Hi all, I am new to the forum and looking for some support.As my username name says I am wife of an ALCOHOLIC who is in denial. My husband is diagnosed with cirrhosis of liver stage 3 two years back. Since then he is drinking even more. He has diuretic controlled ascites taking lactulose for hepatic encephalopathy. My question is for how long it can go like this? He had few nose bleeds also. Some days he seems completely fine and some days he feels horrible. I don't understand how can he drink after so much. He knows he is unwell and he still drinks. What should I expect now? He had two detox as well last year. Thanks for any advise in advance.
Alcohol and cirrhosis stage 3 - British Liver Trust
Welcome to the forum although I am sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation. I am sure you will receive support here.
We do have publications on our website which you may find helpful if you haven't already looked at them:
We also have a free helpline if you would like to talk to one of our liver nurses:
0800 652 7330 Mon-Fri 10:00 - 14:45
I would phone 111 for advice. It sounds like his liver is decompensated and therefore in trouble and will not tolerate any alcohol. He also needs refaxamin for the HE and it sounds like a further medically supervised detox is essential. You should attend all his appointments to understand the reality of the situation. Has he had a trans jugular biopsy to confirm the diagnosis?
Good luck, it is a hard journey.
I'm really sorry that you find yourself in this situation. I see that you have already received some good advice and your husband obviously needs help. There is little that you can do yourself to help him other than to be there for him and support him as he really needs to want recovery for himself to be able to move forward. It's a very stressful and unhappy place for you to be in. Be sure to look after yourself and your own health through this. I sincerely hope that he comes to his senses and realises what he's doing to himself (and to you!) before it is too late. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on here that I am sure you will receive posts from. Whenever you need a friendly ear you will find plenty on here. Best wishes and take care. Alf
Hi, I've been in your shoes as a wife of an alcoholic. My husband was in a similar state and only stopped drinking when he came out of hospital last summer, I think the indignity of what he had been through at his last visit and that fact that he was so ill made something click into place for him. It had to come from him, there was nothing I could do to make him change before that. We are lucky he is in a great place now and his liver is back in a compensated state. You said you don't know how he can carry on knowing he is ill, I asked my husband recently why he did it, knowing that it was killing him and was he really that arrogant that he didn't believe what the doctors were telling him? He said he knew what was going on but he was in such a bad place he couldn't stop it. I hope something triggers a change of heart and mindset for your husband but it has to come from him. In the meantime, look after yourself, it's really important that you do. You can always message me if you are feeling down.
Hey there. Hard spot to be in for sure. It's interesting as your not the first person to mention that their spouse or family members drinking has increased after they were diagnosed. I'd love to know the psychology behind it .
Unfortunately the statistics vary a bit but generally if you have advanced cirrhosis like this and keep drinking you are only about 50 percent likely to still be alive in 2 years. That drops to somewhere around 30 percent within the five year range. Again statistics vary but fact of matter is that if he keeps drinking it will kill him and that is without question. Stage 3 cirrhosis is considered decompensated. If he quit drinking (which is unlikely after 2 detoxes and a diagnosis of stage 3 cirrhosis) there is a chance he could return to a compensated state and the survival rate would substantially change.
Even as an ex-drinker with advanced liver disease I cant say I get the denial part on a personnal level. The minute I was told I had liver disease I dropped the bottle like a hot potato. I damn well loved drinking but not at the expense of my life. Denial is interesting in drinkers because they dont realize that alcohol suppresses the pain and sick feelings of liver disease. If he quit and made it a few months sober hed realize just how horrible his health really is once all the numbing agents subsided.
Unfortunately if the reality that this WILL kill him in the next couple years isnt enough to wake him up than I dont know what would. We see alot of members here turn things around to quite a great spot health wise. But the key is the lifestyle change. Out of all of us here with alcoholic liver disease the ones that never survive are the ones that keep drinking. Sorry to be so pointed but its fact. I know you are not the one in denial, its him. He needs to realize what I'm saying here is the unequivocal truth.
