Pitcher of holiday themed drink

Lesson learned.

Although I’ve written several blogs for Vertava Health over the last few weeks, I’ve never actually introduced myself and why I’m here.

My name is Brittany and I’m the Social Media Manager for Vertava Health. I jumped into this incredible position with this company for a multitude of reasons: My background is in broadcast meteorology – I enjoy anything and everything interactive, and especially crunching the numbers of analytics. But most importantly, I felt so strongly that I was being called to make a difference in the lives of people who are sick.

I live with a chronic disease: Crohn’s disease. I know what it’s like to be sick – really sick. I know the helplessness and the fear that comes with a disease that can be treated but will always live within me. I know that if I don’t take care of myself, I’ll be back in the hospital. What I don’t know is what it’s like to be sick with a disease that many people still don’t qualify as an actual illness. I didn’t choose to have Crohn’s and no one chooses addiction.

If you don’t have Chron’s, you may not know much about it. Perhaps you have a distant family member or classmate that has Crohn’s, maybe you know some of the basics. Until you have Crohn’s or someone in your immediate family or circle, it’s probably not a common topic of your thoughts or conversation. I know my disease and I know my daily struggles. However, I can’t say the same thing about addiction. I’m not in recovery. I don’t know what it’s like to live with it. Some days, when I think I’ve got a lot figured out about drug and alcohol addiction, the truth is – I just don’t.

So, here’s what happened today.

I’ve got an entire spreadsheet dedicated to what I want to get done and when (part of that whole number-crunching, over-organized thing.) Today, my plan was to come up with a whole design of great non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy during the holidays. I had fruity “mocktail” images ready to go for our Pinterest boards. I was ready.

About halfway through writing my daily blog – it just didn’t feel right. My blog felt cheesy. I couldn’t imagine being in recovery and reading this blog, taking notes about what drinks I should drink. I know I’m not going to order a sparkling raspberry-peach tea mocktail at any restaurant. I’m not going to order any “virgin bellini” or any fancy assortment of juices. Even though I do have an occasional glass of wine, I’m a water drinker. On special occasions, I treat myself to a Diet Coke. But I’d feel really pretentious ordering anything else.

I hadn’t ever really thought about what my friends in recovery order at restaurants. Why would I? I’m not in recovery, yet I’m writing about and for people who are. I felt like I needed to get some insight, rather than arrange some pretty pictures for people who are actually sick or recovering from being sick and assuming that I understand what it’s like.

Instead of trying to wing it, I reached out for some resources. Several of my coworkers are in recovery – and they’re always my go-to when I have questions. So I asked them, “What do you order to drink when you go out to a restaurant or a party?”

Can you guess what their responses were?

Water. Tea. Diet coke. Water with lemon.

One of my co-workers in recovery said she didn’t feel the need to order fancy beverages. She drinks Diet Coke because she knows it isn’t going to be confused with someone else’s alcoholic beverage – it’s dark in color and can tell there isn’t any alcohol in it. Plus, she says, non-alcoholic beverages come in different kinds of cups – she won’t set it down and accidentally pick up someone else’s alcoholic drink.

Another co-worker told me that while she was in a alcoholic recovery treatment center, the only thing she drank was water – and drinking any soft drink was considered a specialty or a privilege. She’s since carried that over into her daily routine.

I was met with an overwhelming “No” when it came to ordering a fancy mocktail.

So much for my imagination running wild with how to decorate our social media platform with pink non-alcoholic drinks and glasses garnished with 3 different fruits. I’m OK with it because I learned something new today. But, just in case you were wondering I did include a few of the non-alcoholic drinks I included in my original blog on our newly created Pinterest.

Ultimately, though – this blog made me wonder – why do we even have fancy non-alcoholic beverages anyway? I know I only surveyed a few people, but my feedback was that people in recovery don’t want or need them. Does anyone actually order them? Is what I learned correct? Do you order mocktails or crafty concoctions when you’re out to dinner? What is your experience?

Let me know what you think by emailing me or commenting below.
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