I am a grown woman. I’m a wife and a mother. I make my own car payments. I have a job. So why do I feel guilty if I drink alcohol?

A few years ago, I was at my friend’s wedding reception. My husband, son, and I shared a table with two childhood friends. My friend Mandy has been sober for five years, but my friend Steve had just got out of rehab. The celebration included an open bar and a champagne toast for the bride and groom. Servers circled the room, asking each table if they would prefer a bottle of sparkling cider or champagne. We got one bottle for the whole table.

Of course, I spoke first and ordered the cider. That was me controlling and co-dependent without recovery. Today, I still don’t often drink alcohol for these four reasons:

1. Religious Guilt

Driven by fear, my parents demanded I never drink. Our strict Baptist church pushed the same alcohol abstaining agenda. This guilt and shame keeps me trapped in that of a seven-year old little girl mentality.

2. Survivor’s Guilt

I hated watching my friends Mandy and Steve struggle with alcohol. When we were all in high school, they both experienced life threatening accidents and arrests. Each time they decided to quit drinking, I did too. I thought I was being supportive. Was this actually early signs of co-dependency?

3. Guilty Pleasure Guilt

Over the years, I tried a few drinks here and there. I didn’t care for beer or wine, but I finally found my drink of choice – coconut rum. I liked it in Pepsi or mixed in piña colada. Actually, I more than liked it. I loved it, so much that it scared me. I quit drinking my rum for over a year. Apparently I don’t have a problem with rum.

4. Mom Guilt

As a mom, my biggest fears is that my child will struggle with addiction. I was raised to believe abstaining from drinking was the only way to live, so that’s my innate parental response. Recovery teaches me that when my son is an adult, I won’t have any control over what he drinks. I can challenge my fears and ask what is the best way to teach my son?

Just because I prefer non-alcoholic drinks doesn’t mean I have to miss out on the fun. To celebrate holidays like Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday, I’ve crafted this artisan piña nada colada.

Nada Colada means not guiltyIngredients

  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 10 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt

In recovery, I learn self care isn’t selfish. To pamper myself, I use fresh pineapple in my coladas. Unfortunately, the fresh pineapple doesn’t blend well. For this recipe, I steamed the pineapple. Canned pineapple works just as well. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. I prefer to use the Goya brand coconut milk.The Goya milk is thicker yielding a thicker drink. I have also used Silk or So Delicious coconut milk.

Not only is this drink delicious, it’s healthy. Coconut milk and pineapple are valued for their anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, this drink is safe to offer anyone sitting at my table.

One important take away from my friend’s wedding reception – I now know what everyone else is drinking is none of my business.

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Pam Carver

Pam is the author of two books: Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and Find Your True Colors In 12 Steps. She's also a contributing editor for Reach Out Recovery. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.

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