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British Liver Trust
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50 days booze free - just saying 😀

It’s a coincidence that 2019 is also 50 days old. It wasn’t my New Years resolution to stop drinking. I had two beers on a long-haul flight on January 1st, had no alcohol since and I’m planning for it to stay that way.

I had been drinking 70+ units a week, then got very fit by gym and dieting, then ranged from zero units one week to 40 the next. Still too much. As well as harming my health, it seemed absurd to run 5km, hit the weights, etc, and then drink 5 units (400+ calories) of wine after.

If I could have halved that to, say, 20 units a week, I’d have been happy. However, even after 5 units (2 large glasses) of wine, the urge to drink more was very powerful, and although my willpower usually won, that urge was unpleasant. I knew any stressful event in the future would be just the excuse to have a few more, and I’d soon be back to 70 units a week.

An abdominal ultrasound as part of a private health check showed a suspected mild fatty liver, which I completely expected after years of boozing, but it was the final kick up the backside to sort out my drinking.

With a heavy heart, I knew I’d never be a social/occasional drinker again nor be able to stick to 20 units a week. That realisation is like losing a close friend and accepting you’ll never see them again. It’s so obvious now that an alcoholic/alcohol dependent can’t drink moderately ever again. The brain has been hard wired through years of drinking to expect alcohol. Drinking becomes an instinct.

My GP and an addiction agency were able to prescribe me Campral, which is a drug that tries to suppress the messages from your brain telling you a beer would be nice. It has definitely helped a huge amount.

I frequently gave up for a week or two, but fifty days is the longest period in about 30 years! Luckily, touch wood, I have no health problems. Sure, I had aches from a fatty liver, but these have long gone.

The urge to drink just one is still there so the battle isn’t yet won.

Lot of waffle, more of a therapy rant than anything useful so to summarise:

1. Anyone who needs to drink every day is alcohol dependent.

2. An alcohol dependent’s brain is programmed through years of drinking to expect alcohol. The body will want alcohol every day. Moderate or occasional drinking is impossible for an alcohol dependent.

3. Ask your GP for help. They will understand, won’t judge and most importantly will help.

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Hi There

Well done on your 50 days!!

I'm too on Campral can't really say if they are a success as spent 6 weeks in hospital and was detoxed by the time I came out.

I know only to well I can never drink in moderation I'm an addict and the urge would take over.

I have friends who try to understand they think 1 wouldn't kill me but I tell them my brain isn't wired like yours I would want more, it's taken me a long time to accept that.

What do they say in AA one in never enough and ten is never too many.

Good luck building on your 50 days.

Hayley 😁

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Thanks Hayley, I reckon you’ll be fine. Your “I can’t drink in moderation so won’t drink at all” mindset is spot on and 99% of the battle won. Many alcohol dependents never make that tough decision and carry on drinking.

If I could turn the clock way back and stay as an occasional drinker, I would, but I now believe my brain is permanently wired to expect alcohol and if it gets any again, it will want more and more. I can’t see that changing in my lifetime. RIP Red Wine 😀

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Isn’t there a forum where you can get good support for your addiction illness? This is for Liver illnesses and 82% of transplants are non alcohol related.

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No, there isn’t. I’ve looked.

But yes, it’s been an eye opener and humbling that a lot of people are affected by liver problems through no fault of their own. However, a lot of liver problems are due to alcohol, and I think I’ve found a helpful way to reduce/cut my drinking - I have/had a fatty liver which is almost certainly due to my alcohol intake over the years - so I will share this on this liver trust site. I hope that’s OK 😀

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Might be a good idea to start one? I had an alcohol related transplant, no idea how many days since I had a drink. The reason I met the criteria is that I have no addiction illness.

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I’ll bear it in mind. There are posters here with liver issues such as cirrhosis who don’t require transplants, again many are not alcohol related. I have a fatty liver (alcohol related, my fault) so I have to post somewhere. People might even read my posts and stop drinking. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

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It would be a good thing but merely a suggestion for you. There are 11600 cancer diagnosis a year related to alcohol. 7 cancers which follow the flow through the body. Perhaps you could put some effort into raising awareness of this issue?

