The popularity and easy availability of non-alcoholic beer have created a new hazard for recovering alcoholics working to prevent a relapse. Many people assume this option is safe for people in recovery, but substituting one behavior for another is not a healthy way to preserve your sobriety.
Why Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Dangerous for Recovering Alcoholics?
People may gravitate to “near beer” because they don’t like feeling left out during parties and other social occasions where people are drinking. However, it’s better to stick with water or soda at these gatherings. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself during these festivities that don’t center on drinking.
Though it’s nearly impossible for non-alcoholic beer to make you intoxicated, the drink can be a powerful trigger, creating cravings that set up the circumstances for a relapse. The risk is not worth sacrificing your sobriety over.
Consider these dangers of non-alcoholic beer.
It Still Has Some Alcohol
It may surprise you to learn that most non-alcoholic beer still has trace amounts of alcohol. The alcohol by volume is usually around 0.5%, in comparison with the average 5% ABV of alcoholic beer. It’s unlikely you’ll notice any effect from drinking such a minute amount of alcohol, but that doesn’t mean it can’t pave the way to rationalize having a stronger drink.
Giving into temptation and drinking a non-alcoholic beer can undo years of progress, starting the vicious cycle of desire and destruction all over again.
The Look, Smell and Taste
Aside from the low alcohol content, non-alcoholic beer is exactly like normal beer. The look, smell and taste of beer – even the fact that the label and bottle are virtually identical – can be a significant trigger for someone in early recovery. The same sensory experiences associated with drinking beer, minus the intoxicating effect, can cause frustration.
“Near beer” can trigger a condition known as euphoric recall, a form of selective memory in which a recovering addict glamorizes their active addiction, while ignoring all the negative effects it had on their life. In the face of extreme cravings, this problem intensifies even more.
It Serves as a Behavioral Crutch
People in recovery must work every day to avoid a relapse. That means avoiding the people, places and things associated with your drinking habit. Once you move out of the structure of treatment, it will be essential for you to establish new hobbies, friendships and behaviors that don’t revolve around drinking.
For a recovering alcoholic, drinking non-alcoholic beer serves as a slippery slope. Even though you won’t get drunk, the urges and triggers it creates can be too strong. It’s best to stay on the safe path and steer clear of “near beer.”
Do You Need Help for Your Alcohol Addiction?
The desire to drink non-alcoholic beer may signify that you are not as dedicated to your recovery as you should be, and that you aren’t entirely willing to leave the negativity of your addiction behind you. It could also indicate that you have not fully addressed the reasons behind your substance abuse problem, which might signify the need for an environment that provides additional structure and accountability.
You deserve to find happiness and fulfillment in life. Call us to learn how Segue Recovery Support can play an integral role in your journey toward lifelong recovery.