Are Non-Alcoholic Drinks Beneficial for People in Recovery?
From sparkling grape juice to “near beer”, there are a many different non-alcoholic options for people who want to abstain from alcohol. There are a few reasons why someone would want to reduce their alcohol intake or cut it out completely. People who enjoy the taste of a certain drink but want to avoid the negative effects of alcohol might turn to an alcohol-free cocktail instead of the real thing. For drinkers who intend to drive a vehicle, non-alcoholic drinks are a much safer option because they have little impact on the cognitive skills that you need to drive. However, for people on a journey of recovery, the benefits of these drinks are often outweighed by their drawbacks.
What Does Recovery Usually Include?
While there is no standard definition of “recovery” in the addiction community, there are some definitions that allow us to understand the process. It is often defined as a process of improved physical, psychological, and social well-being, and health after having suffered from a substance-related condition.
Our alcohol recovery program is tailored to meet your individual needs and most programs incorporate an abstinence-based approach, where people avoid engaging in addictive behavior in order to heal from addiction. Especially in cases where any addictive behavior would be harmful, and for people who are likely to relapse, recovery must include abstinence from addictive substances. People in recovery may want to switch from alcoholic drinks to non-alcoholic drinks so that they can reduce their alcohol intake. Despite this, there is some evidence to suggest that these drinks have the potential to derail your recovery efforts.
Should Non-Alcoholic Drinks be Part of Your Recovery Process?
Non-alcoholic drinks can be a useful tool for people who want to lower their alcohol intake or avoid drinking altogether. If you have a history of addiction, however, these drinks may be more harmful than helpful, and there are two main reasons why:
- “Near Beer” is still Beer
Ironically, some non-alcoholic drinks contain small amounts of alcohol. These trace amounts are enough to trigger a relapse for someone in recovery. “Near beer” is remarkably similar to the real thing; because of this, just the smell of non-alcoholic beer is powerful enough to trigger cravings and relapse in recovering alcoholics. For this reason, it is often best to avoid these drinks when in recovery. A glass of water, juice, or soda will be your best bet when you are on the path to recovery.
- You May be Hindering Your Lifestyle Change
To stay sober and avoid relapse, it is important to work towards a lifestyle that is free of alcohol. This means swapping out your old behaviors with new ones that support your sobriety. You must also seek to create new relationships with people who can support you on your journey of sobriety. Even when you drink non-alcoholic drinks, and especially if you drink with people who encouraged you to drink in the past, the act of drinking may have you repeating the same behavioral patterns that were harmful to you previously.
The Final Verdict
If you or a loved one are in the process of recovery, it is best to avoid drinks that try to mimic alcohol. Our counsellors are trained to create a recovery program that is tailored to your unique needs and this program will likely include abstaining from these drinks completely. This is a great opportunity to explore the non-alcoholic beverages that don’t mimic alcoholic drinks such as juices, mocktails, teas and sodas. You might discover a newfound appreciation for these drinks or at the very least, a new beverage to sip on at social events after you have left our facilities.
People who are in the aftercare stage of our recovery program are supported for as long as they need it. We are here to walk with you on your path to recovery even after you have left Heritage Home- reach out to learn more by calling our toll-free line at 1-888-999-1968.