With the Fourth of July coming up, that means there will be
plenty of parties to go to, with barbeques, casual backyard games of baseball,
and probably booze of some kind. While most people don’t really think twice
about it, anyone who is recovering from substance abuse, including alcoholism,
is put in the awkward position of being one of the only people at a party not
drinking something with booze in it. Of course, some recovering
alcoholics choose to drink non-alcoholic beer, for a variety of reasons.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of drinking non-alcoholic beer and other
non-alcoholic beverages at the family Fourth of July picnic.
Honestly, we all know that getting drunk isn’t the sole reason people drink together. They drink together because they’re together. It’s all about fitting in, and drinking a non-alcoholic beer – even if there’s no alcohol or just traces of alcohol in it – will make you feel like one of the gang. It can’t hurt to have a few non-alcoholic glasses of suds, especially since the key ingredient – alcohol – is missing.
On top of that, some non-alcoholic beers actually taste good and make for gourmet pairings with traditional July 4th staples such as sausages and burgers. A list of seven non-alcoholic beers from Esquire Magazine includes German imported beers such as Bitburger Drive, which has a flavor on par with many high-quality brews. One of the realities of life as an alcoholic is that something which many people consider normal – drinking a glass of wine or having a beer with a meal – is missing. It’s nice then, to be able to enjoy the same thing everyone else is enjoying for a change, without the hazard of putting actual alcohol into your body. There’s something to be said for feeling normal, especially if you’ve been going through a hard time and just want to do things like everyone else.
It’s wishful thinking that you can put a bottle of beer-tasting liquid to your mouth without it somehow triggering the same urges that led you down the wrong path in the first place. Besides, many non-alcoholic beers contain small amounts of alcohol; they’re not actually alcohol-free, just close to it. For some people, even a non-alcoholic beer with 0.2% ABV might be enough to trigger a relapse. Nothing, not even feeling accepted by the rest of the group, or feeling a bit normal again, is worth that risk. You have worked too hard and made too much progress without alcohol in your life to just give it up and start all over from the beginning. Maybe drinking a non-alcoholic beer will be OK in the moment when you’re with family and friends, but what happens when you leave the picnic and that one can of O’Doul’s made you a bit nostalgic for the liquor store you used to shop at, or the bar you used to drink at? Is it really worth it? Only you can make the correct decision, but if you have your doubts, say no.