Near Beer

I bought some O’Douls last night for the campfire. I was debating it all day. Then I sort of got excited. “Yea I can feel normal”.
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Then right before opening, I got a bit worried. Would this mess me up? Not meaning would it get me drunk, but would it make me want real beer? Or at least make me want it more than I did before? Is this a slippery slope? Will this be my gateway to relapse?

My friend was actually saying more things than I was to make me doubt this decision. “Are you sure you want to do this? It says 0.5% alcohol?” I pointed out it says LESS than 0.5% alcohol. But I got carded when buying it. If I need to legally be 21 to drink it, is that little tiny bit of alcohol enough to do something to me?

I opened it. I asked him to toast me with his real beer. He said it seemed we were toasting my sobriety goodbye. I took a sip. I said “mmmm that tastes good. Uh-oh. Too good. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.”
He laughed. What did I mean?
I started to get worried. The O’Douls tasted good. Better than what I remember Bud or Coors or what I thought of as “crappy” beer to taste like. Is that only because I have not experienced the taste in 4 months? Or was it that tiny percentage of alcohol seeping into my body? Was that “less than 0.5%” running to my brain and announcing to the cells “it is only a small few of us now but we will return!!!” I really started to panic that minuscule bit of booze was going to make me tipsy. Good thing I did not need to drive anywhere.

He told me if I admit drinking near- beer on my blog, I am going to get reamed. I told him my sober bloggers are not like an AA meeting. The people are more supportive. Then I said I did not care if anyone bitched. I didn’t care if they judged me. THIS IS MY BLOG! This is for me to get sober. And I also decided I need to write about it in case anyone that reads it had a similar experience or was considering non-alcoholic beers.

We finished our beers and went to the campground bar. It was finally open. Since it is not really the season yet, they only open on weekends. It was closed our first two nights. He wanted to check it out. It was empty. We ordered some fries from the bar. They didn’t have alcohol-free beer so I got a Coke. He joked “see! First near-beer and now you are going back on your soda-free policy.” I told him I needed the caffeine. This bar didn’t even have coffee or hot chocolate.

I thought we would each get a drink, check out the lame bar, and go back to the campground. He ordered a second beer. I did not understand why pay for a beer at the bar when he had a new 12 pack of cans in the cooler. Then again, I might have done the same in my drinking days. Social drinking, even if no one else was in the bar, was more fun. Maybe he liked having bartenders to validate his drinking than just dry me? The bartender asked if I wanted another Coke. I joked “sure, I am not driving.” She laughed and said I was a cheap date. I finally convinced my friend to go back to the campsite after his second beer. And honestly, I was feeling left out by drinking Coke. I wanted my fake beer.

We had a good night. We grilled hot dogs again. I roasted marshmallows. And I made S’mores. He did not eat any because he is not big on sugar. I told him maybe that is why he drinks weak beer. We tried to grill Jiffy Pop but failed to read that it should not be cooked over an uneven flame like a campfire.
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(Also he did not take off the paper label on top of the container. I don’t think he did that cause he was drunk. I think it was because he is a guy.)

I drank four bottles of O’Douls. He went through a lot of cans of Bud. He got drunk. I made comments how weird it felt to have four bottles and not feel even buzzed. It felt great! I said it felt like I took a superpower pill to keep me from getting drunk. This would be awesome for drinking games in college. “Why does that team keep winning at beer pong?”
“Oh they are chugging O’Douls”.

We have two bottles of near-beer left. I put them in his fridge. His roommate might toss them. “Ew what the hell is this shit in my fridge!” Or they might keep them for next time I visit. Or maybe they will drink them while drunk and desperate. “Hey… yea… think this will help keep us drunk?”

So in conclusion of my near-beer experiment, I am glad I did it. I need to do more research. I am not going to drink this all the time nor make a habit of it. I am glad I did not drink it in the first month or three because I think the association to real beer was still there. Maybe I needed to rid my body of all the traces of alcohol after 20 years of drinking to be able to tolerate O’Douls? I still prefer to drink ice tea now but I think I could handle non-alcoholic beer if I felt the situation suggests it.

Next I might try non-alcoholic wine. But maybe I will wait until I am in Napa or similar wine country.

Mistake 130- My friend was telling me the story of the first time we kissed. I was drunk. There is a photo of us making out on a table. We made out in the taxi the whole ride home. I do not remember any of it.

I had a lot of people staying at my house that weekend. When we got home, he fell asleep on the couch. (Aka passed out.) One of our friends tried waking him up to say I wanted him upstairs. He was too drunk to care. Then I had sex with another friend. I do not remember anything with that other friend at all.

I told him it sounds like we both made drunk mistakes that night.

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