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Should You Drink O’Doul’s If You Are In Recovery?

It’s important to have plenty of sober activities to participate in on your recovery journey, as well as an addiction counselor or therapist to turn to for advice along the way. As addiction and recovery are becoming a larger part of the mainstream conversation, non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails are widely marketed to a sober-curious audience. Other products such as CBD oil and kratom are also controversial topics in recovery circles, as many people benefit from using them therapeutically. Of course, these products have pros and cons, which must be investigated as you find your path forward.

What Are O’Doul’s? 

Non-alcoholic beers like O’Doul’s are a way for beer lovers to enjoy a beer-like beverage with their friends while remaining sober. Non-alcoholic beverages have been around since the 1920s prohibition era in the United States when selling alcohol was illegal, but O’Doul’s was the first company to launch a non-alcoholic beer in the 1990s when sobriety began to gain public interest. Since then, other major companies including Guinness and Heineken have created their own non-alcoholic beers as the demand for non-alcoholic beverages continues to grow.

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    Do O’Doul’s have alcohol content?

    Yes. Although O’Doul’s and other non-alcoholic beverages are a good option for many, it’s important to know that O’Doul’s still technically contains a small amount of alcohol, and may not be the wisest choice for people who are in recovery from an alcohol use disorder. Here are some facts about O’Doul: 

    • O’Douls beers have a 0.4% alcohol by volume (ABV)
    • O’Douls are fermented like a regular beer and most of the alcohol is removed during a unique distillation process
    • O’Douls are made from malt, hops, water, and high fructose corn syrup 
    • O’Douls smell, look and taste similar to regular beer 

    Can I get drunk drinking O’Doul’s?

    No, not really. It is very difficult to become intoxicated drinking O’Doul’s because the alcohol content is so low – you would have to drink enormous quantities in a short period of time to feel any effects. 

    Do all non-alcoholic beverages contain alcohol?

    No, some are entirely alcohol-free. Some companies sell alcohol-free alternatives that are made from botanic infusions and cane sugar, for example. Non-alcoholic beer, however, can legally contain up to 0.5% alcohol, so make sure to check the label for alcohol content. 

    Why are O’Doul’s and other non-alcoholic drinks controversial?

    Because non-alcoholic drinks – even the ones that don’t contain any alcohol at all – can act as a trigger for people in recovery. Sometimes environments like bars and parties act as a trigger, but so does the presentation and taste of an alternative drink itself - even if it doesn’t contain any alcohol. From a psychological perspective, people in recovery are often vulnerable to triggers like these, which is why many recovery experts do not recommend consuming non-alcoholic beer or spirits.  

    How We Can Help You?

    At Magnified Health Systems, your healing is our passion. Each member of our team has direct experience with trauma, substance abuse, and mental health diagnoses, which gives them greater empathy for and understanding of what you may be going through. We believe in your ability to make a change and all of us at Magnified Health Systems are here to help you live your best life. Whether you require ongoing support and guidance or are just getting started, we make it easy for you to make progress on your healing journey – contact us today. 

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    Medical Advice Disclaimer

    Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

    This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

    This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

    Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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