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So what'ya drink instead?

Posted: 01 Sep 2008 21:35
by Jemima
Those of you with more experience, or 'experiments' than me might be able to comment. I was at a function on Saturday where beer was served, having turned down the beer (Hooray :D ) and after people had picked their jaws up off the floor, and after I had then assured everyone that 'no, i'm NOT pregnant!!" :evil: I was offered a non-alcoholic beer. The notion puzzled me somewhat and in the end i drank soda - but the concept stayed with me all night.
Then I was at the supermarket today, and saw this non alc beer. I bought two cans, with the thought of maybe they might help if i get a terrible craving ...... then i thought actually they may do more harm than good. I fully expect them to taste like absolute piss. If they are foul, won't that just re-kindle my love affair with EAF-the real thing! Won't the sound of the can/cork (non-alc wine) the foam, the smell take you back????
On some of my previous attempts i would drink tonic or soda out of my large wine glass just to give me the 'feeling' of having my wine(s,s,s) but had to stop that because i found it just made me 'miss' (i really mean remind me) more.
Whether striving to abstain, or wanting to gain control, either way we have to change past behaviours and self talk, and our relationship to alcohol. Should we treat this like a 'break up'? You know, where you put all his stuff out on the footpath, but keep some things around to remind you what a bast**d he was even when you know in a weak moment you could take him back?
Or clean break? No reminders, no pretending you're drinking.
I think Allen Carr's book implies it should be clean break. Just like with smoking - no nicotine patches.
Could 'alcohol substitutes' lead to relapse??

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 01 Sep 2008 22:03
by Jan
Hello Jemima Billabong,
Long time since we chatted. Are you OK, fine and dandy?

You have been doing some thinking! That's not something I excel at as Jaycee will tell you. I avoid it like the plague. However as a courtesy to you, despite you being an Australian, I shall give your question some thought! <:)>

I think that a clean break is best. The substitutes will only remind you that you are not getting the buzz your brain expects, not getting pissed - and that can only be frustrating. Whereas if you have an Orange Juice and Lemonade you can feel good and virtuous, saintly, and when all around you are slurring their words and picking fights, you can feel powerful. Powerful is a good description of how it feels to be a non-drinker in the pub amongst those that do imbibe. (Oh - and slightly smug too!)

I'll get my coat.
Auntie Jan XX

High Hopes has such a wonderful way with words and manages to say exactly what I would have liked to have said. She's a thinker you see. Vive la difference. Big Hug to you High Hopes. <:)>

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 01 Sep 2008 23:26
by Redexplosion
Hey hey - what's this all about then, I like it.

Hi Jan by the way, long time no speak. All good I can tell. It total agreement with you Jan. I abstained for the entire month of July and 'missed' (how we can miss it I don't know it's not a dead family pet, it's a killer) a beer in the garden with friends and tried the cobra 0% stuff. Tastes great and you really wouldn't know the difference except, you do. Where's the old familar numbness, the buzz. Well it aint there and you aint gonna get it. So after I drank these 4 beer flavoured things I opened a bottle of wine because I was dissappointed and felt cheated. That was me back on the old merry go round. Chill out with something refreshing and healthy and feel good about yourself. I know that when I drink now it isn't for the taste. The last thing I want is the taste.

Canary sweet dreams I hope, I'm hoping for a bit of sleep tonight myself.

Until next time, Much love - Red x x x x <:)>

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 02:10
by Mike
Hey Jemima

This is a COOL thread. Brilliant idea. And if HH likes it, it MUST be a good thread.

A long time ago I used to work in Saudi Arabia. When I first arrived at the apartment I was sharing with a fellow Brit he handed me a can of Kaliber alcohol free beer. I tasted it and laughed. Didn't like it at all. My new friend was quite affronted and said "Listen pal, when you have been out here a few months without the real thing, that stuff tastes pretty good." He was talking about beer, not sex. Anyway he was wrong. I never got to like the taste of Kaliber.

But there are some great tasting very low alcohol or zero alcohol beers around. In the UK we have Becks, Holsten, Bittberger, and Cobra to name but a few. But check the labelling for the very small print and avoid anything stronger than 0.05% alcohol. Zero alcohol like Cobra is best. Be careful, some low alcohol beers can be 0.5% or more. In Spain recently I found a Cerveza sin (without) alcohol which in fact contained 1% alcohol. As a general rule of thumb the better it tastes when you first give up, the higher the alcohol content. In a way my friend in Saudi was right. Once you have stopped for a few months most non alcoholic beers taste pretty good.

The AA line on drinks is to avoid drinks which look like alcoholic drinks. One of the reasons for this is in case you mistake your drink for someone else's and have a slug of double G & T by mistake when you are supposed to be drinking lemonade. If you applied this rule too rigorously you would never touch Diet Coke in case it was "contaminated" with Bacardi. Some people would never touch Diet Coke anyway, ask Jan. They worry about aspartame. It doesn't worry me too much. Diet Coke is my favourite pub or restaurant drink.

