I gave up booze.
Early 20s Monica would not be able to believe her ears. My habits before my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis would consist of tequila shots well into 4am, binge drinking, and wine was a nightly occurrence. East 90th street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan has seen me stumble out of cab, stumble down the block shoeless, and pass out in my bed with no recollection of the night before. I’ve been there, done that. I was a party girl. I liked my alcohol, socialization, partying, and picking off the cheese on a Papa John’s pizza that I would devour to help quell the hangover.
After my diagnosis of MS in 2013, my alcohol consumption improved but still didn’t completely die off. I liked to get drunk off red wine because it was “healthier” and I would try to drink more water in-between drinks. I would often question why I still drank, but would wake up the next morning and down a green juice.
This past year, older and more knowledgeable, I really started questioning why I would still put alcohol in my system. I would dabble on and off not drinking, exploring the cons of having a few drinks with Multiple Sclerosis, and told Peter a million times, “I’m done drinking.”
I’m a social person. I like to attend dinner parties just like any girl in her mid-20s and I found that drinking alcohol was just something you had to do to, “fit in”. I already eliminated pretty much everything that could cause inflammation in my diet and I didn’t want to be that bratty girl at every party that explains, “I don’t drink alcohol.”
No, I don’t think I’m better than you. Yes, I wish I could have that glass of wine. But, I gave up alcohol. I’m not saying I’ll NEVER have a glass of wine again, because I’m sure I will. What I am saying is that I decided to eliminate alcohol from my diet and see what happens, how I feel. Alcohol is poison, and I’m such an advocate for health and healing my chronic condition, I don’t understand why I would put alcohol into my system on a weekly occurrence. Moderation is cool. But in order to find that moderation, I’m willing to withdraw my body from alcohol for a few months and then reintroduce.
Three weeks ago, I went out with a few friends and had a some drinks. And by some, I mean things got out of hand, and I had more than some. I woke up the next day with the normal pounding in my head and nausea. These were all things I was used to, a hangover. Later in the day I developed problems I wasn’t used to. My face was numb, I was overly sensitive to heat and my legs were weak and tingly. Right then and there I asked myself what the FUCK I was doing. I wasn’t angry at myself for having a good time the night before and drinking more than I should, but I knew I needed to do something about this. I never have MS symptoms, and the fact that one night of drinking brought out such issues was a huge wake up call.
I read this about MS and drinking, and it all made perfect sense. Alcohol causes changes in the Central Nervous System, and those with MS can experience worsened neurological symptoms when drinking. Do I think there is a problem with having an occasional drink? No. Do I think there is a problem with having more than the occasional drink? Yes.
My life is more important than those few drinks on Friday night. If cutting out alcohol will prevent a potential relapse, I’ll do it. Last weekend I was completely sober, and the Broncos won the SUPER BOWL, and I had a blast. I thoroughly enjoyed going out and then waking up the next morning for a walk and a cup of (organic) coffee.
Cutting out alcohol tips:
I’m still new to this, so I’m not an expert. But these are some things that have helped me stay sober.
1.) When you know everyone is drinking, splurge and buy yourself a special drink. I made beet juice and put it in my wine glass. I bought a kombucha, and sipped on that. Healthy alternatives, I’m definitely going to be working on some “mocktails”!
2.) Have fun. Don’t sit in the corner and be all pissy that you can’t drink. Get into the conversation, join the drinking game, you can still have fun without alcohol. (I had no idea.)
3.) Be the designated driver. Who doesn’t love the DD?! It’s kinda fun being able to hit a ton of bars without having to pay for an uber, be the DD and everyone will arrive safe.
4.) I remember drunken conversations. People were talking to me drunk, and I learned so much more about them. Before, I would have never remembered the conversation.
I will definitely add to this list, when I’ve been sober longer than 3 weeks!
I know this will bring about a LOT of questions, anger, and confusion (Haha) but just because I’m not drinking doesn’t mean I still can’t be your drinking buddy.
Comment your thoughts/experiences/etc…I would love to hear from you!
xx have a fantastic (sober) weekend.