Over the last year or so, I have been having an internal debate over whether to continue drinking alcohol or not. Let me make one thing clear. This is not a post about drinking too much or being addicted to alcohol. Nothing could be further from the truth. No, if I do drink, it’s socially. I enjoy a glass of good wine on occasion or a cold beer at a bbq.
Growing up, my parents were social drinkers. Well, that’s maybe an understatement. They were partiers. When they were with their friends, they drank…a lot. In fact, I “bartended” for my parents and their friends as a preteen and was their designated driver once I earned my license. Alcohol was just part of my life – never something I was dying to try, but it wasn’t a taboo either. When I went away to college I drank socially as well. Sometimes I partied and drank a lot, but never to the point where it was a problem.
As a grown up, like mentioned above, I’ll drink when going out with friends – maybe once or twice a month, maybe not at all in a month. Over the last year or so however, I’ve noticed that I don’t really like the way alcohol makes me feel. I do not mean in a hangover kind of way. I can’t remember the last time I had a hangover. No, I dislike the way alcohol makes me feel within minutes after drinking it. I have come to the realization that it raises my body temperature and turns my face bright pink. When I drink, the back of my neck and brow sweat, and even though I can tell the temperature around me is normal, I feel like I’ve entered a sauna. It’s an awful feeling really. I think it’s always made me feel this way, but I’ve just recently made the connection between the two.
The last time this happened was on my birthday back in September. Good friends came over and we made martinis. I spent most of the night freezing from the air conditioning, but with a face that was burning up. It was then that got me thinking I might be allergic to alcohol. Maybe it’s not a real allergy, but it makes me feel bad. Shortly after that night, I made a decision to stop drinking for the time being and see what happened.
Since my family is a drinking family, the holidays were a little bit frustrating. Every time we went out or visited someone’s house I heard a lot of, “Oh, come on, just have one.” Sometimes I had to even give an emphatic “NO!” to get them off my back; especially to my wine-drinking mother. Although my friends have been respectful when I decline a drink, they do joke a lot saying, “Well, just drink naked and you’ll stay plenty cool.” I tell you, if I were struggling with an alcohol addiction, these people would be no help at all. :) But seriously, since I have stopped having drinks, I’ve been perfectly comfortable and have stayed a nice, normal temperature.
So I decided to test my theory. Just this past week, some friends and I attended a city block party event that took place on Thursday night. None of us had been before and thought we’d check it out since we didn’t have to work the next day. A cute little wine bar/tasting room recently opened up on the street so we stopped in to check it out. They had a wine flight that sounded fantastic. So I decided to take part, just to try the wines, and planned to pass the rest of the glass to my friends to finish off each tasting. For the first few sips I was fine. After that, I could feel the heat beginning to rise from my neck. By the time the wine flight was over, I was a hot mess again. Before we left, I checked my face in the bathroom mirror, and it was pink, even my ears were pink. Which, I think, proved my theory. I’m allergic to alcohol.