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I’m with you coco - well done. Ignore snoutie.

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That’s not a very nice thing to say Snoutie. Shame on you 👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻👎🏻

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It’s OK. I don’t think any harm is meant. I usually assume people mean well on Internet forums.

I have taken snoutie’s suggestion to start an alcoholics dependent section and asked the admin about this.

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Excellent idea, thank you 🙏

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😀 Everyone knows the health problems with alcohol but I don’t think people realise how addictive it becomes and that it permanently rewires your brain to demand alcohol. No one who starts drinking in their teens will want to turn into an addict, but the chances of this are odds on if they drink regularly. That fact is what should be promoted.

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We could have a lengthy conversation about the stigma around cirrhosis but maybe another time.

I will give you a tip that works for me, I cannot drink, no question. So I think of it as a nut allergy, no pun intended.

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I see no stigma on this site, just well meaning people.

I admit I would have thought cirrhosis was usually caused by alcohol - and I’m sure this is a common mistake - but now I know better.

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Not on the site of course but in society, by your own admission. I am delighted that you now realise that there are a host of causes.

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Charlie,

I am obtuse, what is not nice? I can assure you that my information is very accurate.

Snoopy

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Snoopy

I don’t care how accurate you are - you were NOT welcoming to Coco’s initial comments, and THAT is NOT in the spirit of this site.

That is all I’m going to say. I’m leaving this thread now because I’ve lost interest now in your crusade. Bye - from this thread.

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That sounds very negative and could possibly be construed as arrogant. To anyone alcohol dependent it sounds like a massive put down. This forum offers SUPPORT of every kind, practical and emotional, to all those battling liver disease, whatever the cause. Alcoholics already have enough trouble believing in themselves and fighting prejudice without encountering negativity here.

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Since my diagnosis last year this forum has been a life saver.Yes I am in this situation cause I drank(14 months without!) but the health side affects of many people here I can relate to. I find it informative and funny when I need it.

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I drank myself to need a transplant

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But you claim you're not addicted to alcohol? How many times have I heard that statement over the years?! I absolutely detest the attitude that proclaims "I drink but I'm not an alcoholic. You are."

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I agree, alas. It sure sucks when something goes wrong somewhere and people can no longer drink. Once an addict, always an addict.

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Fine, I drink, I die.

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Hi harrietssssss, I wrote (self indulgently) as giving up the booze might be a big deal (very well done to you) but it’s probably not something to gloat about in public. I’m glad and surprised you enjoy reading it.

I and others would be interested in your story if you have time to post.

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ta for your reply ..mine a long story!! all I wanted to say was in this forum I have had answers to the weird side affects of liver damage.things I forget to ask doctor,and I probably would have been at doctors every day last year over weird stuff happening!!..it has helped me not to panic and when I should!! I suppose the fact my damage is self inflicted may annoy some and I don't blame them ..I made my bed and so must deal with the consequences but its nice to have people who I can on some level relate to.

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Good to hear. No shame in going to the GP and asking, though. I thought I’d get a right telling off, but the GP seemed genuinely pleased I’d asked fir help.

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You mustn't regard alcohol addiction as "self-inflicted". No-one in their right mind would deliberately set out to constantly drink to oblivion, with all the horrible problems and behaviours that brings in its wake. I don't know if it was the same for you, but for me the "shame" of having been drunk and out of control made ne drink even more to wipe out the memory! Chin up and soldier on my beauty!

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Congrats!!!!!

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Ha ha, thanks! 50 days is no big deal, and I’ve been let off lightly considering I drunk so much in the past. Two things I’ve learned from this forum:

1. Many people have liver issues through no fault of their own and not due to alcohol. This makes me feel very guilty.

2. Alcoholics/alcohol dependents (whatever the correct term is) are human beings too and deserve help and sympathy.

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Well I think it is a big deal! Everyones body reacts differently, to certain substances. I look back and say I should have eaten a lot healthier and maybe my liver wouldn’t have been fatty and then I wouldn’t have cirrhosis. I think a lot has to do with genetics and predisposition. But like you said no matter the cause everyone deserves help and sympathy/empathy we are all human.

