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Drinking Mocktails During Recovery

Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

The social scene can be a minefield for someone in recovery. Whether it’s a birthday party, a work gathering, or even just dinner with friends, alcohol often takes center stage. It’s easy to feel left out or pressured to drink when everyone else is clinking glasses.

But what if there was a way to participate in the social aspects of drinking without the risk of relapse? Enter the world of mocktails! These delicious, non-alcoholic concoctions offer a refreshing alternative for those on the path to sobriety.

Can Mocktails Help You Stay Sober?

The answer depends on the individual. Mocktails can be a powerful tool for recovery, but it’s important to understand both the benefits and potential drawbacks.

Benefits of Mocktails:

  • Feeling Included: Holding a beautiful, flavorful drink in your hand can help you feel like part of the social circle. You can still raise a toast, join conversations about the drink, and avoid awkward questions about why you’re not drinking.
  • Managing Triggers: Mocktails can take the edge off social situations that might otherwise trigger cravings. The act of mixing and creating a drink, the familiar clinking of glasses, and the visual cues of a colorful beverage can all be comforting substitutes.
  • Healthy Alternatives: Many mocktails are packed with fresh fruits, herbs, and sparkling water, providing a refreshing and hydrating boost compared to sugary cocktails or alcoholic beverages.
  • Exploring Flavors: Recovery doesn’t have to mean sacrificing taste! Mocktails offer a chance to explore new flavor combinations and discover delicious non-alcoholic drinks you might not have tried otherwise.
  • Celebrating Milestones: Mocktails can be a fun way to mark special occasions during recovery. Whether it’s a birthday, promotion, or simply another sober day, a delicious mocktail can add a celebratory touch without the risk of relapse.

Potential Drawbacks of Mocktails:

  • Triggers for Some: For some people in recovery, the act of holding or even smelling a mocktail that resembles an alcoholic drink can be a trigger. It’s important to be honest with yourself and avoid mocktails if they make you uncomfortable.
  • Focus on Replacing Alcohol: The goal shouldn’t be to find a perfect “replacement” for alcohol. Mocktails are a tool, not a substitute. Focus on enjoying the flavors and social aspects, rather than trying to recreate the feeling of drinking.
  • High Sugar Content: Be mindful of sugary syrups and juices used in some mocktails. Opt for fresh fruit purees, sparkling water, and natural sweeteners to keep your mocktails healthy and hydrating.

Making Mocktails Work for You:

If you’re considering incorporating mocktails into your recovery journey, here are some tips:

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how mocktails make you feel. If they trigger cravings or any negative emotions, it’s best to avoid them.
  • Communicate Openly: Let your friends and family know you’re in recovery and that you’ll be enjoying mocktails. They’ll be happy to support your choices.
  • Get Creative!: Experiment with different flavors and ingredients. There are endless possibilities when it comes to crafting delicious mocktails.
  • Focus on Quality, Not Quantity: One or two well-made mocktails are plenty. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with others who may be drinking heavily.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: The more comfortable you are creating and enjoying mocktails, the more they can become a positive part of your social life in recovery.

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

  • Support Groups: Connecting with others who understand the challenges of recovery can be a huge source of strength. Look for local support groups or online communities.
  • Therapy: A therapist can help you develop coping mechanisms for dealing with social situations and triggers

Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination. There will be ups and downs, but you are not alone. Mocktails can be a valuable tool to navigate social situations and celebrate your progress along the way.

Help is Available, Don't Hesitate

  •  If you or someone you care about is struggling with gambling or substance abuse, don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact New Hope Healthcare Institute at 866-806-1027 to learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs and supportive resources.


In early recovery, avoiding situations that might trigger cravings is often recommended. This might include skipping mocktails, especially in environments heavily centered around drinking. However, if you feel comfortable and confident, mocktails can be a helpful tool.

While these spirits contain no or very minimal alcohol, they might still trigger cravings for some people due to their taste and resemblance to alcoholic drinks. Choose mocktails made with fresh ingredients and natural flavors if you’re unsure.

Many mocktails can be packed with nutrients! Opt for fresh fruits, herbs, sparkling water, and natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar. Skip sugary syrups and juices whenever possible.

  • Communication is key! Let your friends and family know you’re enjoying mocktails and appreciate their support.
  • Become the mocktail master! Experiment with recipes and find delicious, unique drinks you’ll love to share.
  • Focus on the fun! Mocktails allow you to participate in the social aspects of drinking without the alcohol. Enjoy the conversation, laughter, and connection with others.

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