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Pages: 1

Reged: 01/14/04
Posts: 4812
Loc: New York City
Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!)
      #69892 - 05/12/04 02:26 PM

Actually, I didn’t quit drinking to help my IBS. I think if someone had told me I had to quit drinking because of my IBS, it would have been very difficult for me. I would have been resentful and full of self-pity and envy for friends who still could drink.

So, why did I? First, some background. When I was growing up, my dad was a business exec and there were lots of cocktail parties all the time that my mom and dad went to. And the cocktail hour at home after Dad got home from work was a high point of the day for all of us. He’d mix martinis for himself and Mom and they’d sit down and my sister and brother and I would gather and we’d all talk about our day and work and school and politics and philosophy and everything. It was fun!

My dad would also go out with his co-workers for those infamous three-martini lunches. Yup, that cliché was actually true. I know because I got a job waitressing at one of the business lunch places during summer vacation from college and once to my great embarrassment ended up waiting on a table of eight guys including my dad. I think he only had two that day, but he was trying to set a good example for me!!

Flash forward to my first job. I followed my dad into a business career. But at the beginning we were all making entry level salaries and were all broke. Friday night happy hour with free food (chicken wings, mystery meatballs, weird rice, stuff like that) was essential to our survival. Heineken straight out of the bottle was our drink of choice. Only wimps used glasses.

Occasionally we’d get to go for a expense account lunch with one of the more senior people. And that was awesome, white table clothes, fresh flowers on each table, those huge menus in the leather covers, and a DRINK before LUNCH!! We felt like we had it made.

But then just as I was getting senior enough to afford those lunches on my own or better yet on expense account, just as I had finished paying my dues and was now going to enjoy the three-martini lunch fruits of my labor, what happened?! PERRIER!! Mineral water, jogging, salads for lunch became the fad. Damn, I felt cheated!

Well by then I’d met my hubby to be and one of our favorite things was going out to nice restaurants. Plus his dad was in the WINE business!! So between nice bottles of wine and cocktails at dinner and fancy rum drinks on vacation, life was good.

Of course, there was this funny thing that used to happen with my tummy, where I’d get these sharp pains that doubled me over so bad I had to go to bed. But it didn’t happen too often and I had no idea what caused it so whatever… Went to my doctor once about it, he did an upper GI, told me I had a pre-ulcerous condition and might have to find a less stressful profession. (This was before they knew that ulcers have nothing to do with stress, they’re caused by a bacteria infection.)

Okay, flash forward again. I’m still going out with my girl friends from time to time and getting loaded and having a blast. But as I got older, it seemed less cool. I started not liking how I acted when I had too much to drink. Nothing major like dropping trou on Fifth Avenue. Just a little bitchy or a little loopy or a little silly. But I started waking up feeling little niggles of shame.

Oh, yeah and the hangovers. As I got older, the hangovers from the nights out drinking became harder and harder to bounce back from. The dinners and wine were still no problem, but I couldn’t get really drunk anymore or I’d be in bed all the next day just wiped out. Oh, and then I started getting headaches from red wine. My mother always had, so I was quick to identify the link. That broke my heart because I LOVE red wine, especially the big Bordeaux from the top vineyards. Oh yeah, I was way into the wine snob thing, researching and rating and everything. It was so cool.

Then one of our best friends got sober. We’d known he’d been having a little trouble handling various substances, but it was just the way he was. And we weren’t going to pass judgement. So it was quite a surprise when he started ordering club soda when we went out to dinner. I was so impressed and so proud of him that I wanted to support him in his choice. So I started ordering club soda or Diet Coke, too.

Okay, so the story so far, I’ve now eliminated red wine and drinks with dinner. That doesn’t leave a whole lot. And as many of you know, if you’re NOT a regular drinker, you become what’s known as a cheap date – meaning it takes very litlle to get you tipsy. Once I couldn’t hold my liquor anymore, I said that’s it! Plus I’d started noticing how hubby and other drinkers acted after one drink, after two. Again, nothing major like dropping trou on Park Avenue, just getting a little sloppy in their thinking and behavior. I was appalled to realize that that’s how I used to act. I think that was when I quit for good. I still have the occasional glass of Champagne on a special occasion like my 50th birthday, but I usually end up paying for it!

