I like being sober too much to take any risks of any kind

well, at least she comes right out and asks the questions …

Carbell (day 22):

My sober challenge is a big discussion amongst work colleagues and some recently recommended alcohol free wine and beer. Are there any particular pros and cons in your view? Would it be partly elongating the addiction and best avoided? Or would it keep persistent ‘have a drink’ pests off your back?” … Also, how many people go back to sensible drinking after 100 days and how many quit completely?


me, I personally don’t like alcohol-free drinks. but only because I don’t want my brain thinking it’s getting alcohol. I prefer tonic or other drinks, and not in wine glasses.  now this is just me, and maybe I’m being super scared, but I don’t fuck with wolfie. I don’t want to bait him in any way.  Once I bought apple cider in little bottles and my brain went “oh cool, corona!” and I promptly gave the bottle to my husband.  Mr. Belle says “but it’s alcohol free!” and i said “my brain is not that smart.” I know that others feel that these sorts of substitutions are fine. So i’ll say this: do what feels safest and best for you. Some people really rely on the fake stuff, but me I’m just too chicken … and I like being sober too much to take any risks of any kind 🙂

and from what I’ve seen from sitting in this chair, is that no one goes back to sensible drinking after quitting (i think literally my unofficial reported statistics are 1 in 671 people). If we wanted to quit in the first place, it was probably for a good reason 🙂 Did you see yesterday’s micro-email? it was about this exact subject of why we quit. If you’re not on the email list, do that here. While some people do relapse after the challenge (i.e. they ‘try drinking again’), they often email me and restart counting days at 1 after a period of ‘drinking research’ … it’s heartbreaking to watch, as some people admit that they’ve been ‘researching’ for years before they can get even a few days sober again. Hugs from me.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • So I posted earlier that I have NA beer – one – every day. But I just realized that I am out of them and now it’s 5:00 and I decided if I went out in this freezing cold weather for a fake beer, that was really bad sign of it being more of mental crutch than I want. Decaf, anyone?

  • I tried O’Douls at a Christmas party, and I recognized almost immediately that it was a bad idea. It just made me want the real thing. The bridge is too short.

  • In retrospect of my attempts at moderation, I can say the heartache, time and health were not worth it, not even a little. I would start with a bottle of wine, drink one half of it, the other half the next night. Right away I already lost 2 days and nights consumed with thoughts about this wine. The third day I would buy 2 bottles just to be sure I have enough at home. Within a few days I was back to buying a case of wine, then might as well have vodka for bloody marys, then I was right back to the dark hole where I had started or usually worse. I have tried non alcoholic wine as well. The problem is I felt major triggers from the ritual of choosing the bottle (the liquor store I went to had about 30 different NA wines), opening a bottle, pouring it in a wine glass. . .Eventually I was frustrated and angry with fake wine. I thought I’m an adult woman, I’m in control, I can have savor just one glass of the real stuff, I’ll buy a more expensive bottle so I’ll drink it slowly, “This time it will be different”. Then I was right back to the beginning of this comment. Over and over. 111 Days today of not doing that over and over!

  • Hi Caro,
    Kind of the same story for me. Am on day 55 and once in a while I hear Wolfie talking about a Leffe Blond (special beer) on day 101, or some champange to celebrate being sober for so long. Kind of funny really but also dangerous. I tell him very firmly that on day 100 I will sign for 180 days. And then for a year. And does he really think I will spoil my alcoholfree life for a lousy Leffe? It works for me. He keeps talking about day 100 and indeed my ‘reward’ (a bottle of poison! To celebrate I don’t drink this poison any more:-) but first thing in the morning day 100 I will mail Belle to go for 180 days and Wolfie will have to swallow it. Good luck, and don’t let Wolfie trick you into spoiling your good work.

  • I’m nervous of the people who badger you to drink too. I agree that your decision must be your own and you should do what makes you comfortable, but don’t be too preoccupied with them. It’s not your job to make them comfortable 🙂

  • OK, so I am really glad to read this stuff; not about the non alcoholic drinks but about the moderation. I am on day 75. I know I can’t moderate. But lately, after about a 30 day period of sober being relatively easy I have now been thinking endlessly about “rewarding” myself on day 101 with a bottle of really really good wine – and then going back to sober for another 100 days. Now, I KNOW this is stupid, stupid, stupid but this idea keeps popping into my head as I approach day 100. So, somebody out there tell me how to get that voice to quit saying stupid things to me….

