A SLIP or NOT: Is it OK to drink non-alcoholic beer in recovery?

Many alcoholics or alcohol abusers wonder if it is okay for them to drink non-alcoholic beverages. After all, the alcohol component of these drinks isn’t present. Can it be okay to indulge in it once in a while during 12 step recovery? Unfortunately, there’s no specific answer to this. Every person is very different in terms of sober living and what could happen with one or more of these beverages.

It’s Not What You Think

First, it’s important to realize that many non-alcoholic beverages and low alcohol beers actually contain 0.5 percent alcohol by volume. Yes, they actually have alcohol in them. Most of the alcohol is filtered and boiled out during the brewing process, but some remains. What remains is not necessarily enough to make you drunk and in most cases you will not feel any different drinking these compared to a can of soda. For some people, though, they do create a placebo effect, meaning they give you the psychological feeling of drinking alcohol. That’s where the slippery slope comes in.

For some individuals, that placebo effect is the underlying problem. This could make you feel like you are drunk and bring back all of your feelings and thoughts about drinking again. It might even bring back your old habits. That’s why so many 12 step programs recommend that members stay away from these products. Sometimes, a similar smell or taste can bring you back to ground zero. A clear way to indicate this could be a problem, is to consider how you feel. If you are drinking these products because you want to bring back your “glory days” of drinking, they should not be used at all.

Understanding Your Triggers

Keeping this in mind, it’s important for people to understand what their triggers are. What makes you have the feelings and desire to drink again? For some people, that smell or flavor is enough to create a trigger. For many others, it is not. Unfortunately, like with every other component of alcoholism, you have to determine the right way to behave and interact based on your specific needs and risks. It’s a personal decision, ultimately, to make about drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

Before picking up these drinks, it’s important to take into consideration what the short term and long term impact will be. Could it be worthwhile to you or is not worth the risk at all? Sometimes gaining focus and praying can help you to make the right decisions.

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5 Responses to A SLIP or NOT: Is it OK to drink non-alcoholic beer in recovery?

  1. Randy Glaeser says:

    Why is it basically “approved” in programs that caffeine and nicotine are used so much, when actually they are psychotropic mind-altering substances? And, please, don’t side-step my question or write it off as something you cannot comment on!

  2. Kevin b says:

    Non alcoholic drinks are for non alcoholic s

    Never tried /won’t .
    Not worth it . mind f

  3. Melanie T86 says:

    I don’t drink it. I’m afraid it would be a trigger for me. After all this time, it’s not really worth it to me to risk my sobriety to go back to that living hell. Make mine iced tea!

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