Now the weird thing. This was when I started addressing my stomach problems, which had been getting worse. I started keeping a food diary and yeah, the days after the Mexican food and margaritas were usually pretty bad. So that reinforced my decision to quit drinking all together. And my stomach started behaving itself pretty well.

But I really missed red wine. The whole scholarship part of it as well as the taste. And we still had a number of superb bottles in our wine rack that were just sitting there getting older and older. So I decided that maybe I could get away with just the occasional glass of FINE red wine. And we started opening some of those incredible bottles. And I started ordering a glass of something interesting when we were out.

Son of a gun if six months or so later I didn’t realize that my stomach had gotten worse again. Not on the nights I had the wine, but a day or two later. It was as if the wine just irritated the lining of my stomach enough that I’d pay for it within a day or two. I was heartbroken, but couldn’t argue with the facts. They were right there in my food diary.

So now I’m resigned to not drinking. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me at all. Oh, I left out the weight part. That first job, the one where we drank all the Heineken? When I left that job I lost five pounds (I weighed 110 then so that was significant!), just from eliminating all that beer. And during our wine snob days, I was watching my weight because I was starting to put on the middle aged spread pounds, and I realized that the alcohol was contributing a fair number of calories. So that was another incentive. I’d rather spend those calories on chocolate!!

So what’s my point. My point is that the alcohol was DEFINITELY contributing to my IBS. Even before I knew I had it. My point is that I couldn’t and still can’t cheat once in a while and have a drink without paying the Big D price. My point is that if I had had to quit drinking as part of Heather’s IBS safe diet, I don’t think I could have done it. Between my own resentment and the peer pressure, it would have taken me forever to come out of denial and admit that the alcohol just wasn’t worth it.

Am I a bore at parties now? No, if anything I have even more fun. Is it awkward? No, my husband just jokes with the waiter that I’m the designated driver (we live in Manhattan and take cabs!). Have I ever told our friend that I quit to keep him company? No. Some things are better left unsaid. Do I still miss the whole red wine experience and jargon and hoohah. Yes. Would I ever start drinking red wine or anything else again. NO WAY. (Unless they find a CURE for IBS or perfect that “synthahol” that they’re always drinking on Star Trek!!)

So that’s my story. Why I quit drinking and how it helped my IBS. There’s no way I could have achieved my current streak of four months with no D if I were still drinking even as an occasional cheat. Just wanted to share it with all of you in case it helps someone else. Take what you like and leave the rest. Cheers!

Keep it simple!

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Reged: 09/16/03
Posts: 500
Loc: Western New York
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #69944 - 05/12/04 04:56 PM

Nice, LauraSue. I enjoyed reading your post. My IBS really kicked in double time after I quit drinking (5 years ago) but because I'm a C I think I enjoyed the day after D. I don't miss the doubled over pain I remember. My fav was Beausolei (sp?) Village. I think the vintage was 1989 but I can't remember for sure. I I cried the day my last bottle went down the drain. Not that I'm noble but I quit to support the most important person in my life but as you said, some things are better left unsaid. Occationally I would like a drink but I just keep moving forward. Clean, sober, smoke free and fat. That's me!


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Reged: 04/10/04
Posts: 126
Loc: Alexandria, VA
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #69950 - 05/12/04 05:04 PM

Wow. I am a little teary. Your post took incredible courage to write. The decision to quit drinking is not an easy one to make, much less to act on; I salute you . I quit drinking eight years ago. I am an adult child of an alcoholic mother & I realized I was beginning to start down the same drunken path as my mother& I refused to do that to my family & myself:). I don't miss drinking one bit (OK, maybe on a hot day a beer would be tasty, or a beer with chips and salsa). LauraSue, I am here for if you ever need someone to vent with about drinking.

