British Liver Trust
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Husband with Cirrhosis

Hello, this is all new for me and I've read some very interesting posts by a lot of people that have liver disease or know of someone. My husband has Cirrhosis. He is an alcoholic and continues to drink with his diagnosis. I've tried multiple times to talk with him and how it affects us as a couple. I go to every appointment with him because he just doesn't give me the full scoop if he goes by himself. I love him and care for him so much but it's killing me to watch him "kill" himself. He won't go to classes. I plan on going to al anon. When he was diagnosed, doc said if he didn't quit drinking he will die in 4-7 years. It's been a year since. He's angry and pushes me away. So now I stay a few feet back when it comes to his drinking. Can anyone relate?

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Sorry you're having so much to deal with. My dad's been an alcoholic for as long as I remember and naturally with that, family always came second. At 64 years old, he's now suffering the effects of his lifelong abuse; amazingly no liver problems but pretty much everything else is falling apart.

I can't understand how someone can keep drinking when suffering from cirrhosis but unless you've had an addiction, you couldn't understand I guess.

I'd say keep insisting he accepts the help he clearly needs but also understand he can only get help if he wants to be helped. No one other than him can decide that.

Good luck!

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Thank you for that. I don't understand it either why it continues when you know the outcome. But I hear you as I hear others tell me, that if he wants to be fixed it's up to him. I just started nursing school, so it's helping a lot to keep my mind in a better place. Good Luck to you and your father. I pray it turns around for him.

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Thank you I hope so too. I gave up on him long ago to be honest. Still remember the countless times my mum was waiting for him in terror not knowing what he was going to do. The only thing I'm thankful for is his addiction in a way made me a stronger person and better dad to my own children. I definitely know what sort of dad I wouldn't want to be.

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I sit here at home, waiting to see what kind of shape my husband is going to be in. He's never sloppy drunk but has that go ahead knock it off chip on his shoulder. I hate it. And really just don't want t be around him. At this moment in time the way things are going, it's like I'm waiting for the worst. And as much as I want to make it all better, I can't. And he's not willing. So, my children and my strength to be a better person and educate myself through schooling is what I live for now a days. 😊 Thank you for being kind and sharing your story.

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I sincerely hope you manage to work it all out. It is certainly not a great situation to be in.

You should probably seek some help, don't just put up with it. My mum did and she's still paying for it. It kills me knowing she only stayed for the sake of my sister and I.

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I agree there are support groups for families affected by this terrible condition, try the local gastroenterology unit at your hospital they will have information on safe groups, or the BLT !!!

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Thank you Klodian. I'm hanging in there. And yes, I plan on seeking help for me and my son. Everyone that has replied, has given me a reason to keep moving forward. It's really nice to chat with someone who's actually been there, in my shoes, without judgement, and understands where im coming from. God Bless.

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I have cirrhosis and now will need a transplant, unfortunately he is the only one who can choose to get help, there are many help services, I go to the Norfolk Recovery partnership, they have doctors, nurses and councillors all working together to help plus input from mental health care. It’s been a life saver for me and you know that if you “relapse “ they won’t judge just support you. I have been dry for 7months(but it’s taken 5years to finally get to this point) There is no quick fix, but try to find a local service that will help (even if he needs Dutch courage to get through the door- but no one will see him if he’s totally pissed).

Good luck, try to get information for him, he can read it (or not!) but he might just dig his heels in if you keep trying to talk him into it- alcoholics are a notoriously stroppy lot :-)

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Hello O13B, you given me a good idea about gathering information. Wheter it will give him a little more thought as to what hes doing to himelf or not, thats another story. He may even get angry with me because of it. But hell, its worth a try. Not sure what the Norfolk Recovery is, maybe cause I may be living elsewhere than you? Is it something I can access online? I know his liver specialist here, the only information she's given is AA. And also that if he would need a transplant, he would have to be sober for a year for them to even think about it. And the light at that tunnel is very dim right now. Thank you for your input. It's very much appreciated!!

