I admit. I drink. I smoke. I self medicate. I suffer.
I can’t tell you when my self medication began. I mean, sure it was bad in college and worse as a married man with kids, but THAT isn’t self medicating. I’ve never had an issue with drinking at breakfast or nightcaps. In college, my roommates would make fun of me. I’m starching my clothes at 6am on my 2nd cup of Bacardi and Sprite. I used to enjoy a good drink or three and have no intention of keeping it at three, seven, wine, beer, anything clear. Liquor has been a good friend for a long time. What kind of drunk am I? I really don’t know, maybe adventurous or talkative. Why don’t I know? I don’t know and I’m hoping that’s a good thing. There aren’t many stories of my drunken behavior that stand out. Once, I attended a party and haters began shooting. I wasn’t drunk, closer to wasted, but I refused to panic, run and take a chance of spilling my drink. Remember those 44oz Big Gulps? By the time it was over, the guy next to me was shot, some good people invited me in their apartment and I found my own friends the next morning. What I’m saying is I used to enjoy drinking, quite a bit.
Which brings me to the title of this post, Day 1 of 7 WITHOUT alcohol. I really don’t believe I have a problem with drinking, no driving under the influence, not aggressive, overly flirtatious or depressing. At least, no one has ever accused me of such behaviors. My issue is that I realize I’ve been using alcohol as a medication for damn near everything, back pain, trembling, burning feet, neck soreness, numbness, fear, depression, itching, kids on nerves, you name it. If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’re aware that I have Multiple Sclerosis and Spondylosis, both late 2016 diagnoses. I don’t have many options when it comes to dealing with the life MS has blessed upon my family, squad and team. I focus almost exclusively on PREVENTATIVE care. I maintain a Pescatarian diet, only meat is fish and seafood. I actively search for positive energy on a daily basis. I meditate, reflect and incorporated yoga. The only medicine I take is Bayer Back & Body Extra Strength. I work hard to prevent relapses but my treatment has been alcohol. See, I used to sincerely enjoy drinking and watching others’ antics. Now, I drink heavily out of need and that is NOT cool beans. Ladies and gentlemen, what I have described is the next step to alcoholism. I drink because I need to, not because I want to. Well, I do enjoy drinking, so needing to drink to deal with MS is absolutely ridiculous. I gotta evaluate this revelation and I need a strong 7 days to do so. Today is day one and I knew damn well I would struggle. Its the first NFL Sunday of the year but I’m abstaining from alcohol to research my dependency so no beer. To ensure that I begin, I’m watching games at home with 2 of my 4 kids, away from the squad and temptation of iced Sam Adams lagers, shots of tequila, classic gin and wine. I’m serious about improving myself so I ducked out. By 8am, my pain was standard 2 and hit 4 by kickoff. Any #MSWarriors ever struggle with swallowing? Neck stiffness? Neck soreness? That was me at 12pm today plus my right hand was numb, back pain and right leg wouldn’t move without conscious demanding and coaxing. Sounds rough? It is. Did I want to drink? Nope, it hurts to walk. Did I NEED to drink? Hell. Yes. I was struggling to pay attention to the game or my friends’ chicken wing plot. Did I drink? No, I went home. I’m dead serious about checking myself on this whole alcohol thing. I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), UC (Ulcerative Colitis) and a frigging tumor on my kidney so I should lay low on drinking anyway. I drink to manage MS pain, which aggravates my stomach triggering more pain, to which I drink until everything hurts less. So, in summary, it is Day 1 of 7 WITHOUT alcohol. The purpose is to evaluate my dependency on alcohol and it’s effectiveness towards pain management. It is NOT going well on this Day 1 and it’s only 4pm.