Sunday, February 6, 2011

Why yes, I will have another drink

Although diabetes is a part of my life 24/7, always poking its face in my biz, there are plenty of times when I don't even think about it. There are times when I tell myself to stop stressing out and just have fun--to be present in the moment! Over the weekend, I was in Seattle with my boyfriend visiting some good friends of mine. It was a short trip, but we managed to squeeze in a night out, which we were all looking forward to. None of us are hardcore drinkers or partiers, but we have, on occasion, been drunk together. When I was diagnosed about a month or so after I turned 21, I didn't drink for about 8 months...until my best friend turned 21. My dr. advised me not to since there was so much to learn, and I wanted to follow all the "rules." I felt as if I had enough drinking experiences at that point, so I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything. When I finally decided to drink, I was careful about it and I was with friends I trusted. I know drinking can be a scary thing for a diabetic, but it's a process you have to figure out and manage, just like exercising, eating cake, etc.

Even if I didn't have diabetes, I think I would feel the same way about alcohol. It can be fun in a social setting to have a drink or two. It can be relaxing and pleasant to have a drink of wine with dinner. Sometimes I'll go weeks or months without having a drink, and it's honestly not that big of a deal. Mostly, I'm not in the mood and would rather have water. And as I get older, I find it much easier to get a hangover, and that's not worth it to me either. :) I will say that I am more careful because of having diabetes. I usually stick to rum and diet coke or wine. Diet can make you drunker faster, but there's no way I'm having a regular coke. I usually don't give myself insulin because alcohol lowers your blood sugar--even the following day. In fact, I usually eat a snack before bedtime without bolusing because I know it can drop. The scary part is, of course, that you can fall low and pass out. This has never happened to me and I hope it never does. Another scary part is once you start knocking a few back, you might not care as much about having that sugary cocktail you avoided before. You might not care about checking your sugar or having a snack. A few times, I've had that "carefree" attitude, but in the end I always checked my sugar and stayed on top of it as best I could.

Back to Seattle. We went out for happy hour and had some great Mexican food. We split appetizers and I mostly nibbled while drinking my sangria. Then we did some good lounging, made dinner, and got ourselves ready to go out dancing. I love to dance AND it's a great workout, but I do consider the fact that 1. dancing is like exercising and 2. I will be drinking. My level was around 200 when we went out and I had also lowered my basal a bit in preparation. Over the span of 2-3 hours, I had a rum and diet coke, a shot of tequila and a shot of jager. The drinks were pretty strong and it had been a while since I had done a shot, so I cooled it after the jager even though I felt fine. We did a lot of dancing and by 12am, I was so pooped! A little lame? Yes, but I'm fine with that. :) I had to take a break and sit down, so I decided to check my # and I was at 87. That's a great number, but when you are dancing and drinking and bedtime is nearby, you want that number a bit higher. Insert and chew 2 glucose tablets, dance to another song, sit down, yawn. Once we got home, I snacked on a few crackers and guacamole, did a check (147) and decided I was comfortable with that number. I would estimate that I had a total of 15-20 carbs after seeing that bolus and a lowered basal. I woke up at 10am the next day with a 95. Sometimes I wonder what that # would be if I hadn't snacked, but I try not to go there.

The point of the post is that YES, you can drink even if you have diabetes. BUT, you need to be smart about it. You need to have friends who know what to do in case of an emergency. You need to know your limits and manage it like you would anything else. And really, you are not missing out by not having that 4th or 5th drink. The other point is that while I was dancing with my friends and my boyfriend in a crowd of strangers, I realized that no one was viewing me as the diabetic. I was just another 26-year-old doing "normal" things. I was having fun and I was in the moment, enjoying the moment, and I let my health stresses disappear. I focused on the fun I was having and the people I was with, and that is the moment where diabetes can go away for a little while.


  1. All I can say is that the when we first got our diagnosis, I worried about college, and what it will be like when my son will be tempted to binge drink. Yes, not even 4, but that was one of my first thoughts!

  2. I think we experience so many varying thoughts and emotions after hearing the diagnosis, so I do not think that is strange at all! It is a scary thing to think about. I have a couple guy friends who still drink like they did before their diagnosis! I think it just comes down to being responsible and knowing what works for you, which takes practice. I think the hardest part for parents would be to trust that their kids will make good decisions and be able to take care of themselves (I guess that's true whether they have diabetes or not!) :)

  3. I am so glad that you were able to enjoy yourself and "enjoy the moment" without thinking too much about D!

    As a parent, we have to teach our kiddos how to be responsible in these situations (like you said, just as we would for all of our children, it just may look different for them). That...and pray! Oh man, I may sleep less during those teenage years than I do now!

  4. Great job on having fun and being responsible!!

    Im a huge dancer but not a big drinker. 1 drink im done lol hope when J is old enough hes not big on it either.