How to prove that you haven't drank fo... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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How to prove that you haven't drank for 6 months?

Garyvh
Garyvh

After ending up with Alcoholic Hepatitis in early Dec 2017 and being diagnosed with Cirrhosis I immediately stopped drinking and haven't touched a drop since.

In a followup the consultant said they weren't looking at a transplant (which I took as a positive).

However I'm just wondering if, god forbid, I ever did need one, how could I show I haven't drank for the last 7 months, and that I've no intention of ever doing so again?

Warmest wishes to everyone,

Thanks

10 Replies
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Hidden
Hidden

In the USA, you need to complete an alcohol rehab program like AA (alcoholics anonymous) to be eligible for transplant. This starts out with a grueling "90 in 90" (daily meetings for 90 days), followed by continued participation for the remaining 3 months.

With early stage alcoholic cirrhosis (Child-Pugh Class A), you often have 10 to 15 years before you're facing a need for transplant. I've often wondered if someone stayed clean all those years, but never went through an accredited program, whether this would still be a problem, but I really don't know.

Hopefully someone will have more knowledge of this and chime in soon.

Brett11
Brett11
in reply to Hidden

I find that silly! There is no way that I will ever be told to go into a room with other recovering alcoholics for 6 months to prove that I’m clean. That would make me want to have a drink talking about alcohol for 6 months. I’m almost 2 years alcohol free and I don’t like to be constantly reminded of it. That’s my opinion of AA . Don’t get me into the overtly religious side of AA either lol.

All my blood tests for the last 2 years show zero alcohol. Surely that should be enough to prove that I don’t drink ?

I also think that they want reassurance that you won’t go back to drink after a transplant? I might be wrong? I’m not sure on the process in the UK or Australia.

Cheers,

Brett

Hidden
Hidden
in reply to Brett11

Those with alcoholic disease do have a tougher time than those with Hep-C or NASH; and suicide attempts with acetaminophen/paracetamol have no trouble getting transplanted, without extensive counselling.

The majority of patients with liver disease have some amount of lifestyle issues which contributed to their disease. Don't know why the doc's are so hard on drinkers, but they are.

mncold
mncold
in reply to Hidden

Hi Metanoia,

I am not sure that would be the case in every instance. Quite a few liver transplants in alcoholic liver disease are for cancer, I think. If you are recommended for transplant while still drinking AA may be required, but if you have been under a doctor's care and stopped drinking earlier one's blood tests should reflect an improvement that would show that one is no longer drinking, so going thru AA may not be a requirement for everyone. I would, however, think the rule might be there to make people realize that a transplant does not allow one to resume drinking again because transplant drugs react badly with alcohol and one is right back where they started and quickly if they start drinking again.

Your blood work should show improvement and show that you have not been drinking. The next issue would be not thinking a new liver would allow one to go back to drinking because it wouldn't, the drugs needed after a transplant can't be taken if one is drinking because they harm the liver even quicker.

My husband hasn't had a drink, except for allowed n/a, since he was hospitalized for liver failure in 2015 and his blood work show it by continued improvement, slowly but surely.

Best wishes,

Mary

My partner used to get very frustrated over this issue. He was over 12 months alcohol free when he got a transplant ( 2 years ago on the 17th July). I used to have to calm him down but he did eventually understand the need for the transplant team to be certain. Good luck & just keep telling the truth every time you're asked the question.xx

Hi Garyvh, I went through the transplant assessment just over 3 years ago. I was diagnosed with NASH but didn’t believe that the years of alcohol abuse has left me effectively unscathed. At that point I hadn’t had a drink for about 13 years, but attended AA on a regular basis. They sent a nurse up to talk to me and after about 1\2 hour she said you’re ok it’s obvious you haven’t had a drink for many years just by the way you talk. I am a great believer in AA and what it has done for me and my family. Stopping drinking was never my issue, it was staying stopped I found difficult. Talking about alcohol doesn’t bother me in fact it is unavoidable unless I want to live like a hermit. It is everywhere I go. The constant reminders on the billboards, the TV. if I want to live a “normal” life, go to restaurants, go dancing, go on a cruise, go on holiday I have to have some defence against picking up the first drink because that’s the one that does the damage. I am not saying AA is for everyone, but it is not a “religious cult” as it is often portrayed as. All I can say is that by attending AA on a regular basis I am coming up 16 years clean and sober and I haven’t gone back to church or wear sackcloth and sandals. I live a very normal life amongst very normal people. Some drink, some don’t but we all have a great time.

Hi Garyvh,

I have been on the transplant assessment week. This was basically an assessment to establish if you are an acceptable risk for the operation and to assess your mental condition. I was assessed several times by different people who discussed my position regards to alcohol. Like yourself when I found out my condition I stopped drinking immediately. This was accepted and I am sure blood tests would indicate if I had taken any alcohol. No further evidence was required. I was accepted and got my transplant and felt better the moment I woke in recovery. Quite amazing really. I can state they take alcohol very seriously. One guy admitted to having a wine spritzer three months before while on holiday and was rejected. Another joked about alcohol and was rejected. Just be honest and open, continue the good work of being alcohol free and all the best for the future.

Hi Gary

When I had my transplant here in France it was a rush as became V ill v quickly. I remember a panel of 5 or 6 psy around my bed questioning me about booze, why I started drinking, why I wouldn’t in the future etc. Quite an ordeal but I didn’t know they were coming so didn’t have time to prepare or get worried. I imagine bloods also show if you’ve been boozing regularly

I was told by my liver nurse that the way the Docs judge if a patient is being truthful regarding alcohol consumption is via the liver panel blood test. The GGT results will be elevated ( GGT IS THE INFLAMMATION MARKER ) for approx 3 or more months after the last drink,though obviously other things can cause ggt levels to rise.

Thanks guys.

My feelings kind of mirror what Brett said.

My consultant asked if I was getting help or attending groups or meetings, but I really do feel it would feel like a step backwards for me and don't think I need to be constantly reminded that I had an alcohol problem, though I am aware of the risk of complacency.

I feel free of it now and right now I'm enjoying my new sober life way too much to ever go back to being drunk, back to being that person that was never really me...

However I fully understand that groups and support work great for some people.

Gary

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