The Pros and Cons of Using Various Substitutes for Alcohol While in Recovery

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There are many questions surrounding the use of alcohol substitutes for recovering alcoholics. Are there any benefits? What are the risks? Does non-alcoholic beer have alcohol in it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using alcohol substitutes in recovery, and you can decide what’s best for you.

Potential Benefits of Alcohol Substitutes

There is a social stigma many former alcoholics worry about: being the only person in the room not drinking. It feels like there’s a spotlight on you if you ask for water, if you’re seen drinking something clearly non-alcoholic, or if you’re seen drinking nothing at all. People inevitably begin to ask questions: Why aren’t you drinking? Can’t you hold your liquor? Are you some kind of prude? Are you pregnant? Sometimes people will insist that you can’t enjoy yourself without a drink and try to order you one, despite your objections. Many people don’t want to admit that they are in recovery for alcohol addiction. It’s a private matter that people will share when and if they are ready. So to avoid all of the social hassle, some people recovering from alcohol addiction prefer to have an alcohol substitute in hand. It also provides the simple and familiar comfort of holding a drink and sipping on something throughout the evening. It also has a similar taste to “regular” alcohol, and some people relish the fact that they don’t have to give up the taste of one of their favorite drinks.

Drawbacks of Using Alcohol Substitutes

Unfortunately, drinking alcohol substitutes opens the door for additional drinking. Many recovering addicts find that they have to be very strict in their “not even a single drink” policy in order to avoid a relapse. As a recovering alcoholic, you have to ask yourself the question: Are you, or are you not, committed to your recovery? Does non-alcoholic beer have alcohol in it? Yes, it does. It has about 1/8th the alcohol content by volume of “regular” beer. This means that, in theory, you could drink enough to feel the effects of the alcohol. And if you are a recovering binge drinker, it could spell trouble. The accurate taste of non-alcoholic beer also has the potential to trigger cravings, making it harder and harder to resist picking up another drink (like a “real” beer). In short, if you don’t want to compromise your recovery, it’s best to leave the alcohol substitutes alone. Be confident and proud of your sobriety and learn how to handle the social discomforts in a different way to maintain your health. In the end, health is what recovery is all about.

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