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In Defense of Mocktails

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Magazine Archives
| Spring
2024 |
Volume 3,
Issue 1

In Defense of Mocktails

Remember 15 years ago, going to vegan or gluten-free restaurants? No? Me neither…. But now they are everywhere. This happens when people demand the products they need. Emily Paulson of Sober Mom Squad examines how the growth of the alcohol-free industry is good for us all.

The first time I tried an alcohol-free beer, I was pregnant with my first child. I wasn’t yet a “sober person.” I was just abstaining during my pregnancy, because…that’s what you do! Since it was 2012, the beer was an O’Doul’s. I can’t say this became my new favorite thing, but it did (sort of) fill the desire for the hoppy taste I craved. As each of my (five) pregnancies went by, the alcohol-free options on the market didn’t change much. O’Doul’s never felt like a true replacement for my hoppy pilsners and IPAs and at the time there were zero nonalcoholic sparkling wines available—my true drink of choice. 

 

I mention my love of sparkling wine here because after my fifth (and final) child was born it became a problem. While I had easily been able to stop drinking during pregnancy, sparkling wine eventually went from being a preference to a daily staple and became a huge issue in my life. A few years of alcohol misuse, some liver issues, a DUI, and a laundry list of other consequences later, I landed in AA and started the path to recovery on January 1, 2017. 

 

One of the first things an AA sponsor taught me was that nonalcoholic beverages were BAD. While not everyone in the AA world believes this, it is a commonly held belief in 12-step groups. “You are glamorizing the drink! Glamorizing the beer, the wine, the glass, the ritual, and partaking in activities that were formerly associated with drinking alcohol!” she told me. I shrugged and resignedly accepted my fate. OK. I’ll drink Diet Coke with my steak, I guess. I’ll accept the kids’ beverage menu at restaurants, I suppose. I’ll bring sparkling water friggin’ everywhere. Fine. 

 

 

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