The holidays are full of fun, family, festivities at work and at home and it all kicks off with Thanksgiving Dinner.

Think of all the choices you’ll make – white meat or dark, mashed potatoes and gravy or dressing, which vegetables you want to pig out on, which and how many desserts you’ll have, and the one choice that is the hardest for people with RA or other auto-immune diseases, what to drink.

punchbowlWill it be wine, beer, cocktails, a mixture of those or will it be iced tea, milk, water or coffee.

It is not fair that most everyone else we know has no worries about what to drink. It just isn’t an issue.

I’ve yet to see any prescription drug that says you can drink but those warnings saying you can’t have never stopped me from drinking what I wanted when I wanted for many years.

I’m not particularly proud of that now. In my defense, for many of those years I wasn’t sick enough to be on the really scary, toxic drugs, and I actively hated beer until I was in my late 20s. I was a social drinker, and as many times as I had an alcoholic drink, I had Dr. Pepper instead.

It’s a personal decision whether to drink while taking prescription drugs. Many drugs do damage on their own without adding beer, wine or vodka to the mix.

The days when I was at my worst, drinking was the last thing on my mind. Even today, when I take about half the number of drugs as I used to, I don’t drink much.

It is hard to say “No” when all your friends are drinking margaritas and order a soda or tea, but you know what you can and cannot handle, so do what is best for you and do not worry you’ll be branded as someone who doesn’t like to drink. If they are your friends, they know about your illness and will understand.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day we will be bombarded with chances to drink something – spiked punch or eggnog with that delicious shot of rum or brandy.

Each of us must weigh how we handle alcohol all the time, but especially this time of year. Each of us must wrestle with what kind, and how toxic the drugs we take are and what the addition of a drink (or two) will have.

Because of all the NSAIDs I took for so long, I have to take the generic drug for Prilosec every day for the rest of my life. It also has caused me to be very sensitive to the acidity of wine and I have to be very careful with the kinds I can have. It also put the kibosh on Bloody Marys because of the acidity of tomato juice.

I only drink beer when I’m at a Mexican restaurant and they serve it in the thick goblets lined with lime and salt. That’s probably a throwback to when I was scuba diving in Cozumel and beer was cheaper than soda.

I do still love cocktails though and will surely have a few between now and January 1, 2016.

You do what you think is right for you, what your body tells you, but here’s a tip:

A glass of sparkling water with a lime wedge looks exactly like an alcoholic drink, and tea is the same color as bourbon and both are much less damaging all around.

Happy Thanksgiving.