"virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby ShaneL » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:32 pm

I think it depends upon the person and perhaps even the amount of time they have been sober. My advice would be "better safe than sorry" especially for newcomers. That would mean avoiding these non-alcoholic drinks.

I sobered up at age 16 after living on the streets and being committed to a psychiatric unit for adolescents. I had to do some experimental drinking to discover if the first drink really triggered the physical craving or not. Having proved to myself that I was indeed alcoholic, my last drink was September 5, 1985. I was sober all through high school grades 9 - 12. When I went to college I started hanging out with a group of AA friends that would go to strip clubs after meetings to watch the girls (I don't recommend that either). We young, dumb and... well, you know. We all drank non-alcoholic beer. That was about 20 years ago now. I think I am the only one still sober from that group.

As a grew older and matured I became involved with a religious denomination that forbid drinking alcohol and married a woman from that church. So alcohol has never been in our home or at most of the social gatherings we attend. Non-alcoholic "brew" is often at some of these gatherings and we have had it in our home as well. It has never caused me to have the physical craving that regular beer gave me.

The only mixed drink I ever drank as a teenager were screw-divers and a virgin screw-driver is just OJ. Of course I drink that. I love virgin piña-coladas but have to watch the calories. But... I never drank them when I was drinking.

I think what causes these drinks to cause an alcoholic to go back to drinking is their motive for drinking them. If we are spiritually fit we will be safe from the first drink. However if we are trying to take some kind of a short cut, trying to get some kind of a kick, feeling or satisfaction from a liquid beverage, we are setting ourselves up for the next drink. That's my opinion. I have never drank a non-alcoholic beverage as a substitute for an alcoholic beverage. That has never been my motive. I have drank them as a substitute for a Coke or lemonade but not to substitute a Budweiser.

I have known some alcoholics that have went back to drinking due to using a mouthwash or cough syrup with alcohol in them. These were people newly sober. I would think someone that has been sober a few years and is spiritually fit could use such things without great concern. But again, that is my opinion. If someone doubts themselves, my advice would be to avoid such things altogether. Better safe than sorry.
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby hope2010 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:59 pm

Being the new 'kid' in town, I REALLY enjoyed reading all of your posts.
Personally, I can't see myself pretending to drink that poison, and risking the trigger is unthinkable to me right now.
But everyone experiences life in a different way, why would sobriety not be included in that? The truly important thing is to be
honest with yourself, it's not difficult to do, but it's sure easy to forget.

Best wishes to all of you!! And thank you for puting yourselves out there!

Colleen :D
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby pabscat2 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 6:04 pm

Thanks shane , personally i agree with Colleen, to me to drink a substitute / pretend non alcoholic drink is tantamount to a training session before the real drink, in the mind and i speak for me! i have been offered these kinds of drinks a weddings and parties but have always refused them for the reasons stated by others here. in my early days i used to feel extremely threatened when someone cracked open a coke can in a meeting, to me it sounded like a beer can being opened and i was quite vulnerable at the time, Alcohol is still cunning baffling and powerful !

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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby marietta » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:07 am

Someone who is playing with "non-alcoholic" beer or wine or "virgin" something-or-others is, in my opinion, not willing to go to any lengths to get and stay sober.

My friend Pat, an accomplished and innovative horn player, went through three separate in-patient treatment centers, had his driver's license revoked, set his friend Marci's house on fire, and stepped in front of a moving car, all behind "near beer". It had the power to set up the obsession and the compulsion. It always lead to cases of Coors.

Fatal injuries. He was buried in Tulsa. Age: 45.

(RIP, PTR)

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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby Rebecca V » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:04 am

I hear this come up a lot, and don't think there is necessarily a correct answer for everyone. My own ESH, however, is that virgin drinks or NA beer is really just a way to pretend I am actually drinking alcohol and may lead me down a road to unnecessary temptation. That said, I discovered that I loved what I called for a few months "faketails." My habit had been to come home from work and have a vodka with diet 7up. So when I first got sober I would have a "faketail:" diet 7up with a splash of cranberry or orange juice. I still like this, but have cut out the diet soda and now prefer sparkling water sometimes with and sometimes without the juice. I also love relaxing with a cup of herbal tea. I truly enjoy the taste of these beverages (during one relapse I discovered that I couldn't stand the taste of vodka), and am able to think clearly enough to include reading a book and journaling in my evening after work relaxation. And I sleep better.
But back to the NA beer/virgin drinks thing: my suggestion is to examine why you want to replace alcohol with a mimic and decide whether it is really helpful in changing your life to be a healthy, sober one. Also, NA beer is not really without alcohol. It does have a small percentage (less than 1%, but it's still there). And as a former beer drinker who liked craft beers, there are no good ones out there. My husband did the NA beer thing for a while and now just drinks juice or sports drinks.
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby guchuj05 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:28 am

You might try drinking some good seltzer water (i.e. S. Pelligrino). I like the way it bubbles and it reminds of beer. Also I enjoy mixing it with fruit juice, which is my new drink of choice. Just keep pressing forward and you'll realize one day you don't miss alcohol anymore.
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby JayMoses » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:38 am

Non-alcoholic wine and beer are called non-alcoholic only conditionally, alcohol is still holds, but in very small numbers - about 0.5%, roughly the same as in ordinary yogurt. Non-alcoholic beer is made almost the same as the alcoholic one, but then the drink is subjected to double filtration and as a result the alcohol disappears.alcoholic drinks
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby Tommy-S » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:37 pm

Welcome to the site, Jay,

Looks like you have done some research into the subject. I continue to see those who started out on near-beer returning to AA because they drank Alcohol.

For me, Alcohol tried to kill me. Period.

Drinking near-beer or whatever they got out there makes as much sense as playing Russian Roulette with a gun loaded with blanks.

Or better still, like stopping in the middle of a BJ... It ain't going to do what I want, and I'm going to regret starting in the first place.

My life is on the line. I don't take chances with it. I am not sure I got another sobriety in me. But that's just me.

Thanks...Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby mjohns451 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:46 am

Growing up in a very Polish/German lifestyle you learn to appreciate the taste of beer with brats, sausage, dark breads, etc. Everyone might be talking about how there is no way you could appreciate beer for its flavor, but in my life the taste of beer with those food choices is as important as putting butter on toast. Sure you can eat dry toast, but it feels like swallowing sand paper. Everyone is different with different triggers, learn yours and go from there.
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby leejosepho » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:33 pm

mjohns451 wrote:... Everyone might be talking about how there is no way you could appreciate beer for its flavor, but in my life the taste of beer with those food choices is as important as putting butter on toast ...

My own palate is not as "sophisticated" as that, so to speak, and I say that respectfully, but it has sure never forgotten the taste of my favorite brew.

Water is certainly best for me here where the weather can be quite hot, but I have found a certain mix of fruit juices that can keep my palate from being bored while I keep my body hydrated.
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby someoneinaa » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:03 pm

from the point of view of an allergy, it would be analogous to eating a chocolate bar with nuts in it. Your throat wouldn't swell up, if you only had a "little" ?

when does the chamber explode?

besides, AA offers a whole, new life. Not a substitute.

all for the taking of 12 simple steps!

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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby PointBlank » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:06 am

my sponsor once told me "drinking non-alcoholic drinks is like going down on your cousin. It tastes the same but you know it's just wrong."
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby leejosepho » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:43 am

PointBlank wrote:my sponsor once told me "drinking non-alcoholic drinks is like going down on your cousin. It tastes the same but you know it's just wrong."

Straight to the point, and welcome to e-AA!

I like the story of the guy who told Johhny H. how many "near beers" it had taken to get drunk, then Johnny said something like, "You just must *not* be an alcoholic since no self-respecting one would ever even think about wasting so much time and money getting drunk!"
=======================
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time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby Chris6197 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:38 pm

My life is on the line. I don't take chances with it. I am not sure I got another sobriety in me. But that's just me.


This is the line right here.

Sure I could try a N/A beer. And maybe it won't trigger the obsession I'm so grateful to be free from...but maybe it will, then what?

So, if that is the wager, wouldn't you think the reward is a little small considering the risk?
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Re: "virgin" drinks and non alcoholic beer...

Postby becksdad » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:43 pm

Doc, I respect what you do, but I gotta say, for me, trying to unlearn alcoholism would be death. It would be like unlearning diabetes.

As for NA beer or virgin drinks..... what's the point? I have come to believe that if I were to have a desire to have a "semi-real" drink that won't get me drunk, then I am on a real slippery slope. If I were to view a glass of water as virgin vodka, then there is something seriously and dangerously wrong with where I am coming from in recovery.

During the course of the last 38 years, I have been drunk, I have been dry, and I have been sober. Dry is horrible. Sober happens when we treat the disease of alcoholism and begin the road to recovery. Just my 2 cents worth, for what it's worth.

Thanks, Ed
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