|Posted on September 20, 2016 at 10:55 PM|
Growing up I always despised the smell of alcohol. I had an uncle who used to over indulge and always smelled like a brewery. Periodically my father would try to hang with my uncle, but after one beer he was down for the count. Witnessing and smelling this made me wonder why anyone would dare put beer or liquor to their lips. But then I went off to college and my perspective changed.
The thing that I hated and swore would never be a part of my life became a very good friend of mine. At first I would drink very watered down or super fruity drinks. As time rolled on, the drinks became stronger and I would partake a lot more often. Every party, every cook out or gathering of two or more friends involved alcohol. Fuzzy Navels, Sex on the Beach, Seven and Seven, Hennessy, and tequila shots were all good with me. I went from drinking just enough to feel mellow, to enough to feel tipsy, then all that was left was an ambition to get drunk. But I was young, on my own, and having fun. I was not an alcoholic and there were even rules to my groups drinking. No one drank alone and no one was allowed to drink during difficult times. Our drinking was never intended to numb the pain of life experiences. So I was all good.
Fast forward to my late twenties and health issues started to pop up. No, none that were related to drinking, sickle cell was to blame. But I was lucky and my issues weren’t nearly as severe as other sickle cell patients. So while I no longer drank like a fish, I did still indulge in an occasional cocktail or glass of wine. I knew that I could no longer suck down drink after drink and I had no desire to. However, I saw nothing wrong with sharing a bottle of wine with my girls.
As my life progressed so did my illness, but my desire for alcohol dropped more and more. I was more focused on staying out of the hospital as opposed to turning up with my girls. The amount of medication I was required to take increased. Then I was blessed with a baby that I was told I could never have. Naturally during pregnancy the thought of a drink never crossed my mind. And once my Josh arrived, I didn’t want him to grow up with any memories of seeing his mom drinking anything that contained alcohol. I didn’t want to be a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of parent.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with other people drinking casually. Come to my home and you’ll find a great wine selection. During the holidays, family and friends come over and all of them drink responsibly. I still go out with my girls and we have a ball! They get their drinks and I get my signature, Shirley Temple, in a pretty glass please. Oh, and don’t forget the cherries. It’s a running joke, but I love and appreciate my friends for respecting me enough to not try and encourage me to drink (not that it would work anyway).
At the age of forty-nine, alcohol is a long forgotten friend. Scheduled blood exchanges, proper medication, healthy diet, prayer, and living a long life are my main concentrations now. These are the things that will keep my sickle-cell in check and me here with my family and friends. So let’s toast it up, a round of Shirley Temples on me. And don’t forget the cherries.