What is your take on “non-alcoholic” beer?

by Cindy
(Billings, MT)

My husband just got out of alcohol rehab (30 day in-house treatment) and has been trying to find things that he can enjoy at social settings. He tried O’Dools last weekend at a friends BBQ and coincidentally (or not) had a couple days following of major cravings for alcohol.

I have to think it was the O’Dools, although he would like to think it was the change in exercise as he had been walking / jogging every day through and after rehab and had hurt himself the day before and not walked / jogged for several days. He thinks it was the lack of endorphins from the hard exercise, however, I am thinking it was the fact that there is a very small amount of alcohol in “non alcoholic” beer and after having SEVERAL, it equates to about half a regular beer.

Can you please weigh in on this for me. I am trying to be supportive while still looking into the causes in an effort to avoid these in the future. He is doing SO well and is in SUCH a good mental spot that I hate to jeopardize it with social settings.

Thanks!! Cindy


I would have to agree with you, Cindy. Non-alcoholic beer is not something you should drink if you are alcohol dependent and are trying to abstain from alcohol. There are two reasons for this:

1. Non-alcoholic beer contains, as you rightly point out, a very small amount of alcohol. Although the amount is minuscule, it is still enough to induce cravings in someone who is an alcoholic.

2. Non-alcoholic beer tastes like beer, and this taste is enough to make the alcoholic crave more.

Your husband stopping his exercise may have played a factor in his cravings returning but, in my opinion, drinking non-alcoholic beer will have been the major trigger.

My advice to him would be to stay well clear of non-alcoholic beer (and non-alcoholic wine) in the future. I know of a couple of people who have returned to full-blown active alcoholism after drinking so-called non-alcoholic beer/wine. It just isn’t worth it.

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