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Hey! Congratulations on 50 days!! I am on day 48 and my fiancé is on day 54! Keep doing what you’re doing, reading posts like this help a lot for people like us 😊

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I read your posts with interest. Your partner has had a rough old time. Hope he gets well and also keeps off the drink. It seems incredible (but I fully understand) that some people still drink despite knowing alcohol has done great damage. That’s how powerful the urge to drink is,

Did you stop for your own health or in support of your partner?

These threads are the sort of things which should be in the papers. Not this boring Brexit, etc.,,

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Brexit is holding up things like getting health warnings and nutritional information on alcohol products, through Parliament.

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I’m getting cynical, but regardless of Brexit I suspect the apparent benefits to the economy and taxes outweigh the negatives of alcohol. I’ve never smoked thankfully but the cost of cigarettes and tobacco is now horrendous, around £8 for a packet of 20! Alcohol, meanwhile, is still relatively cheap in the U.K. £4 a day could buy 4 cans of 1664 or a drinkable bottle of wine. That’s easily affordable to most people, and that’s around 70 units of alcohol over a week. Booze could be taxed to the same extent as cigarettes, but it’d cost jobs too in the long run.

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Frosty Jack will buy you 22 units at £3.69, a case for Minimum Unit Pricing? Like the opt in/ opt out clause, this is in place in Scotland.

Brexit is holding up this legislation.

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Not sure what the answer is. I’m not a fan of smoking, but I don’t understand the social backlash over it when drinking is still OK.

In places like Germany and Spain, alcohol is ridiculously cheap. I’ve seen homeless drunks in both those countries so i won’t say these countries are without problems. However, they’re no worse than here, so raising prices isn’t a solution. People will go on booze cruises or make their own.

Not sure what the answer is.

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So the media that should be reporting your message. They receive money from the Alcohol Industry in the form of advertising revenue. So they will continue to bore you with Brexit, they will not bite the hand that feeds.

They also get the best cabins for free on the booze cruises to tell you how wonderful they are.

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Still don’t know why countries such as Spain, France and Germany have much cheaper alcohol and yet no more health-related problems than the U.K. It all points to a cultural difference, i.e. beyond the remit of any government.

By booze cruise, I meant people driving to places like Calais and loading up with wine. This happened long before the U.K. joined the EU and will continue. If the U.K. government put up taxes on alcohol (which would upset a lot of influential businesses), more people would head off on booze cruises.

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Spain does the most liver transplants in Europe, 1200. Germany has a donor shortage. On the subject of Brexit, there are questions being asked about the supply chain of pharmaceutical products. Some of us here are life dependent on them.

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To add, you are interested in helping people with addiction illness. MUP is not a tax but the minimum price that a retailer can charge. It will not affect the cost of a bottle of wine in Waitrose or a pint in your pub. It is aimed at the people who could not even open a car door, let alone find their way to Calais. That might just resolve health and social issues around alcohol.

To re-enforce the message, we should have health warnings and nutritional information.

We also need to have the law in England changed where everyone is perceived to be an organ donor unless they actively opt out. This has currently made it through the committee stage at Westminster but is held up by oh so boring Brexit.

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I did a year-long holiday job abroad in a country with alcohol far more expensive than here. I wasn’t well paid but still had money to drink every day. I worked out I spent 30% of my income on alcohol. An addict will always find the money to drink. If that country doubled the prices, I would’ve made my own or gone over the border to buy a stash.

I even lived in a Muslim country for a year, which sold alcohol (I wouldn’t have gone there otherwise), but I knew the booze shops would close during Ramadan so I planned accordingly and bought a huge stash to keep me going through the four weeks.

Addicts are very resourceful and won’t let prices worry them too much.

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Yes, they are resourceful and therefore are not suitable candidates to be listed for transplant, demand exceeds supply.

Let’s see what impact MUP makes in Scotland, it is already in place.

