Addiction to Sobriety | Non-Alcoholic Beer | Man comparing two beer bottles

A Look At Non-Alcoholic Beer After Rehab

You’ve done it. You’ve moved past alcoholism, including alcohol withdrawal, alcohol treatment, and outpatient rehab. Now that you’re back out in the real world, you’re making an effort to reconnect with lost friends and loved ones.

Unfortunately, most socializing these days takes place at bars, leaving you surrounded by temptation. Beer and liquor aren’t the only drinks to throw back, however. There are a number of non-alcoholic beer options that taste similar enough to the real thing. But are they your friend or your foe after detox?

It Tastes Really Similar

While non-alcoholic beer might not rival the tastes of craft choices, many alcoholics note that it does taste like normal light beers. If you’ve just recently gotten over your alcoholism, this could be a slippery slope. The taste might make you slip into old habits, as taste is among one of the strongest triggers next to smell.

Even worse, you might accidentally grab someone else’s real beer without knowing it. While this doesn’t mean you’ll automatically slip back into alcohol abuse, it could give you the idea that just having one drink won’t hurt you. Before you know it, that one drink will become two, three, four, and then the whole six-pack.

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It Contains Some Alcohol

Even though non-alcoholic beers claim to be completely devoid of the key ingredient, they still contain trace amounts of it. In fact, the regulations in the United States allow these drinks to have up to 1.2 percent ethanol in them.

Unfortunately, even these trace amounts can wreak havoc in patients with end-stage liver disease. Because people with this disorder don’t have functioning livers, high levels of ethanol can accumulate in just a short time. For example, one study looked at a patient who got a blood alcohol level of 57 mg/dL after drinking only non-alcoholic beer. Another study that had breastfeeding women drink 1.5 liters of non-alcoholic beer within an hour found trace amounts of ethanol in their breast milk one to three hours later.

It’s Something To Fall Back On

On the other side of things, you’re probably used to having a drink in your hand while at parties or at the bar. Not having a bottle to hold might be you feel naked and vulnerable, especially if you started drinking to hide social anxiety.

Reentering society after your treatment is imperative to rebuilding your social networks and maintaining your sobriety. If you don’t have friends, you may turn back to alcohol to comfort you. In these cases, if having a bottle of non-alcoholic beer to sip on makes you feel more comfortable, it might be worth the other risks. However, do keep in mind that there are plenty of other drinks you can choose at a bar, such as root beer, soda, lemonade, or iced tea (just not the Long Island variety).

Overall, the risks of consuming non-alcoholic beer probably outweigh the benefits. However, it is up to you to make the choice for yourself. If you have any fear of relapse with that familiar bottle in your hand and taste in your mouth, opt for the water instead.

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