All recovering addicts face the worry of relapse, and will usually be taking steps to avoid it. This means they will probably avoid certain places, and may get rid of all alcohol or drugs from their home. They will stop socialising with friends who continue to drink or take drugs, and they will avoid going to parties and other social gatherings at which alcohol will be present.
Some temptations are easy to spot, such as the alcohol cabinet in the home. It would make sense to clear this out or get another family member to put a lock on it so that you will not be tempted. The medicine cabinet is another obvious source of temptation and one that should either be locked or cleared of all mood-enhancing medications. But what about the alcohol in food and elsewhere?
Alcohol is found in many places, not just in bottles. It is often contained within foods and, despite the quantity being small it could still affect your sobriety. Even a small amount of alcohol could trigger a relapse, so it is important that you are on the lookout for these hidden temptations.
Even if the quantity of alcohol in a particular food is not enough to trigger a relapse, the idea that you are consuming alcohol may be enough to give you a thrill and could cause a compulsion to have a drink. Below are a few examples of food that may contain alcohol:
- Foods cooked in wine or spirits – Many foods are marinated or cooked in alcohol, and while it is easy to avoid this at home, you may not realise in a restaurant or when you are at someone elses home. You will, therefore, have to ask about whether or not food has been cooked in alcohol. You do not have to explain that you are a recovering addict you just have to make sure the waiter knows you cannot have alcohol under any circumstances. Saying you are allergic to alcohol will ensure he or she takes this issue seriously.
- Foods flavoured with alcohol There are a number of uncooked foods available today that have been flavoured with alcohol; these can include sauces and dips.
- Flaming desserts Flambé desserts are set alight after being doused in alcohol, so should be avoided at all costs.
- Flavourings and extracts You may find that some flavourings and extracts contain alcohol or are made to mimic the taste of alcohol such as rum. Even if the flavouring does not actually contain alcohol, it should be avoided if it tastes like it, as this can be enough to trigger a relapse.
- Sugar-free sweeteners Some sweeteners, especially the liquid versions, contain alcohol, so it is best to stick to powder form sweeteners.
- Wine vinegar Wine vinegar is not something you should have in your home because the look and smell of it could be enough to trigger cravings.
- Non-alcoholic drinks Non-alcoholic drinks may sound the perfect choice for you, but they should be avoided. These drinks often do not contain zero alcohol but, rather, less than 0.5 per cent. And the fact that you are having a non-alcoholic beer or wine may be enough to trigger a craving for an alcoholic version.
- Energy drinks Although energy drinks do not contain alcohol, they do contain high levels of caffeine this is something you need to avoid, especially if it affects your mood.
If you are serious about your sobriety, you need to ensure that you avoid temptations wherever they may be. Although some may be more obvious than others, it is usually the hidden temptations that can cause problems. Be alert to anything that could put your recovery at risk and take steps to avoid them at all costs.