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Can Recovering Alcoholics Drink Kombucha?

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in America. While occasional alcohol use is fine, you might have a hard time controlling how much you drink. If so, you likely have an alcohol use disorder.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 29.5 million people suffered from alcoholism in 2022.[1]

When you are in recovery from alcoholism, there are several products you should stay away from. For example, a mouthwash that contains small amounts of alcohol could be tempting for you to consume. Another prime example of a substance to stay clear of is kombucha.

Kombucha is a beverage that goes through a fermentation process with a combination of tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Since it is fermented, it contains traces of alcohol.[2] If you are wondering whether alcoholics in recovery can drink kombucha, the answer is you shouldn’t.

Drinking kombucha could cause you to begin craving other alcoholic beverages, leading to a relapse. If you or a loved one has relapsed as a result of alcoholic kombucha, you should seek professional help from an alcohol rehab center.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What kombucha is
  • Whether you can get drunk from consuming kombucha
  • If you should drink kombucha as a recovering alcoholic
  • What to do if you think you are going to relapse on alcohol

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented drink that is made with black or green tea, sugar, yeast, and bacteria. Most of the time, kombucha is made by drink companies and professionally bottled. However, some people create home brews and might use different types of fruit juice to replace or complement the tea.

Kombucha contains a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).[2] During the fermentation process, the sugar and yeast are turned into alcohol. Kombucha is marketed as a healthy drink, as it contains beneficial probiotics.

While kombucha might contain helpful probiotics, you should avoid drinking it when you are recovering from alcoholism. Kombucha typically contains 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).[3] While this is legally considered a “non-alcoholic” drink, it is enough to trigger cravings for alcohol if you are in recovery.

Even further, home-brewed versions of kombucha might contain up to 3% ABV. Drinking enough kombucha that contains 3% alcohol could cause you to feel some effects. The health benefits of this fermented tea are not worth triggering your alcohol use disorder.

Can You Get Drunk From Drinking Kombucha?

As stated, commercial bottles of kombucha tend to have a 0.5% alcohol content. The trace amounts of alcohol in kombucha will not get you drunk. However, if you drank large amounts of it or got your hands on a homebrew with higher alcohol content, you could feel some effects of alcohol.

Most people drink kombucha because they are trying to benefit their health. The probiotics found in kombucha can provide nutrition, assist your metabolism, and increase your gut health. The drink may also contain antioxidants which can kill harmful bacteria found in your system.[4]

Despite these health effects, you might try to drink kombucha to replace alcohol when you are vulnerable in your recovery. While you will not get drunk, it could cause you to begin searching for other forms of beverages that contain alcohol.

Can You Drink Kombucha If You’re Sober?

You might be wondering whether you can drink kombucha as a recovering alcoholic. The simple answer is no. However, some people believe it is fine.

Kombucha could lead to a relapse if you are not secure in your recovery. For others, the trace amounts of alcohol found in these drinks do not affect them.

If you are trying to decide if drinking kombucha in recovery is okay for you, consider these points:

  • Does your definition of sobriety mean avoiding anything with an alcohol content?
  • Will slight effects like mild nausea or relaxation trigger you to crave alcohol?
  • Are you planning on drinking homebrewed kombucha, which could contain higher amounts of alcohol?
  • Have you assessed your reasonings for wanting to drink kombucha?
  • Have you spoken with a sponsor, therapist, or trusted friend about the possibility of consuming kombucha regularly?

The above questions will help you assess whether it is safe for you to drink kombucha. It is important to note that drinking kombucha could be considered an unnecessary risk to your recovery. If the possible risks outweigh the benefits, you should avoid drinking kombucha altogether.

What Should You Do If You Think You’re Relapsing?

Kombucha is just one thing that could lead you closer to a relapse. Other common triggers include feelings like stress, boredom, or loneliness and situations like job loss, the end of relationships, and more. If you are experiencing a tough time and believe you might relapse, there are things you can do to get back on track.

If you believe you are close to a relapse, consider taking the following steps:

  • Call your sponsor or recovery friends for support
  • Get a session with your therapist booked
  • Engage in self-care activities to calm yourself down
  • Stay away from friends who might partake in alcohol use
  • Go to a recovery support meeting like Alcoholics Anonymous

If you have already experienced a relapse, you should call someone you trust and confide in them. Additionally, it might be time to consider re-entering an addiction treatment program. Relapsing is a sign that you need extra support and better tools to maintain sobriety and an alcohol treatment center will provide just that.

Find Help for Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from alcoholism, it’s time to seek help. Whether you’ve never been to treatment before or you are coming back from a relapse, Mandala Healing Center is here to help. We offer a combination of evidence-based services and compassionate care to give our clients the best shot at long-term recovery.

Contact us today for more information on our alcohol abuse and addiction treatment center.


  1. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the United States
  2. Science Direct: Kombucha
  3. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: Kombucha Information and Resources
  4. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Chemical Profile and Antioxidant Activity of the Kombucha Beverage Derived from White, Green, Black and Red Tea