Your doing all you can do. Words are words but try your best to not blame yourself or think you could have done more. You cant. Beating addiction has to start and ends with the central leader being the addict themselves.
Best wishes - Phoenix
“ If he quit and made it a few months sober hed realize just how horrible his health really is once all the numbing agents subsided.”
This is so true, and it is also truly shocking how your body and mind needs alcohol and how apparent this is when a regular drinker stops for even a few days. Sleep will be non-existent and that urge to drink and irritability will be off the scale. That urge is the exact reason why people continue to drink after they’re diagnosed with an alcohol-related condition and told to stop drinking.
But even a few weeks sober brings renewed energy levels. As I’m finding out, those new found energy levels stay with you.
Yea but a few weeks sober with stage 3 cirrhosis doesnt bring new energy levels. You feel like dog shit in a handbag. The liver is so badly beaten at that point. You never go back to being in the health you were when your liver wasnt diseased. Fortunately for you you feel the benifits of abstinence differently because you dont have liver disease. No person with stage 3 cirrhosis will ever feel that again shy of a liver transplant.
Also not everyone is the same with the urge to drink again. I stopped without question and never looked back and I was in a 18 beers and a Mickey of whiskey a day spot. But there is a massive psychological and physical difference between alcohol misuse and alcohol dependence.
I was stage four decompensated and was hospitalised with bleeding variaces. The urge to drink never reappeared and unfortunately nor did my energy levels. It has now recovered post transplant. With lifestyle changes, hopefully that may not be necessary in this situation. The doctors are the people who are able to advise about that. I cannot praise the NHS more highly.
I've been diagnosed as stage 4 but my liver is compensated at present also for the first time in a few years my bloods are normal?
I'm very confused (doesn't take much) 😁
Have you had a trans jugular biopsy? As you are compensated, even at stage 4, your Liver function can improve. Absolutely avoid alcohol, eat a low salt, Mediterranean style diet and eat plenty of fruits. Take all the medical advice along with the prescribed medication. Make sure that you have your blood tested on a very regular basis. If they are normalising then you are already taking the right advice and lifestyle changes.
Basically, love your liver.
I hope that things continue on the right path.
Everyone here can give you great support and advice.
Many thanks Mark 😁
I am indeed following all that you have mentioned not touched a drink in 15 months I've not had a biopsy?
I guess at this stage I'm a very lucky person after triple organ failure.
Once again thanks hope you keep well also.
I would ask about a biopsy, they are unpleasant but day surgery and not overly distressing. It will give you the definitive diagnosis and hopefully put your mind at rest. See what the doctors say, they have your medical records.
I am doing very well, a good outcome after a long journey due to my blood group.
Keep well too,
Great advice man!
It'll be stage 4 fibrosis you will be diagnosed as. Stage 4 fibrosis = cirrhosis.
However, cirrhosis can also be staged too.
Stage 1 is considered compensated cirrhosis where there are no varices & no ascites.
Stage 2 is also considered compensated cirrhosis where there are varices but no ascites.
Stage 3 & Stage 4 cirrhosis are both considered decompensated and this is when the liver is really struggling.
Stage 3 cirrhosis - Ascites +/- Varices
Stage 4 cirrhosis - Bleeding +/- Ascites.
My hubby on diagnosis would have been Stage 4 Cirrhosis - bleeding but with no ascites. Currently back at Stage 1 cirrhosis with no obvious varices and no ascites but he still has Grade 4 Fibrosis a.k.a. cirrhosis or end stage liver disease.
Hope that makes it clear.
Mark gives some great advice here and definately has the experience to back it.
As well Katie has detailed the correct way this all gets staged out. Get a bit confusing at times but all that being said all thats left to say from this guy is good luck Hayley!🙂😊
very well written..i wish I could write the answer to how people stop drinking. With me,i was told very bluntly by my consultant I wouldn't last a year if I continued.And that was it for me..I realised I wouldn't see my grandchildren grow up or meet any more and decided they(and my family) were more important. I wish I could wave a magic wand to help others but it is true,it has to come from within
Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.
