Why newly sober parents should avoid mocktails

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Why newly sober parents should avoid mocktails

If you’re a divorced parent who’s a recovering alcoholic, your spouse may have gotten full custody of your children. You may only have visitation rights and perhaps only supervised visitation. None of that is unusual – particularly when a parent is newly sober. It takes time to convince your co-parent, the court and even your children that you can be a responsible parent with whom your children are safe.

One way to do that is not just to avoid alcohol but “drinking culture” in general. That can be hard to do. It seems like it’s everywhere. In some professions and companies, getting together for drinks after work is expected. The only way to see some of your friends may be to meet at a bar. 

Mocktails create a slippery slope back toward alcoholism

Many people who are newly sober find that “mocktails” make it easier to navigate social situations. These fruity drinks sans alcohol, made and served to look like the real thing, can prevent intrusive questions about why you’re not drinking and help you feel like you’re part of the party.

By reinforcing old habits, however, such drinks can also be a slippery slope back to the real thing. That’s why recovery experts often advise against them. 

Mocktails can broadcast the wrong message

It’s also wise to avoid mocktails, alcohol-free beer and similar drinks if you’re seeking to regain access to your children. Kids may not understand the difference between your “mocktail” and what you used to drink — and they may believe (and report to others) that you’re still drinking. That could land you back in court and put both your current visitation and future custody rights into question.

In addition to staying away from the mocktails in front of your kids, it may be wise to avoid them completely – and perhaps avoid the bar and party scene. It’s too easy for someone to snap a photo of you holding what looks like a mixed drink and post it on social media for all – including your co-parent and the court – to see.

Demonstrating your commitment to sobriety means developing new, healthier habits. This can make you an excellent role model for your kids – even if you’ve let them down in the past. It can also help you gain the rights you need to become a more involved parent. 

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