A Year without Alcohol

My last blog post was all about my experience with IBD and blood clots … a pulmonary embolism that could have been fatal, and subsequently taking blood thinning medication for 12 months.

This post is about what that meant for me socially, in particular relating to alcohol.

A major consideration when taking blood thinning medication is how it interacts with your diet, including alcohol. It is important to be consistent and not make any major changes to your diet, and it is usually recommended not to drink any alcohol. Alcohol can interfere with and change how the medication works in your body, as well as increase the risk of bleeding, and this can be very dangerous.

But wait, NO ALCOHOL??!! For a year??!! It might not seem like a big deal, right? It may sound irresponsible, and I may get some flak for writing this, but our regular social life revolved around going to the pub or a BBQ at a mate’s place, and usually included having a few cold ones!

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Enforced sobriety was probably a good thing. Alcohol can exacerbate IBD symptoms (although this has never been the case for me). Cutting back on my alcohol consumption had to be good for me irrespective. Completely eliminating it though? I knew it would be hard, but I had no choice.

In the beginning, I honestly felt like a social outcast. A Party Pooper. Was it just in my head or did people look at me strangely when I said I’d just have a water or a lemonade? Some days, I really wanted to have a drink. Just one.

Lots of people opt not to drink alcohol. You can still go out, and of course still have a good time without having a drink (even when everyone else around you is drinking). This isn’t what I was used to though! Being the only stone cold sober one in the group sucked!

I do not want to downplay the negative effect alcohol can have socially or on one’s health. Alcoholism is a serious issue. I also do not condone excessive or binge drinking, but I really found spending a year completely off the booze difficult, especially those first few months.

I managed though. It got easier as time went on, and Michael was happy to have me as the designated driver for once!

Having the pulmonary embolism was scary and could have killed me. It should have been a wakeup call! When you put it all into perspective, a year without alcohol is nothing. I know it’s nothing in the overall scheme of things, but for me it’s still another way, albeit minor, that Crohn’s has impacted my life.

I recently went alcohol free for February. Out of choice! I felt a lot better for it and we have continued to limit our intake post February too. Everything in moderation as they say.

What is your experience with IBD and alcohol? Does alcohol exacerbate your symptoms?    

Laura x

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