Once you’re pursuing recovery from alcohol addiction, non-alcoholic beer may seem like an appealing and safe option. After all, it won’t get you drunk and lead to problems such as reckless behavior, impaired judgment or blackouts. However, non-alcoholic beer has several issues you should be aware of. Here’s why recovering alcoholics should steer clear of “near beer.”
Why Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Dangerous for Recovering Alcoholics?
You may gravitate to “near beer” because you 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 soft drinks at these gatherings. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself that don’t center on getting drunk.
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. Though some companies advertise an alcohol content of 0%, the alcohol by volume in most near beers 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 in to 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
Recovering addicts 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 powerful. It’s best to stay on the safe path and avoid non-alcoholic 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 suggest the need for an environment that provides additional structure and accountability.
You deserve to find happiness and fulfillment in life. At Segue Recovery Support, we provide high-accountability sober living in the Austin area. Our sober living facilities provide a smooth transition from treatment to the “real world.” When you participate in long-term treatment with a high level of structure, you immerse yourself in recovery culture and set yourself up for success.
Call us to learn how Segue Recovery Support can play an integral role in your journey toward lifelong recovery.