  • Carbonation is king. Club soda with a lime or flavored La Croix sparkling water is my drink of choice. I have heard of the NA beverage causing a slippery slope problem with friends in the past, so I am going to avoid them.

    • My friend’s brother did the same after his one year anniversary. He vomited in his drunken sleep and died at 30 years old. Don’t think about it anymore. You have NOTHING to gain from it and everything to lose. This is harder than childbirth, and just as worth it.

  • I’ve never tried non-alcoholic anything, I want the real stuff so I’m not even going to try the fake stuff…I think it would just make me crave the real stuff more. I couldn’t look at my wine glasses without wanting a drink so I packed them up and put them in storage. That’s what’s working for me so far…

    • I’m with you! I cannot do without my fizzy water! a splash of cranberry juice and a lime doesn’t hurt, either. It looks real, tastes awesome, and I ALMOST don’t miss what’s NOT in it.

  • I think if we REALLY think about it, we probably all tried to moderate before we quit completely. If we could successfully moderate then we probably wouldn’t be concerned about our drinking to being with.

    As to N/A beer, I used it as a “crutch” I guess, or a tapering off for a few weeks at first, but in the long run it was too close to the “real” thing for me and made me miss drinking more. Haven’t had one in 5 or 6 months now. I think it depends on the person and what you drank before.

    • I am going on day “14” of the challenge. I have built quite an arsenal of N/A drinks. At this point in my journey I have found that changing up my selection has helped me when I get to that point in my day when I am used to reaching for a drink.
      I watched the American football playoffs last weekend and had non-alcohol beer on hand, it worked for me and I loved the feeling of being cleared headed as I watched my team lose.
      I love how I am feeling and know that for “Me” moderation is not an option.

  • I’ve done plenty of ‘drinking research’ having gone through various amounts of sober periods before, from a few days to several months. In my experience I’ve never managed to reach ‘sensible drinking’ and I now understand enough about myself to realise that if I could moderate, I would. It’s been tough to get to grips with the voice in me telling me after a longer period of sobriety that ‘I’m okay now’ and that ‘I can handle it’… because so far it’s not true!

  • I’ve been trying to drink normally for years. Never seems to happen for me, regardless of the days I rack up. I always end up going back to the same behavior. As far as nonalcoholic beverages, totally depends on the individual. I have no problem with a nonalcoholic beer, but it never was my drink of choice. Now, once my husband made me a champagne cocktail using nonalcoholic champagne, and it sent my senses into overdrive. I happen to love champagne and was a bit shocked by my reaction. So, I’ll have a nonalcoholic beer, but nothing else. I do like making mocktails with fruit juices and seltzer water, etc. and enjoy drinking them in pretty glasses. I have too many beautiful pieces of glassware and I’m not willing to give them up or not use them. Plus, using them doesn’t seem to be a trigger for me or else I guess I would have to reconsider using them.

  • And, Carbell, it cannot be about keeping “have a drink pests” off your back. No choice can be about them. Those folks are just jealous and want you back in the fold so they don’t have to worry about their own drinking problem.

  • I have my tonic and lime in a wine glass, it’s more a prop to go along with the others and I’m not the least bit tempted to put anything in it but tonic and lime. I think the taste of alcohol free wine is barfable, not a word but you get it. Occasionally I’ll have an alcohol free beer with pizza, but since we only have pizza once a month if that, it’s not too often. I was never a beer drinker anyway. I’ll be 180 days on Friday, ‘whatever works’. When I sip my tonic from the wine glass it’s like–up yours Wolfie!

  • I never liked nonalcoholic beers when I used them to “cut back” but now that I am past the first very hard days (Day 80), I enjoy one a day. It’s my 5:00 – you’re having a drink and I’m having “my” drink. And you know what I like best about them? When I’m finished with one, I feel just as good and clear as when I started and I don’t want another. If only real beer worked that way for me! I often drink club soda from a wine glass. It’s my way of being festive. And festive doesn’t mean slurry anymore – it just means festive. Happy. Socializing.

    I’m a big advocate of “whatever works.”

  • My 2cents …I tried non alcohol beers more than once! Since I stopped I’ve never done it again; they’re too easy to reach out for a real one once the taste was there. So for me I don’t touch them.

    I did the stop start goes off scale stop etc etc!! For me only way to stop is to stay stopped.