Why can't I stop drinking?: Hello, this... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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Why can't I stop drinking?

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Hello, this is my first post. I have been drinking excessively for over 35 years. Wine. Up to a bottle a night. Blood tests are usually normal or slightly elevated but I know they don't tell the whole story. I've been referred to community addiction at my request but they only tell me what I already know. I was hoping to be prescribed Naltrexone but have to be abstinent first. If I could stop drinking I wouldn't need help! If I smoked there'd be no stigma and a range of readily available treatments. I never thought I'd be in this situation, unable to stop a harmful habit. I want to be able to stop before I get to the point of no return. How do I conquer my own lack of self control? Please help me.

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As this is a forum for people affected by all of the many different forms liver disease perhaps the help you need is a more focused forum dedicated to addiction.

However, having said that, you are clearly concerned about the harm you may be doing to your health and liver function.

So, perhaps I can help you to understand a bit more of the risk you are taking and the possible outcome if you don't do something about your drinking. Hopefully, that will give you extra motivation to control your addiction / reliance on alcohol.

My own experience sounds pretty much the same as yours. I drank for the whole of my adult life, like you there were no real indications that my liver was being damaged. I knew I drank more than was good for me, but head in the sand, I carried on thinking nothing bad could possibly happen.

Late 2014 I saw my GP because my tummy was a bit swollen, otherwise I felt fine. Approximately an hour after I left the surgery I had a phone call to return to the surgery. I was informed that I probably had an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, possibly due to liver damage.

I'll cut this story short and tell you that 14 months later I had a liver transplant. I endured a horrendous and rapid decline in both my physical and mental health. During 2015 I spent a total of 80 days in hospital, my family and partner keeping me happily oblivious to the fact they were preparing for my death.

I was incredibly fortunate to have survived long enough to receive a donated liver. I now enjoy excellent health and have entered the 2017 Transplant Games.

I could say I'm not trying to scare you, but would that be such a bad thing ? The likelihood is, if you can stop drinking and make other easy life changes, such as diet and exercise, you can prevent or reverse any damage already done. On this forum there are people who had a diagnosis of cirrhosis and by life style changes now have fully functioning livers.

So, I've given you the best and the worst scenario. I hope this will give you the impetus to choose a life without alcohol, no matter how difficult that might be. I'll confess that for me, stopping drinking was extremely easy as I became too ill to tolerate alcohol and after my transplant, having gone through such trauma, alcohol simply doesn't interest me anymore. I would prefer it if you stop by a much easier route.

I know you will get input from others here who might give you more practical advice on becoming abstinent.

In the meantime, I suggest you visit the British Liver Trust website where you will find a wealth of information designed to help you understand and care for the health of your liver.

Take care,




Hi, it's a matter of willpower which I am sure you have plenty of. Also how much do you value living, if you cannot stop try cutting down your intake. We are all with you, wishing you good luck... You can and will do it..

if you are an alcoholic then you have an illness. There are organisations that can help you. The only way to stop and stay stopped is total abstinence. This link will tell you all about the places that can help you. wishing you all the very best. love grace xoxo


Hun you have an addiction. As you say if it was smoking ir drugs yoyd get tonnes of help and prescriptions to help you get off without cold turkey (btw i hope you know going cold turkey can kill you and that you need to be weaned off).

Try talking to Mind/relate to see if counselking xan help you wirk out why you drink, then you may be able to address the cause of your addiction and not the sympton, the sympton being drinking. If you can afford it hynotherapy may help you too..

Also, try refucing the amount you drink by replacing standard alcohol with low or no alcohol - if you drink spirits, try making them long drinks and reducing the amount of spirit put in - not sure how good flavourings are, but poss a few drops of flavouring may trick your mind into thinking its still as strong as you like it. If you drink beers/wine, tgere are def very good low and zero alcohol choices tgat taste no different.

You obviously want to stop drinking, otherwise you wouldnt ask for help, so give yourself a pat on the back and keep pressing ahead until you do stop.

Best of the best of luck and wishes xo

in reply to Geffy22

What low or low SL ohol ones can you recommend as I tried that but they were foul

in reply to PKEE

Hi, if you like lagers, then san migel zero zero is good as is cobra zero. Also, Fosters Radler if you want a shandy style drink is a good option

This should help you find wine



Hi in my experience you have to face up to your demons and if possible do a detox there are plenty about , you are drinking for what ? I'm an ex drug user who turned my life around as I wanted to be clean so much I wanted a life where I wasn't hiding behind drugs , your the only person who has that choice and your the only person who can achieve it , find help and take it or keep drinking the choice is yours , good luck on your journey I can't say it will be easy as you know it won't but with support anything is possible, good luck with all ))

in reply to retwos

You should try really hard to quit drinking rehab etc. or the next thing you find out is that you have cirrhosis which is a really scary disease. I don't drink and i got cirrhosis from diabetes. There are many causes for cirrhosis besides drinking. It might be caused from something else so you need to eliminate that as being one of them. I thought i would never have to worry about my liver because i don't drink but i was wrong. I never thought my diabetes would affect my liver. I have faith that if you do something about it now you could be preventing a horrible disease. Good luck and i will pray for you.