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He might just chuck it in the bin! But you’ll know that you’ve done everything you can, and he won’t accept your help and support it’s his loss! You can relax and sleep easier knowing you’be done everything possible. I’d tell him just to ask if he wants help and then back off. It sounds harsh and probably won’t be easy for the lovely, caring person you are, but you can’t let his demons damage your health through the worry, stress and anxiety you must feel. And please NEVER feel guilty for not being able to help him, you know that old saying “you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink “ Please try and find a local support group for yourself, if you tell me the name of your town I’ll see what’s available, and take 1job off your hands (if that would help) xx

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Hello TQuintero,

May I ask please where about's in the world you are? I have unfortunately been in both positions. I lived with my then wife for 11-years and who had a terrible alcohol condition. She could become both aggressive and violent, she drank because she was tormented with grief over her mothers death after she found her mother lying in on the kitchen floor with her throat cut. Sadly, Colette went on to take her own life.

I personally had been drinking all my life, and I too developed a alcohol condition. (you'll notice I avoid using the word Alcoholic, more about that later).

People normally start drinking for a reason. But this reason may remain hidden in their subconscious, and just become their lifestyle a habit or routine. For example, you get a shy person who lives alone, but craves the company of others. This could be the man or woman, who gets into a routine of calling in the pub each night after work and stays for up to 5-hours at a time each night. There's those people who become weekend socialites, who go out on a Friday or Saturday night with just one thing in their minds and that is getting steaming drunk. And then you get those who drink for self-medication, to kill or numb the pain. This pain can be either physical or mental. I used to drink for up to three days solid. But then once I'd sobered up I could go without a drink for up to three or four weeks.

I never thought to try and analysis the reason for this behaviour pattern. It was only late in me life when the damage to my body started to surface, that I looked back and psychoanalysed my behaviour. I realised that I would suffer with depression every three to four weeks, and these depressive moods would go on to last for up to three or four days. For me, there was a connection between alcohol and depression. This condition is more common that a lot people think and is a form of self-medication. Here there is a need to just want to shut yourself off and lock yourself away inside a protective bubble, and this is where the hurt comes from, and we end up hurting those very people we love. If for example you want to talk to your husbands about his drinking, he'll most likely see this as nagging and he'll want to go off and start to drink again so he can climb back into that imaginary bubble and be alone again.

Is there a pattern to his drinking? Are there any times when he's sober enough to talk to? I think everyone on this site now knows that I'm a great believer in treating the cause and not just the symptom. Is there something in his past that's haunting him. It could be a situation that happened may years ago that he's not be able to deal with. Or maybe something that happened that wasn't his fault.

The reason I asked at the beginning about where in the world you are, is that AA is not every ones cup of tea, and I know a lot of people who have been totally turned off by their approach. In some ways I believe they can do more harm than good. This is one of the reasons I don't like the word alcoholic. I did in the past go to two meetings. I was told at one of the meeting that if I could go three weeks without a drink, I wasn't an alcoholic like them and that I should leave. I certainly had a drink problem, but I came away feeling a fraud. These are my own feelings, it goes without saying, that many people have found AA a great institution and anything that helps others with their problem isn't a bad thing.

I have put together a website explaining about Alcohol-related Liver Disease, and some of the medical conditions associated with it. You may find it interesting taep.eu

I hope some of what I've written makes some sort of sense and that your able to understand what I'm trying to relay here.

Please let us now and how you get on and if there's anything any of us can help you with.

You are in good company here, and need not feel alone.

Good Luck

Richard

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Wow! I'd "like"that answer twice if I could, lol. Cheers.

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I agree about AA (I never went, as my brother went and felt he got worse! Also my GP was very anti!!) I use “alcoholic “ as it seems easier for people to understand ( when I used that term I actually got more support from my friends!) and at the end of the day it’s only a word- but not everyone wants people to know anything’s wrong. So I think it’s up to each individual to decide how to describe their condition.

I look forward to to viewing your website:-)

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Very well spoken

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Your website is super, Rchard.