Hello Hidden, I hope things have improved for you and your husband since this last post. I live in the USA and I too have Stage 3 Cirrhosis,HCV (genotype c3),Advanced Steatosis,and I am BEST OF ALL A RAGING ALCOHOLIC . I am sober today by the Grace Of God.I think the reply you got from Phoenix was a great one certainly wise. I have heard and been told "Compensated", "Decompensated", and so forth. What I do know is that I was killing myself and as long as I was drinking I didn't care really, I would feel better then if I ever got sober I would wish I was dead :). I am a few months shy of being 60 and I started drinking Alcohol playing as a child,and then tried all kinds of drugs still playing of course ! Well I unfortunately have an addictive genealogy and an addictive personality whatever you want to call it I cannot drink at all or use drugs without my life going completely to Hell In A Handbasket! I have suffered dire consequences my whole life for my bad choices and lifestyle.I am alive today By The Grace Of God and that I loved to workout play sports of all types and have a FUN ( I thought!) adventurous life.I had so much fun I was killing myself and never knew it. I have had years of my life put on hold, spent time in undesirable places,and other unfortunate events to make a long story short. I did all of this by my own volition,I too would like to know the psychology behind it and I actually do but it's hard to find words,however others just like me know exactly what I am saying. The disease of Alcoholism and Addiction is an Insidious Disease it ravages so many and is not choosy but if you come from a line of Blueblood Drunks like me you have some help,an inside track shall we say! I am praying for you and your husband Hidden as I have a special place in my heart for you both,God Bless You and all of your Family too. There is A Pot of Gold on the other side of the rainbow Hidden, I and many others like us have found it,Faith,Hope,and Love are all requirements for your Journey may you find it NOW,
Thank you guys for the support. Just a small update on my husband's health he is in hospital for vomiting blood and he fainted. We are waiting for further investigations. He was doing all good and it happened so quickly. Fingers crossed....
I hope Alfred is right. I'd be sure to be standing by his bedside and when he comes to I'd simply ask "do you get it yet"?
Hopefully this will be the wake up call. He has most likely got bleeding variaces that need banding and will be in hospital for a while. Please enquire if they have an alcohol counselling service. They can talk to him at his bedside.
The very best of luck and as others have said, look after yourself. Hospitalisation can be a time for you to get some respite, easier said than done.
Wishing you the very best in your journey ahead.
I hope that this is the experience that will make him want to give alcohol up. Wishing you all the best. Alf
Hi wife of an Alchohol. I am an x wife of an Alchohol. I was transplanted 3 years and 3 months ago. I lived with a alcoholic for 24 though years.I return home after 3 months as my daughter and son in law helped me recover after my transplant. (My husband was incapable of looking after me in any way) I couldn't cope with the lies and the drinking and every thing that goes with the alcoholic. I decided to leave a transplant was enough to cope with . No medical reason given for sub acute liver failure. Maybe the stress of my life!
After I left he came to his senses and went to AA he got so much support there. I returned for a week to help him do a medical detox at home.
He has now completely recovered and has not had any alchohol for 2 years.
It took him 6 weeks to decide to seek help after I walked away.
If your husband own health won't make him see sense then maybe facing life without may
You could also go to allanon meetings there you will get help and support.
I was told so many times to look after my own health. I know how hard that is
Is, there is alot of help for you too.
I have spelt All Anon wrong but I am sure someone in this group will have the right spelling
Good luck and I do hope he dosen't leave it to long. Xx
It must have taken a lot of mental strength to leave which was vey brave of you especially since you were not well yourself.
You don’t say - as far as I can tell - whether you are back together but you did go back for a while to support him which was, i think, very good/kind of you.
He is very lucky indeed to be completely recovered 👍.