I can't add to all the advice you have been given but I would suggest trying acupuncture. I used it when I was suffering from severe asthma and it worked also my brother in law uses it for depression and stress and he swears by it. Give it ago what have you got to loose. Maybe even hypnotherapy although I've no experience of this.

if your an alcoholic you have more chance of stopping diarrhoea with willpower than you have to stop drinking. Get the help you need and deserve. It is recognised as an illness.

You can't do it alone

Darling, you have been drinking every night for 35 years. I think you know why you have been having a very hard time stopping. And I know --- because I am addicted to practically everything...well, sort of. Ha. Anyway, isn't it SO stupid that you have to cure your addiction cold turkey, which is like the least effective approach for the vast majority of people, before they will work with you with currently available pharmaceutical assistants? Stupid treatment community. I think they just want to keep their therapists in business sometimes. (Partly. Talking it out individually and with peers in a guided setting is an important component for most people.)

One piece of practical advice to consider is that I try to (greatly) reduce my intake of the most pleasurable versions of the substance in question in order to "feed the need" while simultaneously breaking yourself of the habit. Let's say you smoked brand A of cigarettes, for example, and you wanted to quit. You could wean yourself down by reducing your desire by forcing yourself to smoke a brand B, which, in this example you hate. (Maybe one is menthol, and the other is not, for example.)

When it comes to alcohol, If you hate the taste of stout, for example, drink that instead of wine, which you crave and love, for awhile. Eventually, hopefully, you will greatly reduce or eliminate your intake of stout (and not develop a taste for it or go back to wine.) Different approaches work for different people. This is just one idea. Good luck.


hi ,I have tried many many forms to try and stay stopped,14 detox,4 rehabs,day programs,anti-buse,cbt,acupuncture (might have worked if they placed the needles in my mouth),on a an extremely serious note,i would get in contact with your doctor,they in turn can refer you to the local alcohol team,with me and any alcoholic it has to be total abstinence,not changing the way you drink,if you are trying to control a substance then that is you recognizing your illness and problem,you have made the first step by admitting your problem,if you need to come off alcohol safely,speak to your doctor,the only thing that has worked and is still working for me isA/A(2 years 6 months),if you ring there helpline up they can arrange for someone to go with you,give it a go,it's only an hour or so out of your life,it isn't a god program either if it was i would be screwed,you can't and won't beat this by yourself,tried it didn't work,hopefully you can turn it around before the consequences get to hard,and the consequences come thick and fast,you have made a massive in acknowledging you have a problem,try and make that important call and because your worth it,all the best Tony

in reply to Hidden

me too. 29 years.on the 23.june.

in reply to grace111

thats amazing and truly inspiring,that,s quite a few days at a time ,happy 29 years on the 23rd grace,x

in reply to Hidden

thanks. its always great to see other AA's on the forum and i am still being Anonymous as no one knows me. . Its to give others hope just how powerful AA is. and as you will know it is anything but easy. love grace xoxo

Hi, this may be of help:


Hi, I just wanted to say, as the subject of alcohol is very close to my heart. Firstly, your already on your journy to sobriety owing to the fact you understand gou have a problem, your activly trying to seek help and your here seeking advise. I think your realky brave and making a really good start.

Now, the reason alcohol has affected me. I have,"5" siblings, all over the age of 44, I've watched them over 25 years, each and every one of them slowly, daily drink themselves closer to heavens door. There drinking pattern is heavy," 2" medium bottles of vodca a day. Iv tried to help each one dry out on various ocations with out success.

First by cutting down the amount of vodca they consumed daily then when it was safe to do so I switched them to larger( modret strength) 7 cans a day. Weekly reducing by one can a day untill they where on 4 cans a day. Then I switched the modret strength larger to a low strength larger for the last 4 weeks. Within two weeks they were all back on the hard stuff😒. Frankly, im amazed there still here, iv been waiting for the door to knock for over a decade now expecting the news they've died.

Im concerned at the thaught of you going from the strength and quantity you consume atm streat down to low strenght or even zero alcohol content as you'd be in very serious trouble. Some siblings tried it and ended up having very serious fits leading to a couple of weeks in hospitle.

The irony is, iv never drank and contracted hepb 17 years ago which fortunetly for me remained inactive untill four months ago sue to my compromised imune system. Belive me, a compromiced liver, regardless of which diagnosis is not nice and its not prettyπŸ˜•. Give it your best shot, you have nothing to loose and a million &one things to gain. I wish you all the luck in the world.

in reply to Nelly4

Sorry, I ment reducing larger by,1 can a week."



If you are, or have ever been, alcohol dependent or an alcoholic, discuss

this with your doctor. In these circumstances it is important to get medical

help to give up drinking, as stopping suddenly can, in some cases, lead to

severe withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations and seizures. There

are many sources of support and help they can give you or direct you to.

Wishing you well,


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