Daniel emailed me to ask for my thoughts on the question “Can you have an alcohol allergy?” He recalled that I had mentioned I was allergic to alcohol in a talk I gave to a group of alumni of the Sunshine Coast Health Centre.
I was a functioning alcoholic when I was younger. But in my mid thirties I began having unexplained physical illness symptoms that eventually got me to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.
During the prior year I had been hospitalized for a duodenal ulcer and later for a gall bladder attack, neither of which actually existed. I periodically got a sharp pain that ran from my left chest over my shoulder and down my left arm, so they checked me for heart problems. My heart was and is strong. I had periodic severe lower abdominal pain suggesting a hernia; I may have had a phantom hernia, but not a real one. My morning weight varied as much as 7 lbs with no change in activity, diet or alcohol consumption.
At the end of a week of testing, the Mayo Clinic doctors concluded there was nothing physically wrong with me, but I may have become allergic to alcohol. They suggested as a test that I stop drinking for five months and see what happens.
I stopped drinking and all symptoms were gone within a month.
Subsequent to that experience of three decades ago, especially in my work in the field of energy psychology, a new phrase has come into use. We now use the phrase “allergy-like reactions.” Yes, the immune system may be involved, but the mind is definitely involved.
In the 1970s the Mayo Clinic doctors called what I had an allergy. Today without immune-system testing they would probably say I was having an allergy-like reaction to alcohol.
Both allergies and allergy-like reactions can often be treated with energy psychology. I am not the expert on treating allergies with energy psychology; my colleague Sandi Radomski, author of Allergy Antidotes, is the expert.
However, I have had clients with violent allergic reactions to cats and dogs—trouble breathing, eyes swelling shut, etc.—completely overcome their allergy in the course of our doing energy work on other issues.
So in the end I don’t know whether I had developed a true allergy to alcohol or had developed an allergy-like reaction to alcohol. But I don’t think it matters. It was the kick in the pants that led to my recovery from alcoholism.