And how are you? It is always great to hear from folk who have had a TP. In 4 days time 6 months is up for me - yippee. 😁
All the best - to you both
Good luck with the six months Miles, I have just been through mine. Interesting emotions and let’s stay on the way ahead.
And to you Mark. I’m still having wound/stomach problems but liver is working “perfectly “ - I’ve got it in writing - so it doesn’t get much better than that. 😁👍.
Love your liver Miles 👍🙏
Hi Miles no I didn't go back. I had been married 44 years when I decided to leave.24 years with an Alchoholic who was very abusive under the influence.
Mentally I had a lot to cope with,my liver failed completely in 2 months, it was a lot to cope with and he couldn't support me mentally or financially.He hadn't worked for 12 years spent all the money even took my inheritance.
It's a long story, but I am very well and still working. I have to support myself financially. My 3 children are a great support so are my brothers and sisters. 5 wonderful grandchilren between the ages of 10 and 3. I count myself very fortunate I was given the gift of life,so I try to live every day to the full. Laugh alot.My husband is still a very angry man. Although his liver has recovered. Mentally he full of anger about his life and that I walked away. I should of left years before,I thought I could help him. I realise now you have to want to help yourself.Addiction is very complex.
My Son is in recovery he is 36 and is staying with me at the moment. He has been clean and dry for 5 months and now helps other addicts. I am very proud of him .My son went to AA and CA and CMA. Sorry for my abbreviated very long story
Hi Elizabeth (my wife is called Elizabeth too but says she’s only ever called Elizabeth when she’s been naughty 😁)
Thanks for very open reply. I hate to say this but souds lke you made the right decision. You would maybe have hoped he would have learnt his lesson - but what do I know - I’m always taking a simplistic view on things...
Our elder son is 39 and he has also had to give up alcohol. ☹️. He sems very well now! 👍
Well, I truly hope you continue to make progress 😁.
Best wishes 👍
Thanks Miles I am lucky I have a very positive attitude to life. After the transplant and marriage break up. I try to look after myself . The right diet and as much exercise as I have energy for, I can't ask for much more. I am so grateful for my life.
Every day is so precious
Xxx Elizabeth, Best wishes to your family
Thanks beture 😁👍
Congrats Miles, Mark and you as well Elizabeth! May you all be celebrating in great health 😊😊
Thank you Phoenix👍👍👍👍👍👍
hi there I dont know if this will be of any help to you or not ,but if you go to you tube type in alcohol mastery the guy kevin o"hara has lots of good videos,i have been off drink for almost two years now and I do believe watching his videos helped me a lot ,best of luck
If he gets over this bleeding episode (and it's a BIG IF) he is probably going to die a nasty death quite soon.
If he continues drinking the Drs might keep him going a little longer but the treatment will be distressing.
A transplant will not be considered if he is drinking.
My consultant described it as my liver being innoculated with alcohol, it's got so used to it that it ignores it and let's the poison part stay there and cause horrendous damage.
He said that even a small amount of drink once in a while causes considerable damage because the liver does not remove it.
Stopping drinking is hard work but if he wants to live he now has no choice.
Clear all booze from your house, dont buy his poison for him, beg and plead with him to give up.
Tell the world about his alcohol problem, DONT hide it and get your family and friends to support you both.
AA might not suit so ask about SMART recovery and/or CGL, the hospital will know about them and put you in contact, or Google it and self refer to them.
He can recover from this if he tries.
Apart from bleeding I was a clone of your husband.
I gave up booze.
2 years later and I am healthier, wealthier and a lot more wiser!
My Dr said my life expectancy is now close to normal.
Hi Roy, Can I ask what stage cirrhosis were you?
I was diagnosed after a routine check aged 60 showed high GGT amongst other abnormal blood results.
Dr recognized red spider veins on my body and red blotches on the palms of my hands as possibly liver problems
Then a scan showed enlarged grainy liver followed by a fibroscan to confirm cirrhosis. score was 24+
Camera showed osophagal varices (minor).
