Can Recovering Alcoholics Drink Kombucha?

Apr 2024 Can Recovering Alcoholics Drink Kombucha?

Fermentation plays an integral role in the creation of kombucha. Fermentation is also central to the production of beer, wine, hard cider, and other alcoholic beverages. Does this mean that , for recovering alcoholics, kombucha is off-limits?

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented beverage that is produced by combining tea, yeast, sugar, and bacteria. Various other substances, such as herbs, fruit juices, spices, and preserves, may be added for flavoring purposes.

This drink is sometimes referred to as mushroom tea, though it does not actually contain mushrooms.

While the exact date and location of the first batch of kombucha will likely remain historical mysteries, it is safe to say that people have been making and consuming it for several centuries. Several sources claim that it originated in northern China around 200 BC, while others believe it dates to around 400 BC. 

Does Kombucha Contain Alcohol?

“Fermented beverage” is sometimes used as a synonym for “alcoholic drink.” But is this a correct use of the term? By definition, do all fermented beverages contain alcohol?

When discussing fermentation in the context of kombucha, the answer isn’t as simple as you might hope. Yes, kombucha contains a slight bit of alcohol. But that doesn’t mean kombucha qualifies as an alcoholic beverage. Although sometimes it might.

If you’re confused, that’s understandable. But stick with us here – we should be able to make sense of all this without too much trouble.

Kombucha typically contains about 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). This rate (0.5% ABV) is also the maximum allowable limit for a beverage to be marketed as non-alcoholic in the United States. So a “standard” batch of kombucha will be, legally speaking, non-alcoholic.

However, many people brew kombucha at home, and they may not be as skilled at assessing the fermentation process as they believe. This means that the ABV for home-brewed kombucha could exceed the 0.5% threshold, potentially rising as high as 3%.

Can You Get Drunk from Kombucha?

It would be extremely difficult to get drunk from kombucha, especially if you have purchased the drink from a manufacturer that can guarantee its ABV is 0.5% or lower. 

To consume the amount of alcohol that is present in one standard bottle of beer, you would have to drink eight to 10 similarly sized bottles of kombucha. So, to achieve even a slight buzz from kombucha, you need to have a very low tolerance for alcohol and the ability to drink massive amounts of kombucha.

Can Recovering Alcoholics Drink Kombucha?

There’s no simple answer to questions about recovering alcoholics and kombucha.

For some recovering alcoholics, kombucha could lead to a relapse. For others, this drink poses little to no danger to their recovery. 

Here are a few points to consider:

  • If your definition of recovery includes avoiding even the slightest bit of alcohol, then you should avoid kombucha. 
  • Even if you don’t get drunk from kombucha, other possible effects (such as mild nausea or a sense of relaxation) could trigger a relapse. 
  • Drinking home-brewed kombucha could be particularly risky, as it could contain considerably more alcohol that you expect.
  • If you have reached a point where you are confident that an occasional glass of kombucha (that is confirmed to contain no more than 0.5% ABV) won’t undermine your recovery, you may be OK with this decision.

Given the intensely personal nature of this topic, it may be a good idea to talk to a therapist or counselor (or consult with your sponsor, if you are participating in a 12-step support group) to decide of it is safe for you to drink kombucha. 

What Should You Do if You Think You Are Relapsing?

Alcoholic kombucha is just one of many obstacles that can prevent you from achieving lifelong sobriety. Overconfidence, job loss, relationship problems, boredom, isolation, curiosity, and the onset of certain mental health concerns are among the many other threats that could push you into a relapse.

If you feel as though you are at imminent risk of relapse – or if you have already relapsed – please do not despair. Slip-ups happen. What’s most important is addressing this minor problem before it causes major harm. Here are a few ways to respond:

  • Talk to a trusted loved one. Sometimes, simply giving voice to your fears (or discussing a mistake you made) can help you see your circumstances in a more hopeful light. Instead of remaining fixated on the problem, a simple conversation may help you start to focus on solutions.
  • Speak with a therapist or counselor. If you’re already a client, schedule an extra session. When you are on the precipice (or in the immediate aftermath) of a relapse, a professional’s perspective can make a world of difference.
  • Go to a meeting. Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, and other peer support groups can be sources of vital support throughout your journey. Before or after a relapse, the feedback you receive from others who are working toward a similar goal may be especially valuable to you.
  • Contact a treatment center: If you have already completed treatment, reach out to the facility’s alumni coordinator or admissions department. They can help you assess your risk and determine if returning to treatment is the best step for you. If you haven’t been in treatment before, but you continue to relapse, it could be time to seriously consider enrolling in a program.

Contact Phoenix Rising Recovery About Rehab Options in Palm Springs, CA

If you have been living with untreated addiction, or if a recent relapse has derailed your recovery, Phoenix Rising Recovery is here to help.

Our rehab center in Palm Springs, California, is a safe and supportive place. Here, you can receive customized care from a team of highly skilled professionals. Wherever you are in your recovery journey, we can provide the focused services that will help you achieve your immediate and long-term objectives, so that you can attain the healthy future you deserve.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today. We look forward to answering all your questions, so that you can make the most informed decision for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.