I Can Drink O’Doul’s If I Am In Recovery, Right?
By: Lakeview Health
Published: February 17, 2021

“It’s just an O’Doul’s, it’s OK. Relax, it’s no big deal. You are overreacting; I’ve been in recovery for two years now.”

This is a common statement to hear from people new to sobriety. How often does it really plague people with lots of time in recovery? For many, this is a dilemma after treatment: Whether or not to drink so-called ‘alcohol-free’ beer.

Addiction Manipulates

So you completed 90 days of alcohol rehab and think that you have this thing beat. Now what? You return home to the same friends, bars, parties, and lifestyle. But you feel different, you are going to be able to withstand temptation and drink a non-alcoholic beer. Even though you heard from staff at the rehab center that you should stay away from old behavior patterns, you decide that you won’t fall into this trap. You’re having fun now. You are hanging out with old friends in old places but feel as if you still have things under control with your O’Doul’s. This false sense of control creeps back into your life. Then you start to miss meetings and instead meet your friends at the bar after work. Addiction manipulates you into believing you are in control. Some people in recovery continue to drink O’Doul’s feeling justified in their behavior because it is alcohol-free beer. Some may eventually go back to their alcohol of choice requiring drug and alcohol rehab once again. Be careful of this trap and understand what it truly means to be in recovery.

Rules of Recovery

You will eventually find what works best for you in your recovery program. You should know that the O’Doul’s brand contains 0.4 percent alcohol, according to the Anheuser Busch website. This means that even though you believe that O’Doul’s is alcohol-free, it actually has some alcohol in it. When you are in recovery, socializing around alcoholic events should not be a priority, nor should you drink alcohol-free beer. As a person in long-term recovery my view on this is that because there is still alcohol in it, even though it’s minimal, I stay away from anything that might trigger that might lead my disease to wanting more.

Some simple rules to live by when in recovery are:

  • Don’t pick up old habits.
  • Change people, places, and things that are part of your former lifestyle.
  • Attend meetings regularly.
  • Have a support network for dealing with temptation and to be honest with.
  • Celebrate your recovery using a sobriety calculator like this one.

Don’t allow old habits to get in the way of your recovery. Remember that there is no shame in asking for help. Learn how to help a friend or family member and always consider getting substance use disorder treatment if you find you need it.

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