Why Non-Alcoholic Beer & Other “Teasers” Increase Alcoholism Relapse Rate

Non-alcoholic beer. Doesn’t that sound like a godsend for someone who loves the taste of beer but has entered addiction recovery? Wait a minute. Can recovering alcoholics drink non-alcoholic beer? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You may have heard the slogan “people, places and things” around Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. In recovery, it is ill-advised to keep the same people, places, and things in your life that were prominent aspects of your drinking days. Non-alcoholic beer is packaged and crafted to mimic the “Real McCoy” as closely as possible, and therefore may not be a good idea. Here are some reasons why drinking non-alcoholic beer might be sabotaging your recovery.

  • While some non-alcoholic beers are truly 100% alcohol free, many are not. Read labels carefully. Additionally, cravings may be triggered by the sight of the label and/or the scent of the beer.
  • While the minute concentration of alcohol in non-alcoholic beer will not lead to intoxication, that doesn’t make it harmless. Ingesting any alcohol at all increases your risk of relapse. Just as no amount of heroin is a small enough amount to render it harmless to a heroin addict, no amount of alcohol is safe to drink for an alcoholic.
  • Remember “people, places and things.” What are the circumstances in which you are considering drinking non-alcoholic beer? What’s the situation? Is this just another drinking situation for you, only you’ve switched out the alcohol for non-alcoholic beer? If you are thinking about putting yourself in a drinking situation, discuss that with your sponsor and addiction treatment professionals. You may be struggling with an issue that needs to be resolved.

Can recovering alcoholics drink non-alcoholic beer?

Some people may say that recovering alcoholics can drink non-alcoholic beer, but the wise and prudent approach is to leave anything that looks like beer, smells like beer, and feels like a bottle of beer in your hand, alone. If you have mixed feelings about that, discuss your thoughts and feelings with your sponsor, your therapist, and anyone else who will not enable you. While some social situations that include alcohol (such as work functions) may be unavoidable, tempting fate by drinking non-alcoholic beer in a drinking environment or situation is not. Prioritize and protect your alcohol abuse recovery, and avoid high risk behaviors, choices and situations. Your sobriety depends upon it. Sources https://www.attcnetwork.org/explore/priorityareas/science/tools/asmeDetails.asp?ID=338 https://www.verywell.com/dangers-of-drinking-non-alcoholic-beer-63665 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/prevention/con-20020970 https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/understanding-alcohol-abuse-symptoms#1    

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