My own exp is that the liver can give false results - it can operate within the parameters and appear healthy when it isn't. This happened in the last 15m if my husbands life who died, aged 50, due to decompensated liver, he lost his life by passing it through his colon. His liver failed,rapidly, I maintain due to antibiotics - he had an op after which for 12 month he had an infection in the site of the op. the hispital rried everything, but only when they removed the plate did they discover it was mrsa and it was in the bone - the consultant said it was on the plate. So they gave him a intravenous cocjtail of antibiotics for 6 months followed by tablets for 6 months. 2 weeks later he had a grand mal seizure and continued to have seizures for 12 months, his liver tests from being fine were then appalling. He spent his last 4 weeks in hospital. they said he'd recover, but 3 weeks before he died, he was diagnosed with pneumonia , he had more antibiotics his liver worsened to palliative. he came home for his last 3 days. his liver started recovering the day before he died, but it was too late. The pathologist found no evidence of alcoholic liver, but because he drank, his death certifiate states he died due to alcoholic liver disease. No matter what the cause of liver disease, everyone blames it on alcohol!

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Wow, sounds familiar Geffy. My late father had a drink problem and ended up having cirrhosis and finally died in hospital. The stupid thing that I really hated, was that as his liver began to fail in the last final days, he too went on to contract pneumonia. They even put that down to being cause of death on the death certificate, when in fact it was really cirrhosis and liver failure.

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liver disease is a terrible illness, the more we can raise awareness, the better x

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Hi Richard 64.I've just re-read my reply to you from earlier this morning and have become aware that it may come across as somewhat flippant. This was absolutely not my intention and I apologize for any misunderstanding.

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No worries, I didn't read it as someone being flippant, so no need to apologise.

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Thank you.

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Excellent post and an interesting site you have built. I agree with most points but the tone was refreshingly non-preachy...! Unlike some... Thank you

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Thank you Richard for your concern. First I'm sorry for what you and your wife went through. That's a sad thing that happened. And as far as the self medication, I believe that's just what my husband is doing. I worked with him today at the restaurant and found him having a drink in the back. It was 11am. I literally just was speechless, because he just got out of the hospital 4 days ago for draining of acietes cause he couldn't breath. I stopped saying anything to him about his drinking. And it's killing me as well. Talking to him when he's sober, and honestly, he never is completely...He doesn't want to hear it. He gets angry. So ive chosen not to anymore. Im goi ng to nursing school and raising my 13 year old son, and he sees his actions and questions me about them at times. I do my best to explain without giving him to much to think about. But anyhow, thank you for your chat.

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TQuintero, I totally hear you and understand what it's like. I can see things from both your perspective and that of your husbands. Looking back 013B comments about Norfolk Recovery partnership are the way forward. Like I've said before, treating both the physical and mental aspects together is I believe the way forward and will result with a greater chance of success of abstinence.

Like I've mentioned before, everyone who drinks, does so for a reason. I believe it all starts when we're in our teens. Alcohol becomes associated with good times, fun and laughter. Our inhibitions are relaxed and we feel invincible. I believe that our subconscious uses these memories as a tool to fix the feeling of depression, low mood, anxiety, low self esteem. The list is endless. And the answer is sadly all around us, and there known as alcohol triggers. It could be something simple like driving passed a pub, seeing a bus go passed with an advertisement on it advertising a new brand of beer. Even watching tv is no escape as triggers are everywhere, The Rovers, Queen Vic, Woolpack, etc there all there. So, when we are at a low ebb and feeling down, there is our subconscious, reminding us how happy we were back in those younger days, "Why not have a drink, it made you happy in the past, maybe it will work again". So, now we're off, and yes, it begins to work after maybe 6 drinks. But, alcohol (like most of you'll know) is a depressant. So a cycle begins. The gloom is back, and next time we go for a drink, it takes 8 drinks to lift the gloom, and so it goes on. This is just us trying to self-medicate and make the problem better. But the problem is still there and doesn't get resolved, it just festers and eats away. A person who goes on to develop an alcohol problem, most often or not can't remember why their drinking in the first place. They now do it because they have too.

I order to break this cycle I firmly believe, that the best form of therapy is to not only treat the alcohol issue, but also the cause. Like I said, there maybe something there that's not been address from our past, that keeps coming back to haunt us. There the person has to confront their demons and resolve the cause of their pain and anguish. It maybe in the end something quit simple, a little thing. Or it could be something that happened that wasn't their fault. Either way it has to be dealt with, confronted and if need be draw a line in the sand and move on.

