I’m an all or nothing sort of gal. When I decide to do anything, I go big.
I’m not a dabbler.
I gave up alcohol 6 years ago. Most people can’t fathom why anyone would do such a thing unless there was a problem, but after 30 some odd years of consumption, I was just over it.
Every morning I woke up more exhausted from the previous evening’s liquid assault on my body and one morning I just decided I was no longer interested in feeling like shit every day and I quit. I tied it in with the anniversary of cigarette cessation, my greatest accomplishment to date, because I figured they belonged together somewhere outside of my reality.
As my no smoking anniversary approached (which I celebrate annually- this year, 15 years and running thank you very much) I thought it would be great to just tie these two nasty habits of mine together and be done with it. I joined them forever, in eternity, somewhere other than on my daily calendar. It continues to be the best gift I have ever given myself.
I never got the thundering headaches and nausea that many people suffer with when they have hangovers, but what I did get was clear and utter exhaustion from my body trying to process the toxin assault. The more years I added to my life, the less desirable wasting my precious time in recovery mode interested me.
Now I get up every day, alive, clear headed, and feeling RESTED, I see the entire world through a different set of lenses. Colors are more vibrant. Life… amazing L-I-F-E… is everywhere. I hear birds sing, the wind blowing through the trees, I enjoy the intoxicating smell of flowers…all of my senses are awake and tuned on to the beautiful events happening around me. All of these seemingly innocuous things that we generally take for granted become sources of great joy.
When you wake up hung over, all of your attention is focused on removing discomfort you are feeling.
- Nausea is usually handled by piling in some less than desirable carbs and fat.
- The headache is handled by popping a few pills (NSAID’s ruin the gut).
- Exhaustion is handled by tossing in some adrenal exhausting stimulants (coffee and sugar)
- Dehydration is handled by drinking some “electrolyte rich liquid” named after swamp creatures (sugar rush).
All of these actions might offer some perceived relief, but they are ALL horribly bad for our maintaining a healthy gut and thus a healthy autoimmune system. Each method used to combat the outcroppings of overconsumption are like pouring gasoline on a fire. No joke. Fixing a hangover is one of the worst assaults on the autoimmune system. Four destructive therapies to counteract one bad choice. Really?
Alcohol suppresses the production of prostaglandins which help to keep inflammation down in the body. When they are low, it helps to promote gut inflammation. It suppresses the innate and adaptive immune system making you more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. It also makes it very difficult for your body to fight cancer. If you are interested, you can read more about how alcohol negatively affects the body by clicking through to this NIH report on alcohol.
Alcohol consumption is a touchy subject and why we drink is an even hotter issue. For many of us we figure a drink or two every day isn’t a problem. The consumption of anything intended to help us “change our state” (food, drugs, alcohol) indicates a bigger problem or as I like to call it, the root cause of your behavior.
I am convinced that alcohol consumption is at the core of my gut issues. Having worked in the service industry for decades, then the music industry (both environments rampant with substance abuse) AND living in New Orleans for 20 years – ummm yeah….I’ve done some drinking in this lifetime.
I was a champion drinker. It was part of my work and home culture and letting go of that behavior changed my life in major ways. Not everyone is ready for those changes.
You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Are you surrounding yourself with drinkers? If so, you might want to take a good look at that. Are they going where YOU want to go?
I cannot change what has happened in my past, but what I can do is change what I am doing presently. Recovering from years of internal abuse and rebuilding my gut takes time. But you can change your overall health by improving the state of your autoimmune system. That happens by actively working to rebuild your gut health.
Here we are, again, back at the conversation about the ROOT CAUSE of things. There are definitely some physical addictions that go along with the alcohol consumption. In my opinion, that is the easier part of the problem to tackle. The effects on your life socially, should you choose to stop drinking, can be a tad bit more difficult. And, if drinking is problematic, looking at why you are over indulging can be a challenge as well.
Has your autoimmune disease given you an opportunity to re-evaluate how you are living your life?
I know it was a huge gift for me. If I continued on the path I was on my outcome would not have been favorable.
Many decisions we make in our own best interest don’t always play out well with others. Get used to it. The better your life looks/is the more resentful many people become because they don’t have the internal fortitude to demand the same for/from themselves. Here’s what I tell folks who become defensive when they learn that I am no longer drinking.The way I choose to live my life is NOT a commentary on how you are living yours. Click To Tweet
Changing negative behavior has many layers and our own ego plays into this heavily. For many, admitting that there is a problem is a difficult thing to do. While the initial sting may be hard, I can guarantee you that you will become an inspiration to many as they watch you take flight on your new life. They may not verbalize it, but they will admire you for it.
You deserve to have the best life YOU want. Stop worrying about what everyone else has to say about your world and start designing and implementing the life of your dreams. You CAN make it happen.
I guarantee you that once you get on your new path you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.