Some people find their caffeine intake increases when they stop alcohol. Then they start to go for the decaf version of everything. AA purists quickly graduate to decaf, but I make the teas and coffees at AA and I know most go for the full leaded option. It helps you stay awake in meetings !

Nice thread Jemima. I look forward to reading more contributions.

Love, Mike x

PS I'm not sure about the clean break. I did that skiing once.

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 07:52
by C F
I havent tried alcohol free wine or beer so I can't comment on its taste. Up until now its never something that I have wanted to do!

I think I would prefer not to have it as, like HH says, you have to go down the booze aisle to get it. I went shopping yesterday and didnt even think of going down the booze aisle :D

I prefer to drink diet coke or J2Os are really nice. I like tonic water too.

Take care everyone <:)>

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 08:20
by chrissie
After I stopped drinking I decided that the built in wine rack in my ktichen looked sad and empty (had for a long time to be honest as nothing stayed in there for long) so I went round the supermarket and bought lots of nice looking non alcoholic bottles. Also bought some non alcoholic sparking wine (didn't actually know such a thing existed before!) but I didn't like it much, it was a bit too sweet. I mostly like the elderflower drinks. I save opening a bottle until later in the evening, about 9.30/10 ish when my son has gone to bed and I sit down to watch TV or come on here. I put it in one of my nice wine glasses and it feels like a treat.

I was having really bad headaches after giving up - even at 5 weeks, so I went to the doctor - she said they were tension headaches, and I had been using wine as a way to relax every evening - I was having the headaches because I hadn't found another way to unwind. This made sense, so I have been trying to unwind without the alcohol, hence the 'ritual' of a nice glass of elderflower or something similar - did find a nice cherry and elderflower in Morrisons but haven't opened that one yet.

Keeping the wine rack stocked with nice alternatives is helping me, whenever I go into a different supermarket I have a look to see what I haven't tried before. At first I felt a bit bad spending £2 on a soft drink but realised that was stupid logic when I spent a lot more than that on wine!

Chrissie xx

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 13:40
by Bupster
Good thread. I think we drink for a reason, whether alcoholic or not - sometimes it's as simple as thirst, sometimes because you're in the habit of having a cup or glass in front of you, sometimes for relaxing, sometimes for complex reasons of comfort and dependence and irresponsibility. I know in the evenings at home I drink to prepare to go to bed. Now I drink chamomile tea or ovaltine (most of the time!) because they're relaxing and they put me in the "going to bed" mood. I've built up a new habit, so that after my first cup of chamomile I don't really get much in the way of cravings as I've already slipped into that "going to bed sober" mood.

In restaurants if I'm not drinking alcohol I drink mineral water, because I drink to have something to do with my hands and to help digest the meal and because I'm thirsty. Orange juice might clash with what I'm eating, but water won't. In pubs if I'm not drinking alcohol I sometimes graduate to orange juice and soda or cranberry juice. Usually I leave early because I'm not thirsty any more and other people are too drunk.

Speaking only for myself, I don't really drink alcohol for the taste, though I know I like the taste of some drinks more than others. I drink it for the inner warmth that loosens my inhibitions and turns into inebriation. If I can stop halfway at the slightly loosened inhibitions point then that's great, but I doubt that I'm ever going to savour a thimbleful of wine for its exquisite flavour. I don't see the point of drinking non-alcoholic beer or wine as I don't think the flavour is nicer than soft drinks, and they don't quench my thirst any better than soft drinks. I think they're a waste of money. I also think they might be a way of pretending to drink while not being able to, which for me seems a bit dangerous and maybe dishonest, and for me, lying to myself about my drinking is absolutely the beginning of the end. But this is only speaking for me.

I also absolutely love the elderflower drinks! I think if you've been a drinker it's quite hard to find a non-alcoholic drink that hits the spot, that isn't too sweet or too plain - elderflower and apple cordial from Tesco's is lovely!

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 16:20
by Jemima
Hi everyone,
thanks alot for your thoughts - a real relief!
Red, I think you hit the nail on the head for me when you mentioned being cheated by not getting the numb buzz - that was what i was thinking would happen to me - it would make me 'stumble' down memory lane.

Hi Aunty Jan - I miss you!!!
HH - you always put it better than anyone else.

Mike, well you just put it, don't you! ;) I read the time of your posting - 4am!? I hope everything is ok. I wish you all the best with your sponsor.

Well i am enjoying new drinks - it helps me with my new 'good' habits. I am definately going to try the cranberra and soda - sounds lovely. I've become an ice-tea fanatic, and have also discovered that apparantly tonic water can actually be consumed without gin! Crikey! Who knew?

So why don't we exchange our favourite drink recipes? I'm going to buy a juicer I think. Maybe I can make the mocktails at the late lounge?


Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 16:22
by Jemima
Have just read my message back. I am terribly sorry for the 'crikey'. I guess it had to happen sometime.
Auty Jan is going to throw a fit.