I really would like to carry on talking here, but I don't want to steal someone else's thunder. I feel I'm on a soap box, and others need to have a voice too. There's nothing here that can't be mended, There's a lot of people in here that have both been where you are now, and are, (like me) living proof that alcohol problems can be dealt with and overcome.

You are not alone.

Richard

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Your definitely not sounding like a soap box!! Lol. I enjoy reading your posts. You have a lot of good information. And i am hearing you loud and clear. My husband is the most stubborn man I know, and it's very hard to make him or just want him to understand what he's doing to himself. His mind is set in cement as to, as he tells me, "This is my problem and I will deal with it!" But yet, hes not dealing with it. Hes riding it out to the end. I now just sit on the sideline and watch. So I know, I need to take care of me and my son, and still be there for my husband, but on a different level.

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Hello, sorry to read what you're going through.

I have been in a very similar situation with a very dear friend who has Cirrhosis. He has been hospitalised twice, the last time being April when he received the diagnosis.

Since then, he hasn't touched alcohol for which I'm truly grateful but he now refuses to attend the hospital or see his GP.

I feel he's like a ticking time bomb, sometimes he looks dreadful and he consumes my every thought . I became very ill with all the worry he's given me over recent years, my GP even put me on Valium because I got in such a state feeling negligent and not knowing how to help. My GP also told me to realise that sometimes we can't help others and I took those words on board.

This site is great for asking for advice which is what I did for my friend , I also spoke to AA who were also really helpful.

I wish you all the best, it's an awful thing to go through . I've come to realise that some of the best people have a drinking problem, through trauma they've suffered . Good luck x

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Thank you! And yes, I feel like I can't help. Only because he's not excepting it. I love him very much and just hope someday soon he will wake up from this dreadful trauma he's putting himself through.

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Hi, I am too extremely sympathetic about your situation. I am a recovering alcoholic who has managed to stay clean and sober by utilising the wonderful fellowship of AA. I personally have never heard of anybody asking anything like the question asked to Richard64, in fact if I had heard it I would probably blown a gasket. Alcoholism is the only disease that must be self diagnosed, and all I have ever heard said to someone who is new around are things like “ if you have a problem with alcohol, you are in the right place”. AA is not for everybody I agree, but if you want to be in a room where people actually understand you, and how you think then it is the place for me. I am 58 years of age and haven’t had a drink since Oct 2002, over 15 years ago. Some of my best friends have stayed clean and sober for over 30 years all by using what’s on offer in the rooms of AA. You will benefit from al-anon and it uses the same principles as AA, your son could also benefit from al-ateen. Both of these fellowships will help you understand that you are not the only one that has had to deal with a drunk who just refuses to stop because he believes in his warped mind that his alcohol is the glue that actually holds things together. I had stopped drinking long before the damage I had caused came to light. I have Cirrhosis, Liver Cancer (HCC), have had an aborted liver transplant, given 12-24 hours to live, along with many other things. The most important thing to me is to not have a drink today, that’s it plain and simple. By doing that I can be a good husband, father, grandfather without taking away anybody else’s peace of mind. I have blogged about my cancer journey 1liver1life.wordpress.com

As stated earlier AA is not for everybody, it is the only thing I have done that has worked. Meetings are run by individuals, and occasionally power can go to peoples heads. If one meeting doesn’t feel right try another, they are not all the same. Do not be dissuaded by the GOD word, and listen for the similarities not the differences. I cannot speak for anybody else but if I am looking for any excuse not to be there, I will manage to find it in a heartbeat. “I am not like them - they will never understand my problems - it’s a religious cult” over the years I have heard them all, I just smile and wish them luck on their journey. My experience is that if I approached it with an open mind and truly listened I identified so much, and if these people were alcoholic then there was every chance that I might be one too.

Good luck

Ray

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God Bless you for your strength in your recovery. I pray my husband can be just as strong someday soon. I will definitely check out the sight you given me. Thank you for understanding and sharing your experiences with me!😊 its great to chat on here with so many people who have same experiences. Learning a lot!! Thank you again!!

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If someone does not want help sadly there is not much you can do al-anon is a good start. To be blunt make sure he has life insurance

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Hi hun,

Is your hubby open to talking to people? Samaritans may be a good place to go to because what he's doing is slowly killing himself. understanding what drives people to do this is a specialist area Samaritans understand and their counsellors are trained to support people to work this out and find a better way of dealing with it.