I never had a biopsy.
I quit my 1 to 2 bottle of wine a day habit with an at home detox.
Prior to that I had tried to quit for over 10 years, including going to therapy for several months. (twice).
Its not surprising that a straight talking Dr who said I would be dead within a year or two if I did not quit sort of sharpened my attention!
I dont know about "stages" as that does not seem to be how my Dr judges things.
I am now Child Pugh A and Meld 6 so that's about as good as it gets.
The one "good" thing about cirrhosis is that if you remove the cause your liver can stabilise and to some extent recover.
Thank you so much Roy. My fibroscan was 27.9 and I was never much of a drinker--about 1 1/2 bottles of wine/week but had fatty liver and breast cancer drug that put me on the fast track to cirrhosis. Tamoxifen is a known hepatotoxic drug and I'm one of the lucky 2.9% of women that respond with a near fatal acute onset cirrhosis. Your words are very encouraging as I have obviously stopped the medication, lost massive weight and eat like a rabbit (loads of veg!). I actually feel better than I have in years. I wonder if I could get a lower fibroscan after such drastic changes in my lifestyle. There is so little on the web about success stories relating to cirrhosis. Everything just says you will decline then die. I'm not ready to go down without a fight!
Thank you again, Liz
It might possibly go down but the main aim is to stop it getting worse!
Dont go chasing numbers, fibroscan is only part of the diagnosis.
In your other post you said your decompensated and had one bout of ascites.
It's not unusual to go back to compensated if you take care of yourself, I was teetering on the edge of having problems but now back to "normal"
you can't not drink for him." I know you would."
HIS body, his liver, he has to stop,
He must feel it's too hard to stop and to change his lifestyle and diet
He must feel the booze is worth it.!?
enjoy all the time he has with you AND plan for the inevitable if he continues to drink !!
"" read my previous posts. bin there & glad of the lifeinsuance""
PM me if you want ?
I feel so sorry for you. Please, please show this letter to your husband in the hope it will convince him to give up alcohol, at least until his liver recovers and even then, to drink only in moderation.
My brother was 64 when he died on 4 January with liver cancer and cirrhosis. He was diagnosed more or less one year earlier and the consultant gave him 10 months to a year, so he was right. There was no chance of a transplant because it was just too advanced but he would've jumped at the chance. His nose started bleeding about 3 months before he died and before the end his stomach was the size of a woman in the final stage of pregnancy. He started sleeping almost 24 hours a day and was very slow in walking. He got the usual disability gadgets but he barely made use of them because he died just a few weeks after getting them. This was a man who a year earlier had saved a woman's life by tackling a man to the ground but he ended up 12 months later not having the strength even to stand up after falling down and help had to be summoned. He had dirtied himself which was very embarrassing for a man who prided himself in the clothes he wore.
Please, please give up alcohol, you are choosing drink over your life. I wish I could go back to, perhaps, 18 months and I would dearly loved to have had a serious conversation with my brother but I honestly didn't know he was such a drinker, it was perhaps only 4 pints every now and then.
Good luck to you both.
Hi wifeofalcoholic I’m sorry to hear that your going through this, I put my wife through something very similar.
All I can tell you is when I ended up in hospital with liver failure the doctors and nurses worked very hard to keep me alive and I had a specialised nurse that worked with me.
She was the one that said to me in no unpleasant way you can go out and buy another bottle of vodka or see your grandsons. I now have 3 but out of all this it means he has to have something more to look forward to and believe in ( I’m sorry you are not enough my wife wasn’t, is now).
I hit my bottom 6 years ago. Everyone has his or her own bottom. Until he feels he’s going to loose his life or you even he won’t reach his bottom.