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Ok, but alcoholics still need support if they want it.

Sorry, but you’re coming across as someone who’s against alcoholics. This won’t help any alcoholic reading this forum. I’d prefer to tell an alcoholic he/she can get help and that people will be sympathetic.

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I am totally sympathetic, we need to put far more resources into rehabilitation and research into the illness. It makes a huge mess to so many peoples lives.

I am trying to point out that alcohol and addiction are in the minority when it comes to liver illness. 82% of transplants are non alcohol related.

I have also been discussing the matter of Heptatic Encephalopathy with my local mental health trust. They run the alcohol and drug rehabilitation services and are wholly unaware of this condition, slightly bizarre. There is plenty of work to be done and I am actively involved.

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Mark, im aware of only a small part of all the things you are doing in regards to raising awareness on a massive scale as well as bettering the rehabilitation system by educating these establishments of issues they are somehow ignorant to like HE. I'm in admiration to how far youve gone politically and socially so far and it's only the tip of the iceburg to what great things are going to be underway at the gratitude of people like you. So Coconut, to say Mark has anything against alcoholics or feels they dont need support is not even a close semblance of the truth. The work he is doing behind the scenes is tremendous to the the benifit of helping alcoholics and more pointedly to preventing alcoholism. Your point earlier about cigarettes is in a way apart of what is trying to be accomplished here. We socially slap people for smoking because the scientific facts on the hazards of smoking are not only readily available but have been campaigned and advertised to the point that noone on earth can say they were ignorantly uninformed of the dangers. To smoke is to agree that you are making an informed decision knowing the risks and are choosing to play the odds anyway. Well alcohol has not had such awareness raised. As I've said in previous posts we all know one thing. Dont drink and drive. That's about where the awareness ends. Fact is most people dont know where their liver is inside their own body nor what it does. If in the off chance they have heard of cirrhosis they assume it's a drinkers disease that one aquires after decades of getting pissed all day long. Within the proverbial walls of this forum we know far more than that. We know liver cirrhosis comes from over 120 different etiologies primary and secondary and further we know the myriad of comorbidities that come along with it. We know that because within these walls we become educated. Outside these walls is the bliss of ignorance. If the informed smoking campaign caused any smokers to quit or prevented any young people from starting (which the latter proved quite successful) than how could awareness of alcohol and its affects be any different?

I dont think at all that Mark is saying you are not welcome here. That's not true. What he is suggesting is that since this is a forum for liver disease and not drug and alcohol rehabilitation that perhaps your great determination and current success could be harnessed more successfully on a site that is designed specifically for drug and alcohol rehabilitation and addiction. You are very welcome here. Unfortunately alcoholics make up only a percentage of the people on this forums liver etiologies. Other than an odd few who show up on the site here and there to ask questions about their drinking and its effects on the liver, the 99percent left over in the alcoholic liver disease category have long since quit and are either trying to mend our livers by abstinence or are awaiting transplants.

Again I want to reiterate. You are more than welcome here by all. Please dont take that any other way. But i think what mark was trying to get across is that raising awareness about alcoholism on this particular forum is almost like raising awareness about smoking on a site for lung cancer patients. Again also that not everyone on this site is here for anything at all to do with alcohol. Your efforts are amazingly heart filled and great but cant be utilized to it's full potential here. Perhaps health unlocked can guide you on creating a forum specifically to utilize your passionate efforts to better reach a broader spectrum of people in need of help? I'd definately support such a forum!

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😀 Thanks, I did read all your reply and take the points on board.

I asked admin about an “alcoholics” section. They replied to say sections are started by groups and not individuals. I’ll ask drinkaware if they are interested.

However, at the risk of repeating myself, whilst I don’t have a liver problem, I do/did have an alcohol problem. When people with alcohol-related liver problems post here asking questions such as can they drink again, that’s clearly an alcohol problem, which I am sadly more qualified to comment on than someone with non-alcoholic liver disease.

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Drinkaware are funded by the Alcohol Industry, the facts in there are poor.

