Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

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Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Rooster » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:56 am

Hi All, my name is Rooster and I’m an alcoholic.

My wife and I have been working down the path of my eventual realization that I am an alcoholic for several years now. Her father has been an alcoholic for 30+ years and so knowing what it can lead to she helped me to see it for what it is and we put an end to it before our child is born in oct/nov. That’s a gross over-simplification of how the past two years have unfolded but I’ve come to realize it’s not worth the potential hazards or the constraint strain on our relationship so 2 weeks ago I went to an AA meeting after throwing out all my wine and beer for good vowing to quit drinking the same way that I had quit smoking 13 months earlier.

I haven’t had a drink or really had any strong cravings (far easier than quitting smoking for me!) but I feel as though I owe that to the non-alcoholic beer (0.0% or <0.5%), which I use as a substitute to real beer much in the same way I used a vapourizer in the first few months after quitting smoking to “get me around the bend” so to speak. Here’s the thing: after a massive fight, which is still on-going, I reluctantly agreed to stop drinking the <0.5% non-alcoholic beer and stick to 0.0%. This however still infuriated my spouse as I am still drinking “beer” and at a rate which concerns her - probably 2-3 per day. I drink more non-alcoholic beer now than alcoholic beer when I wasn’t sober and at first I was proud and content with my new found sobriety. Bring able to freely indulge in non-alcoholic beer, which I still thoroughly enjoy the taste of, was my reward to myself for being sober since I don’t drink anything but water, coffee or beer 95% of the time, it is the silver lining so to speak - and so we continue to fight.

My question is, is this a good idea? Can drinking non-alcoholic beer be safe for me if I don’t crave the real thing while I’m drinking it? I want to hear from those of you who have safely enjoyed non-alcoholic beer for years! I would give it up if I thought it put me at risk, and my wife thinks it does, but I need to do what I feel will work for me in this case rather than tucking tail and giving into her demands, which I know would only foster my feelings of self-resentment for always giving into her demands while depriving me of an alternative that I think can be made to work.

Thoughts?
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Brock » Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:52 am

Rooster wrote: I want to hear from those of you who have safely enjoyed non-alcoholic beer for years!

Hi Rooster and welcome here.

I am afraid you will not find any members at this site, who have enjoyed non-alcoholic beer for years, I will eat my big book if you do. You see I am confident because it’s a question which comes up quite often, and just earlier this week a new member asked it, one of our regulars answered that ‘non alcoholic beer was for non alcoholics,’ short and to the point.

I have also seen someone who worked in the alcohol industry, say it was impossible to make these brews, without at least a very small amount of alcohol still being present. So ‘non’ may actually mean almost non, and alcoholics certainly don’t willingly expose themselves to any alcohol whatsoever.

There are many nice drinks which I find taste better than beer, perhaps try experimenting. Sorry to say in this case I feel your wife is right.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Rooster » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:31 am

Thank you for the reply Brock, I may be letting my oversion to my wife’s bullying take presidence over what is in our best interest. If there are no alcoholics that have been drinking non-alcoholic beer then there must be a good reason for it.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby beginningagain7 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:49 am

The reality is that there is no such thing as none-alcoholic beer. There is some alcohol that is present in the beer. And that's why it is sold in the liquor area of the store and if you are under the age of 21 you cannot purchase it.

When I worked in a convenience store people under the age would bring it up to the counter and would get upset because I could not sell it to them. They would always reply saying that it was non-alcoholic beer. Then I would have to explain that since it does contain some alcohol regardless of the amount of alcohol they still had to be 21 to buy it.

As to why non-alcoholics buy it I cannot tell you. But they probably have their reasons, each person is different.

Have a good day,
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:33 am

I think many of us walked down this path, I know I did. I also don't know anyone with longer-term sobriety who drinks N/A. It doesn't really hold any interest to me any more.

I see a mixed message in what you shared. Do you enjoy it, or drink it to avoid giving the wife more control?

For enjoyment, I had to look around for quite a long time to find something that I enjoyed to drink. Most drinks were just too fizzy / flat / sweet / syrupy / whatever. For a long time I settled on a mixture of grapefruit-juice and (clear) lemonade / soda.

For control issues, that takes time and effort. If you're drinking a certain thing, and it gives her a problem, and it doesn't really bother you either way to drink it, then why would you want to push her buttons?
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Rooster » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:15 pm

Thank you both for the replies.

I didn’t realize that “non-alcoholic” beer was controlled in The states. I never tried buying it while I was under-age here in Canada but it could be the same.

As for my wife, this isn’t a situation limited only to alcohol and it has left me unsure of myself and my morals. I do enjoy drinking the “non-alcoholic” beer and was feeling optimistic, excited and overall very positive about giving up strong alcohol and never being drunk again knowing that I’d just have that instead. Now I’m not sure if she is being over-zealous to satisfy her own needs or because she has my best interests in mind... it’s hard to figure it out when she’s spouting verbal abuse but she is pregnant after all, so any hateful words or gestures have to be taken with a grain of salt they say!

It’s been helpful knowing that others aren’t drinking “non-alcoholic” beer and that whatever her reasons I know that drinking it in-lieu of regular beer is a plan doomed to fail. Thank you all!
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:18 pm

Rooster wrote:Now I’m not sure if she is being over-zealous to satisfy her own needs or because she has my best interests in mind...


