sober woman drinking kombucha outside at a wood table
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Can You Drink Kombucha if You’re Sober? Why This Popular Drink is Controversial.

Can sober alcoholics drink kombucha?

In the sober world, there is a lot of back and forth about things like kombucha, kava, CBD, etc. When it comes to these “gray area” substances, the fundamental question is whether or not they violate a person’s sobriety.

We’re going to specifically address the kombucha question. Is it okay to drink?

jugs and bottles of kombucha for sober people
is kombucha okay for alcoholics?

What is kombucha?

Let’s start with what kombucha is.

Kombucha is a fermented tea that most likely originated around 220 BC in China. These days, it comes in a variety of flavors, but inherent in all of them is the sweet and sour, vinegary taste.

How do you make kombucha?

Kombucha is made from sweetened green or black tea that is fermented with a kind of tea fungus called SCOBY, which stands for “symbiotic culture of acetic acid bacteria and yeast”. The ingredients are combined and left to sit in warm temperatures to ferment.

The yeast and bacteria feed on the sugar and release carbon dioxide which gives kombucha its fizzy properties. The entire fermentation process typically takes 1-2 weeks.

What are the health benefits of kombucha?

Why does everyone rage about kombucha?

Well, the fermentation process changes the polyphenols of the tea into new organic compounds. These are supposed to be great for our gut health.

The healthy bacteria in kombucha and other fermented foods can also help with our mood, stress levels, weight, and food cravings.

That being said, don’t expect kombucha to be some miracle beverage. It is not.

different varieties of kombucha
is kombucha safe for people in sobriety?

What are the risks of kombucha for sober people?

The fermentation process can cause the drink to become alcoholic. Beer and wine both become alcoholic via the fermentation process.

Standard kombucha in stores contains 0.5% alcohol or less – not nearly enough to get you drunk. But that is only universally true for commercial brands.

Home-brewed kombucha often has a higher alcohol content, around 3%, which is generally not suitable for someone in sobriety.

Sober people should always check the label on kombucha.

There are alcoholic kombucha varieties available in stores. These are often clearly labeled and sold separately from their non-alcoholic counterparts. But that’s not always the case, so it’s important to read the labels.

Apply this principle for kombucha sold in bars and restaurants as well. Always ask the alcohol content of any kombucha before ordering.

Deciding whether to drink kombucha if you’re sober.

On its face, commercial kombucha is completely fine for sober alcoholics, healthy even! But it’s important to make an informed personal choice.

Some people in recovery find the low alcohol content triggering. If that’s you, then you should avoid it.

The slippery slope comes into play when we talk about kombucha that has 1-2% alcohol content. At those levels, it is possible for a sober person to feel some of those old familiar tingles. Will it get you drunk? No. Will it knock you off your sobriety game? Maybe.

sober woman drinking kombucha outside at a wood table
Should you sober alcoholics drink kombucha?

Risks of Kombucha for Sober People and Alcoholics

Your standard grocery store brand of kombuchas like GT or Kevita are not going to get you drunk. In fact, they might be a good alcohol alternative. They’re also great if you want to control your sugar intake.

People often crave sugar when they quit drinking and kombucha can help combat those cravings.

However, there are some people who report feeling weird or even slightly buzzed after drinking a bottle of kombucha. It depends on the individual. If the bitter, fizzy qualities of kombucha make you want to drink alcohol, then you should avoid it.

People also get caught up in the purity scale of sobriety. If there is a minuscule amount of alcohol content in something, is it off limits?

It’s a personal choice.

You should do whatever keeps you sober. If your sobriety is defined by a total abstaining from alcohol, in any quantity, then don’t drink kombucha.

If you’re not that strict and it doesn’t make you want to drink, then enjoy! Ultimately, whether you should drink kombucha is a personal choice.

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