I am quite new to this forum and have been in a similar situation. Just a little over 14 months ago my husband was rushed to to hospital with what turned out to be bleeding varicies; he was treated in resus and given huge amounts of transfusions of plasma, platelets, blood and also detoxed. He was told in no uncertain terms he was extremely lucky to be alive and he was never to drink again. He lasted a month and started to drink beer as he convinced himself it was ok as it was not spirits. Well fast forward another year Sept 18 and he was rushed in with sepsis and decompensated liver. He spent 2 weeks in Intensive Care and detoxed again. He has spent most of the last 5 months in hospital due to complications ascities, HE, and various infections due to his compromised immune system. Fortunately for us he has been so ill he cant stand the thought of alcohol (at the minute). He has been unable to work for last 7 months and we are uncertain when he will return. His liver remains decompensated. This in itself has been a huge financial burden especially with 2 young children still at home. On top of this on Friday my husband was told he can no longer drive by the consultant this came as a huge shock as has upset him hugely. He has been told he has bern so lucky to still be alive after 2 life threatening events and many woukd not have survived.
His quality of life has been impaired so much and he is a 48 year old looking very much like a 70 year old.
In my experience you cannot tell them as my husband closed off the reality of what was happening until he was so I'll he has no choice.
Please show him these posts but I think it will be the sharp shock that will do the trick when he becomes decomoendated. And finally although i am still new and learining yhe hard way about all of this if you want to chat or get in touch please do. Even tho the drinker has left the building we are facing equally difficult challenges ahead
Hi everyone, I would like to thank you all for such a great support u have been. I was too occupied with my current situation so I couldn't reply. Right now my husband is on life support system as his hemoglobin is 5 g/dl. He had banding but doctors are not very sure about the status of internal bleeding. He was coughing blood and having rectal bleeding which for now is stopped but we are not seeing any improvement in HB. He had blood transfusion as well. He is under observation and doctors are also not saying much what could happen next. This is his 4th near the death experience and I hope he come out of it and realizes what he has done to himself and to me. I have not slept from last two days. Life is getting hardb to deal with. I am all broken.
Unless he faces up to being alcoholic and gets professional help and counselling to quit, he will at best be very ill for the rest of what will become a very much shortened life or he will go downhill rapidly and die as did my husband. Whatever happens you will need to take good care of yourself to remain strong.
I'm so sorry for what you are going through. I know just how hard it is to watch your loved 1 slowly kill himself with this damn poison.
Just read your last post. My hubby was in intensive care and never came out. My heart goes out to you. Im so so sorry.
Much love and hugs
I am in the same situation as you where drink is more important than their health and you. I too am looking for the answer but they have to stop but there needs to be more support for them to do so. Is there a check list of stages for them to realise where they are on the scale of severity out there?
I know its very difficult to persuade an alcoholic into recovery because I am one myself. Something happened within that awoke to the fact that I cant continue like this for ever and set about taking action. Reading "To the wifes" in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, your husband could be the 4th example they talk about in that book. You can visit AA.org and try reading it on-line. What can we do, simply pray and try to leave the copy of the book by his bed side or when he comes out a binge and in desperate need, before he gets the fix, you can bring up the topic of AA, encourage him to read "More about alcoholism" chapter as suggested in the book. Understanding the concepts perhaps will encourage him to look at the solution. You can also visit Al-Anon meetings and see what the other families are doing about it.
Your husband needs to stop drinking before it's to late. He's lucky he has a choice, my husband didn't. He died of Nash which is non alcoholic form of cirrhosis.
My husband was 62 when he died and had never been a drinker. All I would say is he suffered. I'm sorry if I sound blunt I don't mean to I just want yr husband to smell the coffee and wake up to the fact, he may be able to slow the cirrhosis I hope he stops drinking
Hello WOA, I talk straight and I am an Alcoholic in recovery 9 years ish.
If your husband dose not seek medical help it won't be long before he passes away. I have seen others who think they OK die to many times. Al Anon is part of AA and you may find it helpful as many people like yourself can support each other.
I am terribly sorry about your old man but he needs urgent medical ASAP.