Maybe it's both? Or neither? But does it really matter? If you were living alone, what would you do about NA beer?

I sometimes hear that it's better to be happy than right. I'll buy into that notion today.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Roly-Poly » Sat Mar 17, 2018 12:20 pm

Ahoy Rooster! Congratulations on being sober, on quitting cigarettes, and on the upcoming baby! You've got a lot of fish in the fryer!

Like you, I emptied all booze out of my house this week (gave much of it to the neighbors to atone for an ugly altercation between my ex-gf last Monday night), and then later found I still had 5 bottles of a 6 pack. The general consensus in my thread (in which I pointed out that beer tastes like carbonated pee, but we eventually condition ourselves to enjoy that urine taste) was I should dump it. Have been enjoying mineral water since then, and pomegranate juice instead of wine.
As Liam Neeson in Star Wars said, "Your focus determines you reality." And if you're still drinking something called beer, beer is still in your focus and in your reality. Do you still want it there?
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Rooster » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:01 pm

Thanks again fellas,

If I lived alone and didn’t have a child on the way I would be drinking real beer in all honesty, but I’m glad I don’t live alone and I’m happy to be sober for the benefit of my loved ones. I’m sure now that I would be headed down a path to self-destruction without them!

As for my wife, she was ok with me drinking the N/A beer until I tried to include a 12-pack in our weekly grocery run so I suspect there’s more to this than her simply wanting me to avoid temptation. Nonetheless, I agreed to stop drinking N/A beer and feel like a pawn, and that’s putting it politely... Still, I made my bed and I’ll have to sleep in it’s for the little one’s sake.

It’s helpful hearing from you guys that there is a good reason not to drink N/A beer because I (the recently realized alcoholic) have confidence in my ability to draw the line at N/A but I’m likely fooling myself and I needed someone with experience and no alterior motives to tell me that.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:18 pm

Things may be different for different people.
(Or not).

For me, wanting to drink N/A beer is a symptom. It means the obsession to drink had not abated and my habit of thinking "I'll only do this and I won't do that" has returned. Lying to myself has returned. The bullet-proof sense that causes me to ignore obvious warnings and tempt fate has returned.

If the obsession is there I need to treat the obsession and drinking N/A beer is not part of treating the obsession. No treatment I have ever heard of involves drinking N/A beer.

Watching porn does not make me forget about sex. It's a sign that I'm horny.

I have a friend who is a cocaine addict. If he sniffs a non-cocaine cocaine like powder I'd worry about him more, not less. If he says sniffing a non-cocaine cocaine-like powder will help him overcome the urge I'd tell him he's lying.

For me, that's how it works with N/A beer.

I wish you well.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Roly-Poly » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:58 pm

1Peter5:10 wrote:I have a friend who is a cocaine addict. If he sniffs a non-cocaine cocaine like powder I'd worry about him more, not less. If he says sniffing a non-cocaine cocaine-like powder will help him overcome the urge I'd tell him he's lying.


Mind. Blown.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Rooster » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:56 am

Good analogies Peter! Thank you!
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby D'oh » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:14 pm

I am an Alcoholic. But Alcohol was but a symptom of my Illness.

My Illness was Spiritual, Mental, and Physical. Drinking N/A, Coffee, Soda, water doesn't cause the same effect. If one found theirself, sneaking it in the house, waking up on the middle of the night for a swig, leaving some in their briefcase, not paying Bills or LYING about it. Then there is a problem.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby tomsteve » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:13 am

1Peter5:10 wrote:I have a friend who is a cocaine addict. If he sniffs a non-cocaine cocaine like powder I'd worry about him more, not less. If he says sniffing a non-cocaine cocaine-like powder will help him overcome the urge I'd tell him he's lying.



im also an ex crackhead and have said similar about non-crack crack.
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Re: Are Non-alcoholic Beverages a safe alternative?

Postby Rooster » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:35 pm

D'oh wrote:I am an Alcoholic. But Alcohol was but a symptom of my Illness.

My Illness was Spiritual, Mental, and Physical. Drinking N/A, Coffee, Soda, water doesn't cause the same effect. If one found theirself, sneaking it in the house, waking up on the middle of the night for a swig, leaving some in their briefcase, not paying Bills or LYING about it. Then there is a problem.


In this case I would have to lie and sneak it so it would case nearly as many issues as the real thing and trust in my marriage is in dangerously short supply. I find myself drinking other things now, mainly coffe and soda, but don’t have the same feeling of contentment, relief and excitement that I did with N/A beer. When I drank N/A I felt like it was a compromise I could happily live with for the rest of my life, slamming them back with the boys and living the same life I always had - just sober. Now, having lost that due to my own carelessness, I worry about my sobriety and whether or not I can make it without my N/A crutch...

I’m determined to persevere despite nay-saying from my spouse. Thanks to AA and it’s members I worry a little less and even typing to you now knowing that someone I’ve never met is reading this and possibly relating to it helps me immensely. I’m new to AA and this way of life but I think it’s alright for me to say that I want each one of you to succeed every day in maintaining your own sobriety and I believe you can do that. For me that’s the influence of a higher power we all draw our strength from.
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