"Sometimes you are the Windshield, sometimes you are the bug".

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Reged: 02/09/04
Posts: 279
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #69956 - 05/12/04 05:24 PM

Wow LS, that's a great post! That is so admirable to give up drinking--don't I wish I could do that. You are so right that that's the one thing I can't give up on this diet. Even coffee eventually (only just) went on the wayside. I'm terrifed of lettuce, but not of a glass of wine. Something is wrong with that picture, you know?!


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heather robin

Reged: 04/22/04
Posts: 279
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #70112 - 05/13/04 10:52 AM

That was a great story. I think it is universal in that I could substitue desserts for the alcohol and heed your advice. I mean the NY cheesecake, mile high ice cream pie, ice cream sundaes, I think you get my drift. If you don't already you should write for a living!


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Reged: 01/14/04
Posts: 4812
Loc: New York City
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #70136 - 05/13/04 11:41 AM


If you don't already you should write for a living!

Heather Robin, you just made my day!!! Thank you so much for such a sweet compliment! (All I've ever written before is business memos. Oh, and some really bad adolescent poetry!! )

Keep it simple!

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Shell Marr

Reged: 08/04/03
Posts: 14959
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #70141 - 05/13/04 11:56 AM

WOW what a post (yes long....but WOW) That is great how you realized things on your own and you were strong and had the will power to make the choices that were right for your situation. I would take my hate off to you if I were wearing one!


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Reged: 03/31/04
Posts: 29
Loc: New Jersey
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #70153 - 05/13/04 12:38 PM

That was a great post, and I absolutely LOVE the Star Trek reference at the end...
I'd love some synthetic Romulan ale right about now...

Edited by Katy6170 (05/13/04 12:39 PM)

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Reged: 01/27/03
Posts: 65
Loc: Paris, France
Re: Why I quit drinking…and how it helped my IBS. ( VERY LONG POST!!) new
      #70159 - 05/13/04 12:58 PM

God I can really relate to your fantastic post. I give up alcohol at least once a month and then slip back into it again and suffer for it. I live in France and so you can imagine how difficult it is to give up a glass of wine with your meal. The French simply don't understand if you say you don't drink. I am not a big drinker but I do miss red wine and also the occasional Baileys which kills me. I know I'm much better without it though. I'm leaving Paris after 7 years here and I'm hoping that will finally make me quit for good.
My other weakness...milk..! But that I can handle funnily enough. In fact, I tolerate it much better than soya milk which I really can't stomach. As long as I have had a good helping of soluble fibre, I can usually tolerate my favourite cup of Chai tea latté. Just one a day seems to be ok.

When you say you haven't had symptoms for 4 that for real??? Good for you girl!!!


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Reged: 03/31/04
Posts: 95
Do you get sharp pain from drinking liquor on an empty stomach too? new
      #70203 - 05/13/04 03:27 PM


Of course, there was this funny thing that used to happen with my tummy, where I’d get these sharp pains that doubled me over so bad I had to go to bed.

Man! I thought nobody else ever had this -- it never sent me to bed, but I have certainly experienced it: on rare occasions, liquor on a totally empty stomach would result in piercing pain. Weirdly, the pain would subside after about 10 minutes, and then I could drink without pain if I chose.

This happened maybe a handful of times in college at parties, and I remember it happening with a pre-dinner margarita three or four years ago and again maybe two years ago with a pre-dinner gin and tonic. THAT was a doozie and lasted probably 20 minutes rather than 10 -- I ended up in a stall in the restaurant's ladies room, tearing the waist band off of my nylons with my bare hands out of desperation to relieve any and all pressure on my stomach possible!

I have never heard of anyone else having this. Do those of you who have experienced this also experience it with beer, any other beverages, or any other foods?? (For me it has only been liquor -- vodka, tequila, gin -- and I never mentally included it as one of my IBS symptoms.)

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