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Another discriminatory reply! I've read posts from many people on here who have conquered their addiction and gone on to have successful transplants and to lead healthy lives. Next thing you'll be saying fat people and smokers shouldn't qualify for NHS treatment!

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I have conquered my demons and had a successful transplant. The fact remains that alcohol causes cancer, it is the third most common cause of death. I am working hard to raise awareness with various organisations, including Government Ministers.

We all qualify for treatment but the issue remains that demand outstrips supply. A question, did George Best make the qualifying criteria in your opinion? His surgeon, Professor Nigel Heaton made a public apology. Donor numbers dropped after the debacle.

Apologies if facts cause any offence.

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I also ask that are you aware that Professor Ian Gilmore, who heads up the Alcohol Health Alliance, resigned from Public Health England due to their recent association with Drinkaware? The reason, a conflict of interest. The British Liver Trust are part of the Alcohol Health Alliance.

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I will also add that according to Drinkaware, you need thee months abstinence to qualify for transplant. Would it not be more useful to say ‘if you are reading this part, where did we get the message wrong?’.

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Hey, thank you so much! I quit because I just couldn’t sit around drinking while he was miserable and scared to death because of drinking. I also want to be around to take care of him and be sharp-minded for it. I was actually surprised how easy it was for him to quit and that he actually quit. I was worried he wouldn’t or wouldn’t be able to, but he has no desire to drink anymore and just wants to live and see his kids get married and have families of their own. Drinking just isn’t worth it! ♥️

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You’re welcome. Don’t underestimate your part in quitting too. That must be a big help. My wife has never drunk any alcohol so doesn’t understand 😀

And this may come across as mean hearted or negative but I think you know it will be a battle for him not to drink again. That urge never really goes away whatever has happened before. Keep an eye on each other.

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The urge actually does go away. I was told that if I did not make drastic lifestyle changes, my lifespan was going to be very limited. Did the trick for me. Hopefully you will not find yourself in that position.

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That’s not true for everyone, though, is it? Alcoholics give up for years and then have a drink and they’re back to square one.

I want people reading this to know the urge doesn’t go away and that willpower/help is required for the battle ahead.

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I am sorry that I did not clarify. I have had a transplant and that comes with a lifetime commitment to abstinence. I will be on immunosuppressant medication for the rest of my life. It does not work if I drink. That would kill me, it did to George Best.

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Congratulations to you both. Jaycee

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Congrats on your 50 days it takes guts to admit you have a problem and courage to actively do something about it and your correct if your story helps even one person then you would achieved something positive .

Good luck on your journey

Huw

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Thanks. I don’t feel courageous, but I do feel about 100 times healthier whilst also feeling dumb for spending the last decade as an overweight drunkard 😀

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Well done! Having fought alcoholism myself over many years and having finally extricated myself from its grip (2 years sober now) I know how great it feels to be alcohol-free and happy, and hopefully healthier. It isn't easy, so you should rightly feel very proud of yourself. I know you will always be on your guard against temptation.

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I’ll drink to that 😀

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But on a serious note, well done to you too. An alcohol dependent giving up the booze is an amazing achievement when you think about it.’

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Yes, it is, and we should all congratulate ourselves. No more negativity/discrimination from some quarters on here please. You know who you are!

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Apologies but you have not explained what exactly I am discriminating against?

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I did not directly accuse you of discrimination, so why did you assume I was referring to you specifically? Does the cap fit? You need to think carefully about the words you commit to paper, as it were: your first post was worded in such a way that it sounded wholly dismissive. Vulnerable people seek help on this forum and it is not helpful to jump straight in and suggest they take their concerns elsewhere! That is how the message came across.

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It is, there are self help groups in every town. SMART or AA. Drinkaware are part of the alcohol industry. Write to your MP and get him to ask the Public Health Minister, Stephen Brine, to enforce the voluntary code on alcohol labelling. I can send you the briefing notes.

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Sorry snoutie, but who do you think you are telling people to post elsewhere? I’ll continue to post here about my alcohol-free journey as people have said they enjoy reading it. No one’s forcing you to read.

