so he won't get defensive)
You can't control his reaction, only yourself. it's his gig how he responds to your boundary.

When I can do this well-sort out my boundary and express and hold it, it keeps me safe and (more) sane.
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:54 AM
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My home is an alcohol-free environment, and that includes "non-alcoholic" beer.

As a long-term recovering alcoholic, I'd never drink it either. I have no desire to romance the past with something that resembles beer. I know where that would eventually lead for me.

You have the right to an alcohol-free home too. That's a healthy boundary.
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:36 AM
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Statistically the vast majority of those who achieve sobriety do relapse (why many parrot that "relapse is part of recovery") and in my opinion it usually can be attributed to a combination of reasons ... as we all know on this site alcoholism and addiction is a very complicated knot of issues and triggers.

Our behaviors and habits become deeply ingrained and the desire and compulsion to drink is the core of the battle for the alcoholic and I never understood anyone trying to defend or logic drinking a product that not only mimics the real product but actually does contain a small amount of alcohol!

My XAH insisted that it was perfectly cool to drink nonalcoholic beer and it was a factor in his eventual slide down the slippery slope to relapse.

Why are loved ones willing to take the risk knowing the anxiety it causes us as well as the very real possibility it might set them up to fail and collapse and destroy everything they have achieved in their recovery?

The answer is because the alcoholic and addicts brain does not function normally in reasoning out the dangers and risks associated with certain decisions and behaviors ... this is why many alcoholics and addicts require consistent reminders of these truths in an active program of recovery such as AA.

It is an individual decision but to me ... having been there ... it is like playing Russian Roulette and the ones who suffer most are us codies who have to actively work at not stressing over really stupid decision making by the ones we love!
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:17 AM
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I tried the NA beer route a couple times. It tasted only enough like real beer to make me remember what real beer tasted like. Sooner or later I really wanted the real beer taste and made a bad decision. It's also a good way to cover the smell of vodka. Fake beer, fake wine - I won't drink either. It's just not worth the risk to my sobriety.

One thing you might try is to ask your husband to read these posts. He might take it better from a bunch of people who DO understand where he's at because we have all been there.
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Old 09-30-2011, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Lotus2009 View Post
I'm not sure if RAH drank 1 or 2 bottles (I saw him pour some in the sink at one point), either way I am not really all that comfortable with having alcoholic beverages in the house (whether "non-alcoholic" beer or "real" beer). I know RAH just really wants to fit in and doesn't want to be a "party pooper", but I'm having a hard time seeing him around alcohol in the house.
Speaking for myself, I don't drink NA beer, but not because I believe it will cause me to start drinking again. Frankly, I am keenly aware that my family might wonder why I am drinking NA beer, and I don't want them to have that concern. That said, I would like to point out that while most NA beer does have alcohol in it, there are some brands that have 0.0% ABV.
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:24 AM
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Thank you all for your responses.

I understand that my post may have sounded like I want RAH to not drink NA beer. While him drinking NA beer is definitely something I'm not 100% comfortable with, I believe that this is HIS choice to make (just like he may choose to end up drinking real beer at some point and relapse). I know I can't control what he drinks and I have no intention of chasing after him and check up on what he is drinking - I've been there and know it will ultimately drive me insane. My issue was having alcohol in the house - it's something I'm not comfortable with and which is a potential trigger for ME (just like shooting video games tend to be a trigger for me). I don't drink much alcohol to begin with (maybe a glass of wine once every 2 or 3 months) and never drink or store alcohol in the house (even though RAH would probably tell me he'd be fine with it).

Transform - long time no "see", hope all is well . Thanks for expressing concern. I understand how my comment could have easily been interpreted as me being scared to talk to him. But that's not really the case... There are just a lot of communication problems that we have and one of them is that RAH tends to get very defensive as soon as I bring up an issue. While I'm not worried about how he may react, from experience I know that if he gets defensive right away there's no point in even having a conversation because he's not really taking in what I'm saying (but rather think of ways to defend). Not sure if this makes much sense, but I don't know how else to describe it. Having said this: thanks for reminding me that "it's his gig how he responds to your boundary" AND more importantly for reminding me that I need to figure out what exactly my boundary is when it comes to NA beer or friend's/family's alcoholic beverages in the house!
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Old 09-30-2011, 10:40 AM
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My experience, for what it is worth...
The defensiveness that reared its ugly head, when I brought up the topic of alcoholism..was, for ME.. the one indicator that he REALLY WAS alcoholic. Even though he had claimed that he knew he needed to cut back/quit, if I said something, it turned it around. From something that supposedly was a normal "choice", if you can put it that way..it BECAME his battle cry of "I damn well wanna keep drinking and you can't take that from me".
When I realized I had to walk on eggshells, and could not express my own honest feelings, I think that is when I should have walked out.
I don't think I could go along (for myself) with fake beer. The message I'd be getting from that, is that someone really isn't secure enough in their choice to quit, that they can explicitly tell others that they NO LONGER want or intend to drink. Sounds more to me like they might be playing at the idea of recovery, but really are insecure at putting that message out to the "buddies" who are still drinking.
Just my thinking...
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Old 09-30-2011, 02:41 PM
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Searchbug.... thank you for your insight on this. I feel the same way about a lot of what you said. And I believe if RAH would drink NA beer on a regular basis I would probably not be on board with that and look at what my options were.
His friends and work buddies all know that he's an alcoholic and is no longer drinking. However, I also do believe that he's lonely and insecure in a lot of ways. I think RAH hasn't yet figured out that there are a lot of people that socialize and do things without drinking. And yes, I'm hoping that he'll realize this in time and will seek out people who aren't still in the young and party mode that his current work buddies are in... but that is an issue HE will need to work on.

I don't know if I'm necessarily walking on eggshells, as I do tend to let him know exactly how I feel. BUT I've been trying to work on myself these past few months - my control issues and my communication patterns. Thus, my rather insecure question of whether not having NA beer in the house would be controlling or a boundary.
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