British Liver Trust
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Feeling Desperate

Hi, I have posted before about my recent drinking binge which started in November 2017 with 10 pints of lager a night, due to my mother being diagnosed with cancer, she passed away in February and I have not been able to stop, for more than a day or two in 5 months now I am really concerned about the damage I have caused to my liver. I had a fibroscan done at the end of October 2018 which was 3.9 Kpa, I am frightened enough now that I've booked an appointment with my G.P for next week and also booked an appointment with a grief and addiction councillor, I also have tapered down this week from 10 pints a night to 6 pints. I am very concerned that I have caused cirrhosis or irreparable damage to my liver over this period, I also feel pain in my back. Could this binge have caused me cirrhosis? I am now so afraid and ready to stop but fear it's too late and am afraid of withdrawals. Could I have developed cirrhosis in this time any help would be appreciated. I have posted about this a few months ago but have stupidly continued.

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I would have thought you will have done some damage to your liver. However if you stop now with the help of your councellor it is possible that your liver can repair itself. However if you continue drinking you could cause irreparable damage not only to your liver but your kidneys too. After many illnesses and multiorgan failure it will kill you. I'm sure your mother would be absolutely devastated if she knew what you are doing to yourself. My husband died of alcohol abuse 8 years ago at the age of just 54 and he wasn't drinking as much as you but for longer.

My mother died in 2015 and the last thing I would have done would be to hit the bottle. All it does when you are feeling depressed is make you more depressed. Please follow all the advice your councellor gives you and get well.

Exercise is the best cure for depression and grief. The weathers improving the days are getting longer take some good long walks to fill your time.

Wish you well

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It takes longer than 5 months of drinking even at your high level for major damage to occur. You'd probably have to drink like you have been for 5 years or more to get cirrhosis. Only about 10 to 15% of alcoholics ever get cirrhosis which shows how resilient the liver is. What damage you've done would be reparable if you stop now especially with an excellent FibroScan score of 3.9 kPa just before you started drinking heavily.

I'd taper down the drinking rather than stop suddenly. Aim to quit completely say over a 2 week period. You could even go to AA meetings to help you stop where you’d hear stories from other people that had a drinking problem & how they overcame it.

When my mother died I was relieved for her because the way she was she had no quality of life and death ended her suffering. Your mother wouldn't want you to destroy your health by drinking the way you are.

As the previous poster suggested exercise can help. Just walking daily would be a good start. When I was younger I used to get up at 4:30 AM & jog around the neighborhood for 8 km. I did it regardless of whether I felt like it & then I'd go to work relaxed. I also used to swim up to 50 laps at a local public swimming pool before work & it relaxed my whole body & made me feel good.

A good night’s sleep is also important. Nothing refreshes me better than 8 hours of quality sleep. Diet is also important. I sometimes have meat for breakfast because protein stabilizes blood sugar & takes away cravings for sugary foods.

See a counsellor if you think it will help but ultimately you are the one that needs to take charge of your life and make positive changes. When I became very ill from inflammation of my liver 8 months ago I stopped painkillers immediately & it took 8 months before I felt that I had fully recovered. In the meantime I exercised daily, ate a healthy diet, got a good night’s sleep every night & I followed my personal interests to keep me focused on positive things.

It will likely take time but you’ll find that your physical & mental health will improve gradually once you start making positive changes.

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Thanks for the kind replies guys at first I felt so helpless, but now I know I have to make the changes to move forward, I really appreciate your support and advice it means a lot.

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You won’t have incurred cirrhosis yet. It takes quite a period of time to scar the liver heavily enough to cause cirrhosis. However every person’s liver is different. Some people will get cirrhosis while drinking less than others. The key will be whether you have drank excessively prior to this period and your Mum’s passing. Exactly what Edward1952 said. Don’t cut it out completely, but limit yourself and taper it down gradually. Also Laura009 has good advice. Find something to replace it. I was a heavy drinker and only a liver transplant with 48 hours left saved my life. I gave up drink obviously and find by keeping myself busy it doesn’t bother me. Time is the best healer. You can drink in moderation, just not to your levels every night. Try to break it down slowly to 3-4 evenings a week fro about 4 pints max, but look forward to it as a treat for restraining yourself and gradually try to reduce it from there. Step by step and you’ll be fine. Don’t worry, but take action now and make your Mum proud. She brought you into this world hoping you would have a long and happy life, not to destroy the ultimate gift she gave you.

Best of luck to you Maroch, keep the head up 👍🏻

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Thank you so much for your kind reply and advice, I know my Mum would want me to make her proud. You have all been so kind, thank you all again for the information and kind thoughts.

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I also forgot to mention I suffer from bad bouts of depression and panic disorder which date back to my early twenties, I am now 50, as you may or may not know back in those days there was a lot of stigma attached to mental disorders, even from some G.Ps and I didn't receive much in the way of treatment for them and so self medicated with alcohol from my mid twenties into my thirties. Although I am now on medication I find stressful events really trigger my emotions more than ever. I need to find another outlet other than alcohol to rely on, but this period really knocked me for six.

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Hi, As has been previously posted the liver is an incredible organ. It’s ability to repair some of the damage we can cause is remarkable. I am a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink for over 15 years and I have caused irreparable damage to my liver. Having said that my liver is working reasonably well despite undergoing an attempted transplant which was aborted when I suffered a major harmmorage, I was transfused with 25 pints of blood which my wife was told would actually kill me as the state of my liver it would be unable to process this amount of blood. The prognosis was 12-24 hours. That was 17 months ago and I type this as a cruise I am on docks into Phuket in Thailand for the day. If you really want to stop drinking there are plenty of groups that can help. I can only talk about AA as that was my choice. Here I met a group of people who all suffered with the same illness I had, alcoholism. The weirdest thing about this disease is that you must self diagnose, nobody else can decide you are an alcoholic, they have no idea what actually makes someone do something often when their intention was to do the opposite. The world judges us on our actions not our intentions. All I know is that when I was “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired” did I manage to have that moment of clarity and seek out help for the right reasons. I had tried previously for my wife, my kids, my parents all to no avail, yet when I tried to stop just for me I found it so much easier. Feel free to ask lots of questions and if I can point you in the right direction I will be only too glad to help. You have already acknowledged to yourself you have a problem, what happens next is the only thing you can influence. Good luck and well done for posting.

Ray

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Thank you so much for your kind reply and information, I really appreciate it. I wish you all, all the best. Thanks again.

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