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Not a problem

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Many congratulations. I have nash caused by meds from my drs but I admire you for coming out and admitting you have a problem, that must have been very difficult for you so please take care. Love and hugs Lynne xxxx

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Congratulations on 50 days of not drinking. Here’s to your next 50. You said you had mild fatty liver. You caught it early before it progressed and you did something about it. Yes not everyone on here is as lucky as that as liver disease in its early days doesn’t show any typical symptoms but you had the chance to stop further problems by not drinking and living healthy and you did. Raising any awareness is good.

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Congratulations to you, great achievement. Jaycee

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Nice one for turning your life around the little steps add into huge ones in time 😉

I think this is the perfect place for you to be sharing information people need encouragement from others who have taken a very brave step

Long may yours continue and keep us updated 😘🎉

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Well done and keep up the good work. This will give inspiration to others going through this battle. You should keep reporting in on this forum to give you that extra incentive to succeed. Keep on keeping on! Very best wishes, Alf

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Thanks Alf, the secret so far is (a) know you have a problem and can’t ever drink again (sad but true) and (b) avoid “just the one” no matter how much you want it.

To be fair, the urge is wearing off a bit these last few days. I also enjoy alco free beer and wine which must be a good sign. If you’ve recently drunk the real stuff, your palate isn’t suited to alco free.

I’ll “check back in” on day 75 😀

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That's great! I'll be looking out for you Coco.

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I’ll do my best, might make boring reading, though. My Campral (drug which helps reduce alco cravings) might run out soon, which could add some excitement, but I’ve been forgetting to take it anyway so hopefully it’ll be superfluous soon.

The big test will come when I go on holiday somewhere. I’ve never been on a plane and not drunk before. And then there’s the holiday itself.

Luckily I don’t care what friends think. I dragged my non-drinking wife along to a weekend away with three male friends last year. The idea was my wife and I would do nicer things and join the others (in the pub) as and when. I still had my share of beers, but I could see clearer what my friends had become, i.e. sad middle-aged boring men who just drink. I’m still sad middle aged and boring. They’re still my friends, but they don’t quite believe I don’t drink, and in fairness they don’t push it.

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Stick to your guns and think about holidays when you are well into the plan and well past the worst of it. See you on day 75.

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Thanks, it’s not so bad. I’m exaggerating the urge thing a bit, but I can imagine it’s real and very nasty in others and those who drank more than I did.

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When you say years of boozing could I ask how much.

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I’ll answer that with a huge caveat that everyone’s different. I’ve head anecdotal takes of people in their mid 20s having alcohol-related liver diseases so in their cases that would be less than a decade.

I’m nearly 50 and always drank since around 16. However, I definitively started drinking at harmful levels around 13 years ago. I had regular breaks here and there.

I’d hate for someone to read the above and think 10, 11 or 12 years of heavy drinking is OK.

Apart from the physical damage, the mental side, i.e. your brain becoming hard wired to demand alcohol, has really shocked me. With that in mind, it’s not a question of how many years someone drinks, it’s how much and how often

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Nearly didn’t get to 52 days 😀😀😀

Had a storm in a teacup family medical emergency (not me, not alcohol related). No big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I had to drop everything (some decent weekend plans too) and head off. That’s exactly the situation in which my brain asks my body where the alcohol is.

The solituon, a few bottles of Heineken 0.0%. That did the trick and stopped the urge. I could still drive and get up at stupid o’clock feeling almost OK 😀

I guess Campral is only so good.

You can definitely achieve a lot more by not drinking, I’m surprising myself. I’d have been hungover and grumpy as hell if I’d had a few drinks last night.

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Well done! I'm quite a light drinker anyway, however I've not touched anything for 4 weeks today :)

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Thanks. Nothing at all wrong with light drinking (assuming one is healthy). The likes of me, though, crossed a line in the past from light to heavy drinking and then dependence. Once that stage is reached, it’s way way easier to stop drinking altogether as trying to cut down or be a moderate drinker is 100 times harder and in my opinion impossible. 😀

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