I also stopped drinking basically after my 20's as it just hurt too much (could feel it in my joints immediately and headaches).
My best guess would be that while injesting gluten your intestine doesn't absorb the food nutrients - most goes straight through. I would guess the same would go for alcohol.
Now that you are gluten free and your body is working better and absorbing things, it is doing a "better" job of absorbing the alcohol too and so you will feel the effects more than you would have done before being gluten free.
But like I said, that is only a guess.
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