Even in (short-lived) stretches of sobriety, I still wake up feeling hungover. With fingers swollen like vienna sausages, brain fog so severe I’m confused about what country I’m in, and flu-like symptoms, I think, “I should’ve just had a drink.”

The term “autoimmune disease” covers dozens of chronic illnesses. From rheumatoid arthritis and lupus to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and multiple sclerosis, these diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body.

Some people living with these chronic conditions do everything they can to stave off inflammation and brain fog. They eat organic foods, stand on their heads, and eschew sugar in favor of vegetables.

But despite it all, they still drink alcohol. (It’s me, I’m “some people.”)

Where a night of drinking for most people would typically result in a headache and an unhinged Instagram story, those with autoimmune diseases are often left with some additional gifts.

After the apparent initial hangover wears off, we’re left with distended bellies, decision fatigue, bowel issues, tingling hands and feet, and other subtle side effects that most of us have just accepted as the standard of living.



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