British Liver Trust
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Help for my partner

Hi everyone

I'm new to all this, and not really a big user of the internet, but reading some of your posts gave me hope.

My partner is quite a bit older than me and a heavy drinker. He has always drunk a lot and will easily drink 3/4 of a bottle of dark rum and still stand!

Over the last few months his health has deteriorated. He's always really tired (but does have a physical job) and never seems to feel 'well.' He regularly complains of stomach pains and has diahorrea most days. He doesn't vomit but does have an awful cough which seems to worsen the more he has drunk (to the extent I nearly called an ambulance the other night because he couldn't catch his breath and couldn't manage more than 3 or 4 normal breaths before another bout of coughing took over).

He has an awful temper and I have noticed, at times when he has had quite a bit to drink, what I can only describe as quite a major 'twitch' where he jerks his head/neck quite harshly. He has also had times when he has been driving and had to pull over because suddenly he doesn't actually know where he is (even though it is a regular journey). He had blood tests done about a year ago and these were normal. Could things change in such a short space of time?

Any help would be appreciated as we have 2 young children and I am starting to crumble with worrying about him.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

9 Replies


Drinking 3/4 of a bottle on Friday evening probably wont cause serious issues, how ever that amount everyday is different matter entirely and will almost certainly cause health issues long term.

With alcohol and Cirrhosis, its all about the amount of booze and length of time consuming at dangerous levels. But usually it would be 10 - 15 "pints years" as in 1 pint of vodka a day for 10-15 years to get end stage liver disease, but there are some unlucky people who can get it on half a bottle of wine a day, rare but it happen.

What you are describing does indeed sound like it "could" be the Liver, but it could also be any number of things. The only way for you to find out is to get him to the doctors asap and get some blood tests. I say waste no time, even if he does have a Liver issue he could be at a stage where full recovery is possible


Did you see yourself that his blood tests were normal? My father had this fluid you speak of, it may not be congestive heart failure but my fathers was, then they found he had liver cancer. He drank hard spirits his entire life. The jerking he is expericing suggests too that his system is trying to shut down . I see why you wanted to call an ambulance. I am no doctor but what you describe is life threatening not just for him but for others on the road. I do not want to judge him, alcoholism is a deadly disease, its tragic what it does to families. I was one. I now have liver cancer. I have been sober for 14 years. All my relationships are mended thanks to 14 years of being sober and figuring out how to make things up to my children. Good luck.


Hi kf81.. You have said what he drinks but you havent said how often he drinks.My husband drinks every day and has done for the past 30 years,Since i have known him which is 3 and half years all his blood tests have come back normal liver.kidneys,blood levels etc.(i have been in the drs when they give the results) but the last two have come back different, he had bloods done a month ago and the liver came back to being 350,(its supposed to be bettwen 0 -60 )kidneys being ok, his blood count very low,, two weeks later he had another blood test and his liver had risen from 350 to 359 ,his kidneys still come back ok, but his blood count is still very low and his protien levels are very low too. So they can change just in a matter of a few weeks.Your husbands health will deteriote fast, my husband has gone down hill very fast in the last three weeks, hes 48 but alot of people who dont know him thinks he is an old man, one guy in his 30s asked my husband if he needed help out of the mens toilets because he looks so frail and shaky on his feet. If your partner is willing to read the forums on here get him to read them(my husband wont) , he will only get worse not better if he carries on drinking, he cant abuse his body and expect to be well. He isnt being sick just yet but it will come, he will be incontinent ,wetting the bed most nights,not making it to the toilet and end up having diorea down his legs and all over the floor( i know this because thats what im going through with my husband at the moment). I am lucky as in our children are all grown up but you have two small children....Having my husband be so ill is like having a an 18 month old so eventually it will be like you having three young children and we all know how hard it is to have one let alone three. Get him to get help now before its too late.You say he has a temper? HIs temper will also get worse, my husband was one of the nicest man you could have met, he would open doors for me, tell me he loved me all the time, etc never once said a bad thing to me, i have spent hours in tears because of his nastyness because of his drinking and illness.We are all here for you so come on here anytime, we dont judge anyone and its been a great help knowing there are others who know what your going through..hugs and love..


Not a judgment or a criticism - but should he really be driving ?

From what you have said he should not be on the road. If you can drive that would be useful so not being mobile wont cause too many problems. Also, his GP could possibly without his permission report him to the DVLA.

I drove while ill and in hindight I shouldnt have, although I had stopped drinking I did have hepatic encephalopathy serious enough to be hospitalised on quite a few occasions. I have numerous parking tickets from occasions pre-transplant when I would park wherever I wanted without a care of if it was legal or not.

Sorry to be the bearer of something that can create difficulties for you.


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Thank you for your replies. I think I will try to persuade him to go back to his GP for more tests. I think his biggest problem is he's in denial

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Please dont think because he has a physical job thats why he is tired, i blamed my tiredness on that and it wasn't, any healthy man should be able to work hard without being overly tired, It is always worth a trip to the DR's. Hopefully its nothing serious.

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This was the same for my boyfriend for several years. He was tired because "he worked so hard." I watched him slowly deteriorate. Alcoholism is a terrible treatable disease, but there does come a time when you cannot turn back the clock. My BF stopped drinking in June (and smoking too). He had been making progress until about a week ago when his sodium levels dropped. He's now been in the hospital for a week and I'm not sure when he will be discharged. Last week, he was independent in his self care. Now he can hardly walk because he is so weak. I hope he will make gains again and his sons are taking turns caring for him. (His alcoholic behavior took a toll on our relationship and I am not currently directly involved in his care.) I tried to talk to him many many many times about his drinking and fatigue but it was always "work" and "work pressure" causing fatigue and the need to "relax" with a drink instead of exercise.

Get your partner to a doctor and to detox immediately!!


Yeah that's what I blamed it on, although alcohol wasn't the cause of mine I did used to drink after work some days and now if I've had a hard day I go for a run instead! Much better


Hi KF81,

The British Liver Trust have a publication 'Alcohol and Liver Disease' that you may find useful to read. See link below;

It would be advisable to discuss your husbands drinking with the GP and the problems he has when he has been driving as soon as possible.

If you need to talk about any of these concerns our helpline is open Monday to Friday 10-3 on 0800 652 7330

Best wishes,


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