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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5 thoughts on “Near Beer

  1. Wow, interesting experience with the near beer! I remember thinking that I wanted to try it, but than it seemed like, what’s the point, it’s not like I would get drunk, and I didn’t like the taste of beer anyway. But then someone told me that I was better off making a non alcoholic mock-tail instead of drinking near beer, because even the small amounts of alcohol can wake up the cravings, and the mental obsession, and then I am back to the debate, am I or maybe not!! I stay away from everything that might have alcohol in it, I just don’t trust myself with it at all, but I do understand that some people can be ok. So, I usually get a club soda with a lime when I go to a bar (very rarely) – so it looks like gin and tonic!

    I hope that didn’t sound like you were being “reamed,” 🙂 I care, and hope that you are being cautious! Sending many hugs~!

    • Haha no I knew some people would disagree and I appreciate the comment. Like I said, I was worried about that little tiny bit. But I use mouthwash. I will took Nyquil a month ago when sick and that is 23%. I also drink Kombucha (fermented tea) which claims to maybe have 0.5%. I read that some people would warn alcoholics from that. Sometimes I get worried I am “too new” at this sobriety thing to tell anyone anything or know what I should or shouldn’t do. Maybe I will look back on this post in a few months and be like “damn… see that is where the relapse started! You should not have had those fake beers!” I hope not. But that was why I wanted to write about my experience whether others agree or not.

      By “reamed”, I would expect something like when I heard a few in AA “don’t share if you have less than 90 days” or “do 90 in 90 or else you aren’t serious.” It feels some, not all, but some of the people I meet in AA try to shame me into sobriety.

  2. I bought two NA beers at my first concert three months after becoming sober last year. It helped me to feel “normal” at that show. I also remember buying some NA beer for Labor Day weekend. I LOVE beer, and always preferred the strong stuff. IPAs were my favorite. I started my Intensive Outpatient treatment program in October, and it lasted 7 weeks. My treatment counselor told me I could not drink NAs as it was should up in my urine tests. She also told me that it was a bad idea. I haven’t had an NA since. That doesn’t mean I will never have another NA beer…but I wanted to share my experience with you. I understand the need to feel “normal”. Sigh…

    • I never thought of it showing up on a urine test. Did you need to avoid mouthwash and Nyquil? I guess if I go to treatment, I need to stay away from Kombucha also.

      I know professionals would all tell me to stay away. Maybe I am just stubborn. Like you, I loved IPAs. I wonder if that is because my tolerance to weaker beers was high? But I am not going to make a habit of it. Not picking up a 6-pack of NA beer for home. Perhaps I will grab a few bottles at a concert or picnic.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Pingback: Dude…where’s my car! | 365reasons2sober

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