Odds and Sods and 0.5% Beer

I’m aware I haven’t posted anything for a while which is probably no great loss to the world of blogging but in terms of charting my progress for myself I need to put that right and provide an update if only for myself.

In some ways I think I have been avoiding posting because I simply needed a break from writing, reading and thinking about alcohol and associated issues.  It was beginning to feel a little bit too self absorbed and intense so a few days away from that has been good for me.  It’s probably a good indication that the alcohol free business is going pretty well that I didn’t feel the need to write about it. And it is going pretty well.  No great compulsion to drink, no cravings but then no real situations where I would feel the pull of having to have a drink. Yes, I miss a glass or two of wine at night but set against that are the benefits that are definitely now coming through of slightly better sleep, some weight loss, near normal blood pressure and generally feeling a lot better physically and mentally than I did 7 weeks ago.

Friday though will be a challenge as I’m meeting an ex colleague who now runs a small school for young people with challenging behaviour.  She is a drinker in my mould.  She likes to go out and have a drink or 6.  Prosecco is her go-to tipple as it increasingly seems to be for many women of her age (she’s 42) and she really can knock it back. In the past we would meet up – drink, loosen up, swap confidences and have many a laugh. She’s a good friend but she knows I’ll not be drinking and I know it won’t be the same kind of evening.  That said it should still be good fun and I have suggested a meal out as that takes the focus away from just sitting in a pub drinking all night.  I’ve also chosen to meet up in a pub that I know stocks some great Non Alcoholic beers.  These have been a real help for me but I know they are not for everyone trying to stay alcohol free.

On this subject, yesterday I took delivery of months’ worth of alcohol free drinks, some are zero % and some have 0.5% alcohol but that means they can still be officially described as alcohol free.  For me these beers have been a godsend, giving me the taste and feel of beer but without the alcohol kick or desire to start drinking “real” beers and spirits.  I know this is controversial as some see these very low alcohol drinks as possibly leading to relapse but for me this is not the case.  This is a key point for me.  Everyone’s place on the alcohol consumption continuum will be different.  I was never a down and out drunk or someone who frittered away my savings, career and relationships in favour of a drink.  I was a sociable drinker that on many ocassions drank too much.  Most of the time I enjoyed it but I didn’t want to continue to compromise my health and general well being.  These new range of alc free beers FOR ME are great.  I can enjoy the taste (and sorry Naked Mind writer, people can and do enjoy the taste of beer and wine) and it helps one “fit in” at the pub.  The great thing is that some brewers like Brewdog (Nanny State) and Adnams (Ghost Ship 0.5) Screenshot 2019-10-16 at 17.56.27.pnghave made non alc beers that now are good drinks in their own right not some poor excuse of a drink.  Some say they are still alcoholic drinks and it’s true that there is a very small amount of alcohol in some of these drinks (up to 0.5%) but it is such a small amount that it would be near on impossible to drink sufficient to equal even one pint of normal strength beer. We also need to remember that our guts produce alcohol naturally when we eat and digest yeasted products and even the humble ripe banana contains trace amounts of alcohol.  So alcohol is a naturally ocurring substances and I can drink these drinks without feeling the urge to drink real alcoholic drinks. I respect the idea that for some people drinking such drinks will be a “no-no” but for me they are a massive help in staying alcohol free and they work for me.

So Friday will be meet at the pub, couple of Non alc beers or possibly tonic and lime and then a Chinese meal where I shall drink Jasmine tea.  Not rock n’ roll but should be OK.  I know I’ll have the urge to drink but with 7 weeks under my belt I feel confident that I’ll get through the evening.  I’m hoping that the day will come when I don’t just look at evenings such as these and hope to “get through” them but actually enjoy and prefer them being sober.  Time will tell.

Tonight I’m down the pub but playing music so no problems as I never used to drink and play anyway.  I’ll also be with my playing companion who also doesn’t drink.  That definitely makes things easier.

Be interesting to hear what others out there think about the non alcoholic beers now on offer.  One thing’s for certain, the market for alternatives to alcohol based drinks  is growing as is the range of alternatives on offer.  That has to be a good thing.

Cheers!

Jim x

32 thoughts on “Odds and Sods and 0.5% Beer

  1. meenawalia

    Hope you have a great time on Friday. I hardly drink so would prefer my alcoholic beer only.
    You should be so proud of yourself.Really hats off to your will power..👍

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  2. ceponatia

    Reminds me of a funny skit I saw years ago about 2 college guys who don’t know that O’Douls is non alcoholic and brag that they puke before they even get drunk. Lmao

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  3. sobrietytree

    Hey Jim, glad to see another post from you! As you likely know already I’m a huge fan of the non-alcoholic or 0.5% beers and/or wine for getting through times that might otherwise be difficult without them. My favourite is a 0.5% wine that says “without alcohol” on it, I remember I was devastated to find out it had alcohol in it but Anne of Ainsobriety commented on that post of mine to say that even orange juice can have that much alcohol in it.
    I don’t ever drink nearly as much of the “non-alcholic” wine as I did of the alcoholic wine; I never need to set limits. To me this actually proves that This Naked Mind author is right, it’s the alcohol in the drink that keeps us wanting more, not the taste. I enjoy the taste of the non-alcoholic wine. But I don’t feel the urge to keep drinking it most of the time. Anyway just a fun little point of contention from the peanut gallery over here. ;))
    Congrats on settling back into being free from alcohol, sounds like it’s going really well. Happy for you playing music at the pub!!! So much fun.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Just back from playing in the pub. Nice non alc beer, enjoyable evening and can wake up without a hangover- can’t be bad. i’ve yet to experience a decent non alc wine so be grateful to hear your recommendations. I know there’s a guy in Australia who makes wines but now cannot drink alcohol and he says he’s nearly perfected a good non alc wine. Must try and find out his name. Oh and burger buns are apparently full of alcohol! strange but true. x

