A surprising benefit of sobriety...
Updated: Nov 27, 2021
About five years ago, I began to notice that my stomach was not acting normal. This was about the time that I had started incorporating alcohol into my life more regularly and drinking more than just on the weekends. I always had a "nervous" stomach or what my parents, sisters and I liked to call a "sensitive" stomach growing up, but I started to notice that I was feeling worse everyday and I didn't even think to blame alcohol. It never even occurred to me that this was the cause.
I won't go into all of the nasty details, but anyone that knows me, knows it all too well. I wasn't shy about it - ha! I basically always needed to know where the bathrooms were, no matter where we went. Around town, I had an eye on the public restrooms, I knew all the good, clean gas stations on the highways in and around Boston. By the end, I was sprinting to the bathroom at least three times a day, and if I ate anything with garlic, onions or vegetables, or so I thought, it was a forgone conclusion. So basically, if we went out to dinner to a restaurant, my stomach was destroyed. If I was hungover, it was often worse, and by the end, I was hungover all the time.
I ended up going to a GI doctor a few years ago and getting all sorts of tests done. Convinced at one point that I had stomach cancer because I was so anxiety ridden, I had a colonoscopy done. They found nothing. I was placed on two different meds for IBS, told not to eat a long list of fruits, veggies and milk. I was bummed to have to change what I ate, but at least they said I could still drink alcohol! Win for me! This adjustment to my diet helped, sometimes. I still found that things were worse when my anxiety spiked.
Fast forward to sobriety, about a year ago. Within a month of eliminating alcohol from my life, I noticed a massive change in the way my body handled food. Without pouring the toxic substance into my body on the regular, my stomach began to heal. Within a few months, the problems that I had been experiencing for years and years had been almost completely eliminated. Dare I say, my stomach is NORMAL again now! I can eat any food I want - even ice cream!! It is unbelievable. I go to a restaurant now and don't even think twice about the ingredients in a dish, and I eat what I want. I can enjoy food again, and for that I am so grateful.
I talk a lot about how alcohol changed and impacted me mentally, but physically it took its toll as well. I am able to enjoy food again, and this has opened up a whole new world for me. By the end of my drinking days, I lost my love for cooking, going out to dinner and eating dessert, because I just knew my stomach was likely not able to handle it. In actuality, it was the booze ruining it for me. I wish I had known this years ago. I think about all the awesome restaurants I have been to over the years where I ordered the sauce on the side or I chose the bland chicken option because it was easier for me to digest. Along with countless other things that I have received with sobriety, I am grateful to have my stomach back! This is one more reason that my husband is happy too, because I am cooking more exciting things at home again.