Every Wednesday afternoon I go to this thing called Aftercare. It's more of a group therapy-ish session than anything. But people refer to it as lots of different things including a free, extended outpatient program. There are a few of us who have been coming back for multiple years and then there are the new people just graduating and there are the people who come intermittently.
One of the 'intermittent' people came this past Wednesday, which is what usually happens after the big holidays. We all reported in about our holiday and if we had any particular struggles as did this woman. She shared that she went to many Christmas parties where alcohol was served and that she had a hard time not drinking at them. She has about 9 months of sobriety. She went on to share that her friends were extremely kind and understanding and even went so far as to have non-alcoholic wines and beers available for her to drink, so she could 'fit in'. Ugh. She also went on to say that even though she was never a beer drinker and didn't like the taste, she drank the non-alcoholic beer.
So many red flags come up in my head when I hear people share things like this. The first one is, to each their own. Some people can drink those things and be okay. But, the other things that come to my head are the plain fact that non-alcoholic beer, however minimal, has alcohol in it. It's evident in the fact that minors under 21 can't purchase it. And, is that the only way you can fit in? With a drink in your hand? Is going through that 'old' ritual leading you closer to a drink? Isn't that sort of romancing the kind of life that got you to this point in the first place? And, if you never drank beer in the first place and didn't like it, why drink the non-alcoholic version?
It was a good group, lots of great discussions and opinions on the topic. For me, I don't engage in those sorts of things. Sure, I am occasionally places where a majority of the people are drinking, but it doesn't happen too often. And, the "near beer" is a little too close to home for me. Primarily, because it has alcohol in it but also because it's not safe for me. One day I might feel like it's okay to drink regular beer and whatever I can do each day to keep me as far from that thought as possible is what I'll do.
As for her, she actually had no idea that there was alcohol in the non-alcoholic beer and has no intention of drinking it again. Scary thought!