How to Handle Near-Drunk Experiences - Page 2

By Emily McCombs 05/10/11
An accidental sip of beer, cooking with wine and swigging Near Beer are just a few things that fuel anxiety among the newly sober. But do they matter?
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Can a non-alcoholic drink trigger alcoholism?

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Yet Gonzalez, who has seen many addicts he works with be triggered by such incidents, thinks this can be an extremely dangerous experience. He says the accidental imbiber should access their sober support system right away by attending a 12-step meeting or talking to someone like a sponsor about their feelings. 

Anthony, who has also accidentally taken a drink, says it’s important to read labels carefully, because some things marked “non-alcoholic” actually have small amounts of alcohol in them. And Emma is now careful to keep an eye on the server when ordering at bars and restaurants and having someone else taste the drink first if she’s unsure.

And what about the alcohol hidden in your Listerine? This is another area where addicts report a variety of experiences. While some say that they’ve freshened their breath without issues, others have avoided the issue at all costs. “Look, they took away my mouthwash in rehab,” says Casey, a 27-year-old actress. “I figure that’s as good a reason as any to avoid it. Tom’s of Maine makes an alcohol-free mouthwash, so I just use that.” 

Chef Anthony echoes this sentiment. “I know people who have abused mouthwash,” he says. “If you’re newly sober, or really feel like you want to drink, don’t have things that contain alcohol around your house at all. The fact is that sometimes they can open the door for people who then end up relapsing. Of course, it ultimately depends on the individual.” 

Emily McCombs is the Managing Editor of Before that, she was the managing editor of the men's site, where she created and starred in a weekly web series "A Woman's Perspective." Her writing has appeared in BUST, Elle, Marie Claire, and She is in need of at least five different recovery programs, but has been free from drugs and alcohol for two years. She also wrote about transferring addictions.

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