The First Round is on me
By Wil Dubois
Hey, it’s good to see you again! What? You don’t remember me? We met once, years ago. Well, I’m not too surprised you don’t remember, you were pretty wasted that night. Huh? Oh, no, no, no. Don’t try to deny it.
Or… maybe you really don’t remember that night. Hell, you were so toasted you had taken off your pants and tied them to a broom like a flag.
That was the one and only time in your life you ever got drunk? OK. I might believe that. Or at least I’d be more likely to believe that than your assertion that you never ever got drunk in your life. And, of course you weren’t a type 1 diabetic like me and your kiddo. So you think you can justify a double standard. It was different for you, you say. But your kiddo cannot, must not, drink. Ever.
Sit down. Listen to me. This is important.
Your kid will drink and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I need you to face that fact. Your kid needs you to face that fact. It’s beyond your control. But what’s not beyond your control is what happens next.
If you’re the kind of person who is going to freak out, if you’re the kind of person who is going to scream and shout, if you’re the kind of person who is going to take your kid’s iPhone away for drinking—do you think your kid is going to call you for help when there’s trouble?
Look, no matter how “good” your kid is, and no matter how “good” a job you’ve done raising your kid; the fact of the matter is that our children are social animals who exist in a pressure cooker of peer pressure and competing values. Think about it for a second. Picture yourself your kid’s age. Young people thrive on fitting in. Now picture yourself diabetic. So it sucks to be different, right? Do you want to be not only different, but be the only one at the party who doesn’t drink? If you don’t fit in, you won’t be invited back. As an adult, this may seem trivial, but it’s deadly serious to your kid.
Plus, and I bet you’ve forgotten this, because it was so many years ago, but drinking is fun. It’s forbidden. It’s risky. It’s different. It’s an escape, an adventure, a bonding, a ritual, a game, a sport, and an art form all rolled into one.
Drinking is, literally and figuratively, intoxicating.
Now, people say plenty of bad things about me, and you’re welcome to join them if you like, but no one says I’m a fool. I know what I’m talking about here. I know your kid will drink. And I know that drinking is damn dangerous for young people, and it’s damn fucking dangerous for young people with type 1 diabetes. There are powerful biologic and pharmaceutical forces at play when you mix diabetes and alcohol.
And that’s what this site is all about. It’s the tool kit you need to understand this dangerous mix, and the playbook you need to start what may be a life-saving conversation with your kid. But first, before you can use all the fabulous tools here, you have accept the fact that you need these tools. That was the first round. It was on me to do the job.
Now it’s your turn. Belly up to the bar. Drink in all the information this site has to offer.
William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on) is a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. He has the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. His work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, Will has spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, he’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is Wil’s personal home base, where he get to say what and how he feels about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors.