Are Zero-Proof Beverages Triggering in Sobriety?
I quit drinking in the summer of 2013, and when I did, I wanted to replace my summer wine and occasional beer that I enjoyed with something that tasted the same.
Or at least I thought I did until I tried my very first no alcohol added beer and realized that it was great because it tasted like a *real* beer. And not great, because it tasted like a REAL beer.
In this post, I'm sharing my experience swapping out non-alcoholic (n/a) versions of my favorite alcoholic beverage to help you if you feel like you're unsure what to do because you may be triggered to drink the real stuff.
A trigger by definition is a stimulus that elicits a reaction.
If smelling and tasting an n/a version of your favorite alcoholic beverage may trigger you to drink, I'm glad you're here. And I know how you feel.
Don't worry, I've got you!
I'm also going to share a few tips to help you decide if zero-proof drinks are for you and some non-alcoholic beverage suggestions.
What is a Non-Alcoholic (N/A) Beverage?
There are a couple of different terms for these refreshing drinks: mocktails and zero-proof.
The definition of zero-proof is a beverage with no alcohol included.
The definition of mocktail is non-alcoholic mixed drinks meant to replicate the presentation and complexity of craft cocktails, just without the alcohol.
Is there a difference between the two?
I wanted to know, and here is what I found out, there isn't much difference.
Anything you drink without alcohol is n/a; however, some drinks are made to taste like the alcoholic version, which I'm talking about today.
Call it a mocktail or zero-proof - your choice!
Non-alcoholic drinks are trending, which is spectacular news for anyone who doesn't want to imbibe in alcoholic beverages.
Eight years ago, when I was newly sober, there were not nearly as many alcohol-free options as there are today.
I tried O'Douls and Fre wine and champagne during my first month of sobriety.
I remember my first Christmas without drinking. I tried a "mimosa" (faux-mosa) with the Fre Champagne and orange juice, and it tasted pretty close to the real thing.
Some of my family members were drinking the real thing, so it made me want it even more.
I didn't want to test my sobriety, so I had one glass that was all I wanted (not like the real stuff at all) and switched to diet coke.
On December 25, 2013, I decided to steer clear of anything that tasted like alcohol for one reason: it made me want the real stuff.
I thought, am I the only sober woman out there who wants the real stuff when she drinks the faux stuff?
No, I have plenty of sober friends who feel the same way as me.
And I know many sober friends who drink mocktails and zero-proof beverages and have never felt triggered to drink.
In the middle of life, we start caring less and less about what other people are doing and more about what we're doing.
So, bottom line, when choosing to drink a non-alcoholic version of your favorite alcoholic beverage, do what works for you!
What Are the Benefits of Drinking N/A Drinks?
Having something in your hand and glass when you are sober in social settings helps you feel included when other people are drinking.
And if you make it a beverage you genuinely enjoy and feel "special," it will make your transition into alcohol-free socializing better.
Most of the women I work with don't drink socially as much as they drink from home. I was that gal who drank (a lot) while sitting on the couch watching tv.
So, when you are triggered by the "drinking hour," pouring a zero-proof beverage into your glass can help you satisfy your taste buds and create a new habit.
Also, you can enjoy a really delicious drink, feel relaxed or celebratory and not experience the after-effects of alcohol.
No hangovers, yes, please!!
No matter your age, it's important to feel included and like you have something to look forward to at the end of a long day.
How to Decide if N/A Beverages are for You?
The whole point of this post is to help you decide if you want to partake in drinking an alternative that tastes like your favorite alcoholic beverage. To do that, keep it simple.
Choose a non-alcoholic version of your favorite alcoholic version to see how it makes you feel. Think of this as an experiment.
For example, if you enjoy drinking margaritas, you can mix up a virgin margarita to see if you want the drink without the alcohol.
From there, you can decide by asking yourself: do I feel triggered to drink the real stuff? Am I going to drink the real stuff by drinking a faux-version?
If you answer no, go ahead and enjoy!
Here are a few liquor replacement companies that produce fantastic alternatives:
If you feel triggered to drink an alcoholic version and you answered yes, you can stop drinking.
In sobriety, it's a-okay to pour your drink down the sink. Also, you can cleanse your palette by brushing your teeth or eating a cookie. wink wink.
The realization that I had when I tried my first faux-wine was if it tastes like alcohol and I'm trying to get sober, is this the best option?
It was a no for me, but that doesn't mean it should be a no for you.
I'm in no way trying to talk you into or out of a non-alcoholic beverage. You are the only one who knows if drinking one is right for you.
And since I don't partake in n/a versions now, here is an excellent article of someone who does.
There are plenty of alternatives to drinks that don't taste like alcohol.
Non-Alcoholic Choices that Don't Taste like Alcohol
If you decide that the zero-proof "cocktails" are not for you, you can choose to make your own "special" beverage by using sparkling water as a base.
My daily beverage intake includes lots of water, black coffee, Perrier, Sparkling ICE water, San Pellegrino Blood Orange, and more water!
My other favorites are LaCroix and Bubly water, and Clean Cause.
There are so many flavors of sparkling water to choose from too!
My favorites are black cherry, blackberry, and anything orange flavored.
With sparkling water as a base, you can add fruit, bitters, and anything else that fills your cup (or glass).
Speaking of glass, you can use your favorite wine glass for drinking your alcohol-free beverage.
Find things that work for you that make going alcohol-free fun and enjoyable!
Lastly, some celebrities have started their own alcohol-free friendly beverage companies.
Enroot is co-owned by Brad Pitt, and Katy Perry is the co-founder of Del Soi.
I think it's super cool that these celebs are promoting an alcohol-free lifestyle. The more the merrier!
If you are concerned that a n/a version of your favorite wine or beer will trigger you to drink, experiment with sparkling waters first. There is no need to "test" n/a drinks at the beginning of sobriety or when you feel like it may trigger you to drink the real stuff.
If you are not triggered and love to experiment with zero-proof options, enjoy yourself!
Either way, please know that you are leading the way to normalizing living alcohol-free, and that is something to be proud of!
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