Being teetotal

Ordering fruit juice at a bar always elicits curiosity. If I’m with a new group of people, one of their first questions is: ‘What are you drinking?’. There’s often an assumption that everyone drinks alcohol. If you’re not drinking, people want to know why. Friends know I don’t drink as it doesn’t mix well with my medication (Enbrel injections for rheumatoid disease and Actonel tablets for osteoporosis). But should I tell people I haven’t known long the reason why I’m alcohol-free? It shouldn’t be an issue. Lots of people (without chronic illness) abstain from drink for health reasons or because they’re into sport. Others might have addictive personalities and stay off booze. That’s their decision. I don’t judge others for drinking alcohol or not but I’ve noticed that some drinkers (not my friends) find it hard to have a ‘teetotaller’ in their presence. They crack jokes about ‘Needing to watch their intake’ and so on. I’ve explained that I don’t miss it and if I want a great substitute, I know an amazing alcohol-free wine that tastes and looks like the real thing.

Taking my reason for staying sober out of the equation, I feel much better without it. RA/RD and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome make me feel tired enough already without adding hangovers into the mix! Being teetotal doesn’t mean you have to stop socialising. However, not drinking means more time to explore other activities that don’t revolve around a pub!

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6 thoughts on “Being teetotal

  1. Isn’t it strange how abstaining from alcohol is socially unacceptable most of the time?
    Which type of EDS do you have? My diagnosis was confirmed by a geneticist a few days ago, Hypermobility type, but I also have symptoms that overlap a couple more types. But the geneticist just gave me a clinical diagnosis and ran no tests… I’m not sure how I feel about that!

    • I have Hypermobility EDS too. This is quite a useful link on different types of EDS: http://www.ehlers-danlos.org/what-is-eds/types-of-eds which explains that there are currently no laboratory tests available to confirm the diagnosis. I’m not sure about having more than one type of EDS at once, but I agree about overlapping symptoms. I was diagnosed with EDS in 1993 in my mid-teens. The geneticist did a clinical assessment as you describe and took a history of my symptoms, experiences etc. I still remember how I felt having a diagnosis: mainly relief that I wasn’t imagining all these things and it was good to know how to manage symptoms better 🙂

      • Thanks for the link 🙂 Looking back to my childhood and teenage years, so many things make sense now! It would have made life easier, I think, if I had known that there was one condition causing so many different problems, and to have an actual diagnosis to explain to relatives, friends and teachers, but I guess I should feel lucky that I’ve finally been diagnosed at all!

      • I agree it all starts to make sense when you know about EDS. There seems to be more awareness among health professionals now (in the UK at least) compared to when I was diagnosed as a teenager, which is positive.

  2. At 63 I’ve never taken more than a sip of alcohol. I just don’t like the taste. If I am going to consume a needless calorie, it might as well be for something I really like. It does make it awkward socially. Why does it make drinkers so uncomfortable to have someone who doesn’t drink around? I don’t look down my nose at them for their difference from me; why should they? I could care less what they do. It doesn’t impact me at all. Plus I really like to control my situation. Meds is a good excuse people seem to accept.

    • I know what you mean about calories! My preference would be for ice cream and/or cake over alcohol anyway, but I occasionally have alcohol-free wine. I agree meds is a good reason for not drinking – however it’s refreshing (!) when people don’t ask.

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