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Choosing Not to Drink

After I was diagnosed with thyroid eye disease (TED), I made a conscious decision not to drink. I was not a big drinker anyway so it was not much of a lifestyle change to begin with.

Reasons for not drinking with thyroid eye disease

In my daily life, I was around people who drank but I never felt the pressure to drink. I liked not drinking. I did not drink before I could legally drink and when I could legally drink, I did not like how I would giggle nonstop. I didn’t like how the people in my life would joke about how I was drunk after 1 glass of wine.

My alcohol tolerance was quite low. I would have one glass of wine on occasion every few months and feel tipsy. With TED, I felt really out of control of my eyes and my body. I did not want to voluntarily feel even more out of control than I already was.

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My depth perception issues because of TED were so intense when I was sober. I would run into couches, tables, and door frames in the most familiar spaces. I had no interest in drinking and finding out how much worse these issues could be.


The only time I questioned my decision not to drink was when I went on a cruise vacation with my dad’s side of the family. Everyone was drinking from early on in the day throughout the night.

We were on a boat, what else were they supposed to do? Plus, mostly everyone had bought the unlimited drink package. Whereas I had gotten the unlimited wifi package to cope with being in an unfamiliar moving boat for a week where every object around was fair game to bump into.

This or That

Have you changed your relationship with alcohol due to TED?

One night out

One night, my dad, sister, and some of my cousins tried to find the silent disco. When we could not find the silent disco, we ended up in the club on the boat. Being completely sober in a room filled with strangers drinking was not my idea of a good time.

Soon after we arrived, I decided to leave. My family members were ordering even more drinks for themselves and the swirling white lights in the dark of the club made for an unpleasant experience for me. We had been on the cruise for days at this point and I was exhausted with being on a boat.

As I was walking up the stairs to leave the club, I fell. The stairs were uneven and it was dark so I could not see exactly where I was stepping. A couple sitting nearby asked if I was okay. I was humiliated. Not because of the fall but because they must have thought I had been drinking when I was in fact stone cold sober. I was probably the most sober person in the club that night. I nodded my head and gave them a thumbs up then ran quickly up the stairs.

One drink

On the last night of the cruise, I was sitting with my mom listening to someone play guitar. She exclaimed I had not had 1 drink this entire vacation. I nodded. She was drinking a glass of Bailey’s and asked if I wanted a sip. Bailey’s has always been a favorite of mine.

I took a sip and instantly felt regret for not drinking during this trip. I was miserable when I could have been at least miserable AND buzzed?! I finished her drink and we headed back up to the room. I noticed I was walking a bit more unsteady than before. Waiting for the elevator, I start giggling. The fleeting feeling of regret faded away.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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