I wish I had a magic wand to remove addictions and dependencies on alcohol, drugs and other life threatening substances.

I'm sending you a big hug. Keep your friends close by and look after yourself.

I hope he can deal with his demons xxx

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He is not an open person. He barely talks to me about what he's going through. He shuts it out like its not there most of the time. But yet complains that he's not feeling well, and what all the side effects of his disease is doing to his body. I just want to scream at him and tell him, "if your not taking care of your body, your body isn't going to take care of you!" But I stay silent because I don't want to get into an argument. Thankful for your reply. I'm really hoping he can rid his demons!!

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Yes sadly many people who are in the same situ won't talk either because they think they'll just get criticised. Vicious cycle for them.

I really do hope he can fight this and win for all of you xxx

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TQuintero,

I do not know what you believe or if your world view. But I know what I have seen. What I have experienced. What can be done in the heart and soul and body of the lost and/or broken. So I pray for you now, for your husband, that the distances of shame he may feel, the guilt he may feel that it is his responsibility to carry and drink away, as I once did, would go. That the well of love that you have for him and the love he has for you could no longer be burdened or held back by the drinking and what he has attached to it. What is attached to it within your relationship. I pray for deliverance and reconciliation. I am believing that the Maker of things will intercede here and hoping in true faith. Bless you darling. Keep on Truckin’ and do not give up on hope or grace.

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You just made me cry.. Thank you for that. I won't give up!! That's a promise!😊

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Hi my thoughts are with you. I can't really add much more, but those who know me Will know I still type a lot. I hope your husband can reach a stage where he recognises and wants to really take the hard path he needs to follow to help himself.

At the moment I sound harsh but your priority must be your son and yourself. You need to keep you both well. It might not hurt to speak with your doctor, if you get on with them, and see what help is available locally for you and your son. Having somewhere where they understand what you are going through is important to both of you. You both are clearly going through a distressing time seeing someone you love struggling and not being in a place where he can take the steps he needs to.

May your guardian Angel 👼watch over you.

Gill x

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You don't sound harsh at all. You sound very understanding and I thank you for that!!

I have spoken with my doctor and she suggested therapy that I went to for about a 2 months once a week. Helpful for me at the time but talking with all of you, with your experiences first hand had done better for me. And I've just gotten on here a short few days ago. I'm really trying here. Sometimes, ignoring the situation is better for me, but that disappears when I see the state of mind he puts himself in. So I am definitely going to take advantage of the resources here at home and see about the al anon meetings. I think its the right start. And hopefully and praying that the end of this journey is a good one. God Bless You! And thank you!😊

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You have got a similar problem to a friend of mine except it is his wife who isn't able to give up even though she forced herself into detox a while ago. Fortunately for them they don't have youngsters at school. Theirs are adults.

In an earlier message you mentioned about working together in the restaurant. I assume that means you both have long hours and have to keep smiling at the public all day. That can be hard as can seeing the alcohol so close. It can sometimes be wonderful working with your husband but very hard when things are difficult as you don't get a break from each other. I speak from experience and a long marriage (40 years September 2019 health and everything else permitting). Much of that time we have either worked together or volunteered together. Do you have any activities away from each other? I only ask because sometimes I find it difficult to know what to talk about to my hubby as work often raises its head. We both work for the same charity and it's important to us.

Do you get much chance to be involved in your son's school or is he at the stage where he is embarrassed by being seen out with mum? My eldest was like that for a while, now we occasionally have been out with him and his mates. It's funny how different stages happen like that.

Take care and keep strong. Just to let you know it is me who has the liver condotion, not alcohol related, but more sweet tooth and prescribed pain relief.

Take care

Gill x

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Hi there. Thank you for your thoughts.

I work with my husband only 1 day a week. He works the long hours. Off 1 day. And yes, it's a restaurant/bar. Hence, not good spot to be, around the alcohol. We try to get some quality time together but it's not a lot. And no, no activities together. He's not interested. Me, I enjoy spending time with my sister and my son. My son doesn't have a school activity at the moment but we do other things together. He definitely got my attention. 😊 He loves for his friends to have sleepovers. And it's nice to have the kiddos around. They keep me busy also! Lol. I'm as strong as I'm gonna be right now, but more strength is coming!!

