I got drunk last night…on .5% “non-alcoholic” beer!

10 Dec

11:32 am

And I learned SO much! Mainly that, everything I’ve been telling myself about relapse is off-base…when I consider MY physiology. No, drinking again will not necessarily trigger a physical craving, or even a mental one, like before. No, drinking again is not necessarily something I want to do, or will do, anymore to ease my pain or numb my fear. HOLY FUCK. All these stories I’ve assumed and acquired about “this disease” are not necessarily true–for me.

I’m going to be brief, but basically, I accidentally drank what I thought was a non-alcoholic beer last night, and it turned out that it actually had .5% alcohol. And, boy, did I feel it!

After the first half, I felt bad–decidedly unpleasant. Slightly anxious–what’s this unfamiliar feeling going to do to me?–and like my brain was coming unglued–imagine clasping your hands together and pulling them apart. By the end of the beer, I felt fuzzy-headed and a little careless (numb), but that was about it. No real buzz.

The best part? I had ZERO desire for more. I mean, I neither wanted a stronger buzz nor wanted it to go on. I was waiting to come down, if you can believe it! I could liken it to having just taken a shower; I felt clean and cool, why would I take another one? Or, just having eaten a nice dessert; I felt sated, why would I eat more? I had no compulsion–no obsessing, no real feeling at all besides, oh, this is an interesting feeling and it will be over soon, and I’m OK with that. Next?

I have no regrets. No, I didn’t “fall off the wagon;” no, I didn’t “slip.” I MADE PROGRESS. I mean, I feel like this was my own version of harm reduction–and while I’ve wondered about harm reduction techniques as being possibly painful, the overriding feeling I had after this experience was that of freedom. I felt free. I got my fix, I satisfied my curiosity, which, I’ll admit, had been eating away at me for the past 265 days.

Yeah, I felt free. But then, I was like, Oh, FUCK, now what? If I don’t have alcohol, what will be my fix NOW? All this time, I’ve been sort of harboring romantic visions of me drinking wine in moderation “when I’m fully healed.” I never in a million years imagined that I wouldn’t want to!

9 Responses to “I got drunk last night…on .5% “non-alcoholic” beer!”

  1. furtheron December 10, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I stay away from all the “alcohol free” stuff. During my mad times of trying to control/stop I had a few weeks drinking a non-alcoholic beer – bloody stuff tasted awful, gave me worse headaches than the real shit, was hugely expensive as you could only buy it in the pub I went in in little bottles which meant I had to buy two everytime to fill a pint glass so that I’d look normal and finally did nothing to help… sooner or later I was back on the normal stuff just cos it wasn’t worth the effort. One thing it did tell me I never drank for the taste of it, frankly drinking pints and pints of that stuff just proved how much I didn’t like the taste of beer and only drank for the effect!

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 10, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      I actually found it instructive in the opposite way: it reminded me that I DO like the taste of beer over the buzz, and that the buzz last night was something that I didn’t like and didn’t want to repeat anytime soon–my brain has changed, and it just can’t handle alcohol anymore. I could see myself becoming a one-beer-every-few-months kind of person–the kind of person I HATED. That’s not to say wine would be OK for me to try, because even as a drunk, I never really liked beer. xx

  2. sureasimbreathingnoceiling December 10, 2013 at 1:47 pm #


    I had a similar response to drinking that 8 ounces I had awhile ago (although mine was a conscious decision right from the get-go)… I was reminded that I do really love the taste of beer (weird craft beers, in my case) over the buzz. And reflecting on my experience further, I also didn’t feel like I ‘relapsed’ or ‘fell off the wagon.’ That you made progress and aren’t wallowing in guilt hell, let me tell you, I am SO RELIEVED to read someone else have a similar experience.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl December 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      Yeah, no guilt. That’s actually the most cut-and-dry thing about it: even IF I had gotten shitfaced, it’s not about counting days and setting clocks, it’s about learning HOW to stay sober. Experimentation and falls–over fear-based conditioning–are always better, in my book. That’s *my* book, no one else’s. I’d like to believe that there are quite a few ex-drinkers who come back to the bottle and instead of feeling good and the familiar relief, feel anxiety and disappointment instead–it just doesn’t work the way it used to, especially after a continued period of abstinence.

      YEAH, glad you love the taste, too. I love the taste of a few beers, but have never been a “beer person,” so would probably not be inclined to fall off the wagon on beer, regardless. Thanks for your comment! xx

      • sureasimbreathingnoceiling December 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

        Ah. Mind if I steal the “it’s not about counting days and setting clocks, it’s about HOW to stay sober” wisdom? You’ve just articulated what I was feeling earlier today.

      • Drunky Drunk Girl December 10, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

        Steal away!!! 🙂

  3. Carly December 10, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Nothing drove me farther away from AA than the phrase “off the wagon” or the horrible term “relapse”, as though them feeling disappointed in themselves wasn’t enough – they need to add some dirty shameful word that reminds them of failure. Why not just see everything as conditional, nothing is set in stone so how dare someone judge someone’s actions as good or bad. Your not god – who are you to judge. I’ve never drank since I stopped in 2/2011 and to me the whole time since I’ve had no wants to drink, I drank to be drunk, I drank because I didn’t have people around me who seemed to understand the real sober me. Drunk was all we had in common. I’ve found my “real people” since becoming sober and I don’t even remember who the drunk girl I was used to be. The best times of my drinking days, they didn’t happen because I was drunk, they happened and I was drunk. I have never been happier since I stopped drinking – I feel like I know myself, I’m my best friend – as corny as that sounds. Breaking up with alcohol was the best decision I ever made!

  4. glenn December 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I really enjoy your post and in particular two points.
    You identified that you’ve made progress.
    You stated that you felt free.
    What more could you ask for?

  5. Anonymous September 13, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    I have been sober 7 years. I need to be. I am an addict. I take everything to the extreme. My physiology is such that when I take in mood/mind altering substances, especially ones that make me euphoric, compulsion takes over.

    The other day I started drinking Kombucha, the kind you are not carded for because they are supposed to have such a low alcohol content. I quickly found myself in love with the beverage. I thought it was all the great flavors and the fizziness etc, I do love that about it. But I quickly found myself drinking a lot of it. And there is a local brand here in the East Bay sold in most grocery stores that has no alcohol warning on it at all, not even a “trace amounts” warning.

    I am a delivery driver and I had a couple bottles of this brand of kombucha over the course of a couple hours, when suddenly I realized “I am not sober right now…” It was slightly terrifying, but my old alcoholic self was happy. It was terrifying. I am terrified at the moment as this happened last night. From there the compulsion took over. I wanted to know was I really drunk off something that isn’t supposed to be able to get you drunk? I drank several more bottles. Things got really weird. I was drunk. I felt drunk. I acted as I did when I was drunk. Driving was tough. I wanted to guy buy a breathalyzer and find out wtf was going on. I am considering pressing charges against the company.

    Today I am terrified. I feel dread. I don’t consider last night a relapse. I didn’t knowingly pick up my “first drink”. It wasn’t until I was already drunk that I realized that I was “drinking” something that can even make you drunk. Once drunk you cannot be considered to be properly responsible for what decisions you make. The question is now, will I buy the stuff again now knowing full well it will make me drunk. If I do then I will say I have certainly relapsed. IF I drink it again, I will have relapsed. Will I? I am terrified right now.

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