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 22:45
by Jan
Aha Jemima Billabong,
How lovely to see you. I am glad you are doing ok - well fantastically OK actually. You are a star. <:)>
The Crikey is permissable. Its an Olde English word I'm sure - the Aussies just nicked it to try and sound posh. Makes me laugh every time!!

You are lovely Jemima Billabong.

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 22:55
by Anna
Hadn't actually noticed this thread and now have 'War and Peace' to get through mate.
Hope I'll know what the hell to put in my stubbies once I've finished it!

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 03 Sep 2008 17:12
by Mike
Hi Jemima

Don't worry. My last post here was at 2am. You are two hours ahead of us. I am an insomniac since I stopped drinking.

Here's another drink to try. Shandy made from non alcoholic beer and lemonade.

And here are some things to avoid. Food containing alcohol especially at the Festive Season. Christmas pudding and Christmas cake dripping with brandy. Beef bourbuignon made with red wine and brandy, puddings covered with whisky ice cream, sherry trifle, complementary liqueurs after meals in restaurants. The list is endless.

And when you said I just put it, what did you mean exactly ?

And Anna. I speed read War and Peace. It's about Russia. (I think Woody Allen said that first.)

Love, Mike x

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 03 Sep 2008 17:28
by byron
Gosh Mike I never gave what to avoid much thought before! I have to admit to eating food which I have cooked with wine (I love my chicken in white wine sauce) and have had sherry trifles - love them and also have eaten chocolate liquores. Never thought of them as being the same as what I was drinking or of them being a threat. I felt ok after - never felt odd and they didnt make me feel like drinking - possibley because I never associated them with drinking.

Food for thought - (excuse the pun :oops: ).


Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 03 Sep 2008 18:09
by Kitty
Hi Julie, Mike, Jemima :D

I cook with wine now, I didn't in my early days of sobriety, but as I don't believe in the powerless over alcohol thing I will buy wine for cooking - can't do a decent risotto without it! My local shop is two minutes down the road, sells a great selection of wine and is open till 10.45 pm so if I decided to drink it's close to hand anyway. Also my husband drinks so there's usually something knocking about. Also doesn't cooking burn off the alcohol? Or is that a myth?

I think Kaliber is truely horrible but have liked the other non- alcoholic largers I've tried. Again I did avoid them in my early days and to be perfectly honest I'm not sure I have a totally healthy attitude towards them as the bottles feel so comforting.
Mike it made me laugh when I saw you found cerveza sin that contained alcohol - typical Spanish!

Kitty xxx

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 03 Sep 2008 18:13
by Bupster
I have a vegan friend that took all her own food to Spain - apparently even if you ask for a vegetarian omelette you're likely to get ham in it as the Spanish don't think it really counts :D

Can't imagine not cooking with wine :shock:

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 03 Sep 2008 18:28
by Kitty
Hey Bupster :D
Yes they've not quite got their heads round that whole concept yet. The idea of being a vegie in in Spain is depressing enough, but a vegan!

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 03 Sep 2008 20:16
by Mike
And in the US of A you are not a drinker if you only drink beer and/or wine. Neither counts as alcohol. If you drink spirits, then we are talking about alcohol. The general public have no knowledge of safe drinking limits. The family doctors are certainly aware. There are plenty of on line courses on alcoholism provided by the American Medical Association, and AA is pretty strong in the States so the problem exists. AA started in the US.

But regular beer and wine is OK. Let's all emigrate shall we ? Plenty of room on skid row in any North American town.

Cheers, Mike

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 18 Sep 2008 23:38
by enoughsenough
I was a huge beer drinker

Now, when I really feel like a beer I drink a V8 instead (i.e. cold vegetable tomato juice). There's a few reasons why:

1) V8 satures my taste buds with a silky acidic and somewhat bitter sensation, not unlike a bitter IPA beer.
2) V8 is a source of vitame A & C, calcium, iron and is low in glucide (hey... one juice box is like 2 servings of vegetables)
3) V8 can be found in most bars, clubs and lounges, so if I go out I can always order a "virgin bloody mary" and not only get away with it, but find my vegetable friend that is healthy and always there for me.
4) I started drinking tomato juice because of an urban legend that says that it really does help with withdrawl; it may by psychological but heck, why not.

Cold vegetable tomato juice is not for everyone. It does taste a bit odd and strange and a substitute may not be a good strategy in the long run. I strive to be totally free but until then... bring on the V8 !


Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 14 Oct 2008 16:53
by sobergina
As I have mentioned on another posting I have been sober for 4 years, I now drink Cola as much as I did vodka! What is that all about???

Anyway, I hope you are doing well and that you are still be 'sober'!

Re: So what'ya drink instead then?

Posted: 14 Oct 2008 17:07
by k22
Hi Sobergina.
just came across one of your posts. I don't know if you are new if you are a big WELCOME!! I too noticed that I was drinking a lot of soda. I don't know if it's the fizz or what but I was craving it and drinking it by the liters. I had 6 days under my belt until yesterday so I'm pretty dissapointed in myself today. But there is nothing wrong with getting back on the wagon and trying again. Hope you are having a great day!