God Bless you and best of health to you!! 😊

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It is really good you have the links you do it is essential to help during the difficult times.

May all that are special and helpful be there to support you in this difficult time.

Gillx

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Hi TQuintero,

My husband also has alcohol caused cirrhosis and was a drinker from the time we first met. He, too, would get testy when I tried to talk to him about his drinking over the years. Two years ago he was rushed to the hospital [we are in the United States] with liver and kidney failure. He stopped knowing who I was for a few or several days - I'm not sure now. But his kidneys came back and his liver stats improved somewhat His doctors told him that he had to quit drinking or he would be dead in less than a year. Luckily for us, he quit then and there - no doubt somewhat helped that he'd been without a drink for a week.

I wish I knew of something that would help you to help him, but nothing I tried worked. From what I understand his father drank and at least one of his siblings stopped drinking for a while. There is nothing I know of that one can do for another. My husband would not go to AA and I was never willing to go to Al-Anon - too public or shameful for both of us, I guess. If it works for you - great!

There is a program I found when my husband was having serious issues and the doctors were saying his liver stats were wonky, here in the States that tries to help but allows one to drink somewhat - I can look it up if you want, but I don't know if they have it where you are.

We just saw both his liver doctor Jan 4, for his every 6 mos check and his VA doctor Jan 30, for his annual phys. and both were pleased with how he's doing. He has other issues, but has improved noticeably and gets a little better each year. He has started, with his liver doctor's okay, to drink NA beer [non-alcoholic] and that seems to satisfy him most days and he sticks with it so that's good. He is on meds for high blood pressure and lactulose for HE, an antacid, and some meds because he has what the VA doctor thinks is nerve sheath damage.

Best wishes to you and to your husband and son. Mary

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Thank you so much for your thoughts. Havn't been on here for awhile, cause I started nursing school. As far as my husband goes, hes still drinking. He's acquired this very persistent cough which I'm not sure of. He lays on his left side, its worse. He had just seen his liver specialist cause they thought they seen something in x-ray. It was nothing thank goodness. But like I said, he still drinks. Kinda got upset with him the other day cause hes asking me why does he feel so shitty. And I said to him, if you took better care of yourself and start by stop drinking, you may begin to feel better. He got mad. So, I feel like im beating a dead horse. Leo takes about 5 different meds. Lactulose is one of them along with Spironlactone, Furosemide, Vit B1, Protonix, Nadolol & Folic acid. Im honestly waiting for the day when his mind gets a little screwy. Seriously hate this! :-(

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Hi TQuintero,

I do understand how aggravatingly irritating it is when your drinking spouse wonders why they don't feel well and you suggest it is the drinking - then they get mad. My husband used to do the same, he now says he should have listened to me. It is like beating a dead horse, but he is your horse and we keep hoping.

I hope your husband can find his way to quitting, but it is his way of coping with things. I don't know your circumstances, but I stopped thinking that my husband loved drinking more than he loved me or the kids long ago. He has always loved us, but just was not able to quit for a very long time.

I understand you hating this situation and it would be nice if other people's good wishes could magically change things. Know that many are with you in spirit and sending good wishes your way.

Mary

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Hi I lived with alcholic for 24 years. I left him and said wouldn't go back untill he sort help for his problem. His liver was failing his eyes had gone yellow. His liver has now recovered

He did a medical detox and went AA he has not had a drink for 10 months

please go to al anon they are so helpful and you realise you are not alone

tough love is recomened

best wishes E

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Thank you so much for your reply. The bad days are really starting to outweigh the good ones now. I will go to my first meeting Wednesday.

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I can completely sympathise with you. My husband has been diagnosed with the same. He’s 47, and been told he can never drink alcohol again. I know he’s still is, yet he denies it completely. I’ve even doubted my own judgement, and wondered if the medication is what is making him slurr etc.. but I know really that it isn’t. They become very good liars. I went to alonon back last summer for a couple of sessions. I’m seriously thinking of going back, as I think talking to others in the same situation may help. I’m getting to breaking point now. As like you I love my husband, and frightened he’s going to die. It’s very hard isn’t it xx

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