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      1. sobrietytree

        Ha! Burger buns! No wonder they taste so good. ;)) lol! The wine is Bonne Nouvelle, it’s French and it’s the ONLY decent wine I’ve found so far. Red. I’ve tried the rosé, no good for me. Same with white. But then I was always a red or sparkling kind of girl. Unfortunately for me the AF sparklings don’t seem to cut it at all. They all taste too sweet. But the red Bonne Nouvelle has a slight edge on a smooth base which makes it most like alcoholic wine imho. Will love to hear about your friend’s australian wine if/when you try it.
        Glad to hear you had a good night out, and no hangover is always a bonus! xoxo

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  4. limetwiste

    What instrument do you play?😮
    Agree that writing here let’s us keep tabs on how we’re doing.
    I don’t see the appeal of the AF drinks, but that’s me. I am into sparkling water. Make my own with soda stream straight from the fridge. Love it.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi , I play guitar and try to sing. Just play for the fun of it really. For me the newer AF beers give me the feel and taste of beer without any of the effects of alcohol and I usually only want one, like tonight, then I usually switch to tonic water and try and get high on the quinine😉

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  5. nomorebeer2019

    sounds pretty rock n’roll to me !!! 🙂 I haven’t had a goon NA beer yet – I’m saving myself for when I have a social life again lol but I used to love Brewdog IPA and the Elvis Juice was ok so hopefully the Nanny State lives up to the alcoholic ones 🙂 It’s great to hear from you (lol or rather read from you) Jim and see that you’re doing so well 🙂 Have fun on Friday 🙂 xx Anne

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Anne
      Brew dog now make two AF beers, nanny state and Punk AF. Both are really good, if you disagree I’ll eat my hat ( and it’s a very expensive Tom Waits hat so please say you love at least one of them!). Of course without the alcohol they won’t carry the same taste but Brewdog have changed the AF beer landscape with these beers. Even when I was drinking I’d occasionally have one.

      Hope things feel more settled for you at the moment. I’ll try to have fun on Friday, thanks . Jim x

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      1. nomorebeer2019

        ooooo I’m excited to try the Punk AF (They’ve already won me over just me with the name) 🙂 I’ve been thinking of hosting some kind of social gathering at my house, I’ll have a look at the store here in my American town and see what their options are. ^^ yaaaay

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      2. Jim Simmonds Post author

        Well see if they have infinite session. I think it’s made in America. Had it once in a bar here but not found it in the supermarkets. I was very impressed with it, really tasty! I look forward to my invite!😉

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      3. Jim Simmonds Post author

        Oh and I have this idea that you , me and Nadine between us could concoct a brand new AF drink that will be like nothing else, will take the world by storm and make us millionaires. I’m in positive mode!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Addy

    I’m glad you have posted – I was beginning to worry things weren’t going well, Keep up the good work. You are doing so well. I have never tried non- or low-alcoholic drinks, so am not best placed to comment, but it does strike me that, if they are that low in alcohol, they are merely a placebo. You might just as well have a pint of orange juice or cola. I suppose they look (and taste?) like beer, so make you less conspicuous. On the other hand, so many people these days frequent pubs and have to drive afterwards, so often go for soft drinks, so you would not look out of place at all. You are doing incredibly well to get to 7 weeks.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Ah thanks for your concern Addy. All is good at moment. I think the decent AF beers actually are good, proper drinks, plenty of taste and even some people that drink are preferring these new AF drink. The good thing is that unlike regular beer where you’re chasing the alcohol buzz , with the AF beers it’s all about taste and often one is enough. The other night when playing in a pub I had one AF beer then lime and tonic. Very enjoyable. Yes I still miss the. Beer and wine but for me these AF beers have really made things a lot easier and pleasurable. Thanks for your support. Hope things are good with you? Jim x

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  7. boozebrain

    Hi Jim,
    The non alcohol beer market is picking up here in Australia. One of this countries biggest brewers – Carlton United – recently released Carlton zero and it almost tastes like a real beer. It’s selling well. I think if they work for certain people then grand. Enjoy.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      I think it’s an exciting time in terms of the creation of grown up alternatives to alcoholic drinks. Just tried a AF “spirit” infused with herbs and botanicals called Seedlip and it’s really good. Pubs are at last waking up to the fact that non drinkers want more options than just coke or fruit juices when they go out.

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  8. Dana

    I tried a few AF beers, but realized having a soft-drink was more tasty and less expensive! However, I do drink AF beers when I make a “Chelada”. Chelada is slang, short for the Spanish word “Michelada,” which many debate is derived from the phrase “mi chela helada”—in English, “my cold beer.” … Generally speaking, a Michelada is prepared like a Bloody Mary (tomato juice, vodka and spices), however, beer—traditionally Mexican beer—is used instead of vodka. When I have a couple regular beers (as you know, I still drink) I will switch over to a Chelada, with AF beer. It satisfies, and helps me to curb drinking he regular stuff. Cheladas aren’t for everyone, but I sure enjoy them! Fantastic job Jim, seven weeks into your new life, my how time flies! dp

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Dana , I shall be trying a Chelada make no mistake! I have the AF beers just need some tomato juice. Might have to start a little folder with all these drinks ideas and recipes! 🙂 Thanks Dana and I think you’re doing a great job too!

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      1. Dana

        Thank Jim! But, no, I can’t say a great job, I can say a better job. Great would be in-line with what you are doing, “no drinking at all.” Don’t get me wrong, I’ve managed long stretches, 5+ months at one time being my best, since I started my blog, just haven’t gotten to the point of “never again.” I still know I want to be there one day; working my way there! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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