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British Liver Trust
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Remembering my sister

Today marks 6 years since my sister was taken by this horrid disease. She was 41, alcohol ruined her life, and finally ended it. I've said on this forum before that I strongly believe that alcoholism is an illness and not a lifestyle choice. Nobody would choose to become dependant upon a poison. They start off doing something millions of ordinary people do everyday. The taxes generated by alcohol and the influence of these giant business's on governments make tougher regulation impossible. So many people start drinking at a young age, then life events can cause the ultimate "abuse" of alcohol. In my sisters case depression, pain, abusive relationships all had an effect.

I watched my sisters deterioration, she was managing quite well, and then she wasn't. She would be impossible to talk to in the evening, she would slur her words, tell lies, get confused, abusive etc, then have forgotten it all the next day.

Alcoholic liver diseases jumped up and slapped my sister only weeks before she died. I'd imagine she had many symptoms but was too out of it to notice that she was unwell. Her first sign was her tummy swelling, I immediately said that's assites, and told her to see a Dr. Two weeks later she was jaundiced and in hospital, within days she'd had a massive bleed and was in ITU, 10 days in ITU and things looked hopeful, she'd come through renal and respitory failure, her brain they were very concerned about, but she was alive. However 3 days back on the ward she had another massive bleed, this time her heart could not take another lose, and she died of a MI. The drugs they had used to shut down her vessels had turned her legs black, she would have lost 1/2 of one foot and toes on the other, if she had been well enough to go through an op. So it would have been tough, especially due to concerns about her brain, however I didn't realise until using this forum how many people do survive these horrendous bleeds, and come out fighting. I suppose that has been the only sad thing for me using this forum, I had thought it was inevitable that she would die, that no body could survive that!! So anyone who has come out the other side and survived, please, please don't drink again, don't put your families, and yourself through that experience again!! Sorry I went off the point there???

So today is no different to any other day, she is gone every day, and thought of every day. It just so happens that today we have been doing that for 6 years!!

I loved my big sister Rachel, but alcohol took her from me, even before she died!!

P.s. my mum organised for my sister to be an tissue donor. I urge people to look into this when a loved one dies. Rachel gave sight to two people, can heart muscle to a 5 day old baby, and a valve or something to an older man. Each time tissue was used they wrote to my mum to tell her about what had been used and for what. This brought great comfort to my mum. Obviously her organs weren't in good shape, but tissue can be used and harvested a little later after death.

8 Replies


Hi, I have thought long and hard about if getting addicted to booze is a "disease." My view is that it seems to be more addictive to some than others, it is a drug and there maybe a genetic link to it in regards to how its going to affect you. Im not sure if thats a disease?

Sorry for your loss, 41 is very young indeed.


Thank you for your post, I'm thinking that as addiction itself is classed as a mental illness, then I think it is. However if we are referring to the strict definition of disease, then maybe illness is a more accurate term. However my point was that is definately not a lifestyle choice!!! That was the main message, nobody chooses to become dependent upon something!! I don't mean the flippant way someone might say, oh I'm so addicted to chocolate, I mean proper brain chemistry addiction, smoking, alcohol, heroin etc. These have disease classification.


A more important point is that you dont need to be drinking everyday or crazy amounts to get serious Liver problems. Obviously Alcoholics have a much bigger chance of damage. But its true to say they born this way, its not a choice, but just a human frailty ?

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I'm sorry for your loss but so grateful for your post. I'm desperately starting to feel I'm on a miserable slippery slope and I need posts like this to help me get out of it. Thank you for sharing xx


I'm so sorry to hear you are struggling. I've heard so many positive stories on here about people who thought they had no chance of a normal healthy life, then they stop drinking and in many cases their liver heals, or they at least stop its immediate deterioration. There is always hope, please try and get some help. Have you spoken to a Dr or therapist about how you are feeling??

I'm glad my post has at least made you think, I hope it spurs you on to act on that and get well. There is a great deal of help on here, please post if you need advice or support.

Take care



A tragic story ; so sad; but i am glad that your mother has been comforted in part by your sister being a tissue donor; it is also good that the Hospital has informed her of how your sisters tissues were used to help others.

I am of the opinion that it is also a disease/ its a very serious addiction; it is also as Ralph says 'a human frailty' I think things come into it such as nature and nurture; possibly some genetics too. ; but i / someone i know/ has experienced poor attitudes at times from health professionals; though not always; mainly Nurses. There has been alot of help from GP's however.

I know what you mean about the government and taxes; pple who drink pay an absolute fortune in taxes;

I do hope that there were some times in you and your sisters life where you had happy times together and try to think about these times.

Very best wishes to you and your mum. xx


Hi, So sorry to hear about your sister, it has taken some courage on your behalf to tell us all about her. Your experience will be a great help to others, so please keep posting your comments. Thank you.


Hello Hun,

You are a truly wonderful individual. Your sister was taken by this horrible disease and this still has impacted your lives every day.

I pray that your sister is at peace and you and your family are given the strength and courage to carry on.

Yours truly,


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