Couldn’t have picked a worse time to g... - British Liver Trust

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Couldn’t have picked a worse time to get sober


Little background

I’m 21 years old, been drinking heavily for around 2 years now. I drink around 8-12 units a night. This may not seem a lot to some people but I know this is far too much and I want to stop whilst I’m still young. I’m very worried I’ve already done damage to my liver as the very corners of my eyes are yellow (albeit not the whole eye)

I really want to give it up but with the U.K. being on lockdown I am so bored and I want to do is drink. I manage to keep it strictly to evenings as I workout most of the day. I’ve also managed to cut it down from drinking 12-16 units a night for the past month (due to stress) down to 4-6 units a night the past couple nights. So I’ve managed to taper down but I still feel like 6 units a night is too much. I would like it to be none at all.

If I I was still at work I could easily not have a drink on a weekday and just leave it to the weekends, but being at home all day just makes me crave a beer.

My question is, by tapering down am I still causing huge damage to my liver? Should I just try and give it a break to let my liver repair then go back to maybe having 1-2 weak beers a night

I’m not quite sure how to approach this because of the Coronavirus. This is my first time trying to get clean

Any advice would be appreciated, I really don’t want liver disease or anything along the lines

38 Replies

Hi Uplight, my big concern (speaking from experience) would be becoming dependent on alcohol. I doubt/hope you’re not at that stage, and I take my hat off to you for thinking about quitting/cutting down at 21.

Being dependent, as I was, is a sad existence, and all former heavy drinkers look back with regret at the wasted years. I suffered no lasting liver damage, and statistically you probably have none either. However, the only way to know for sure is to speak to your GP who can refer you for a liver function blood test (normal blood sample, takes 2 minutes)

The UK 14 unit weekly recommendation was actually set to reduce levels of certain cancers. As well as your liver, think about your general health. Plus drinking every day for years piles the pounds on. I spent a decade as an obese drunken slob, but now that weight’s off, I can smugly copy Kate Moss’s line that nothing tastes as good as slim 😀 (sorry)

If you can genuinely keep below 14 units a week with 2 or 3 consecutive days off, that’s fine. If not, think seriously about quitting.

Yes, bad time to quit with boredom and stress, but you’ll be going to the booze shop less often which is no bad thing right now.

Good luck 👍

I’m not dependant yet. As I say, if I was still working I could easily not drink on a work night as I don’t like going to work groggy. It’s just with this lockdown I’m so bored all day everyday it’s giving me urges 🤣

I managed to taper down by half the past couple days. I only had 2 small cans of Strongbow last night which only equates to like 4.4 units, so it’s a start. Tonight I’m going to try and it drink whatsoever

Sounds like a plan 👍

Hi Uplight99

Did you know there is always a good reason to have a drink boss got right on my nerves today, that traffic is getting worse I have to chill out oh there is a bill in I didn’t expect, l could go on for ever you know why I have used them all.

Trouble is they are not reasons they are excuses and it’s a hard lesson to except because your not drinking that much (oh that’s another one).

If you look back to my history it’s really boring got into just having a few ended up two bottles of vodka a day how many beers I don’t know and the one question I get a lot is when did you become an alcoholic? I haven’t got a clue because before you now it it’s I deserve this beer I’ve worked really hard today it’s a lovely sunny day and of course the one you know I’m bored 🤔.

I wish you all the luck in your decision and at a young age of 21 I sincerely hope you make the best one 🤞

All the best

Dogbot 🐶

Uplight99 in reply to Dogbot

Luckily I’m not at that stage yet. However what frightens me is I can see myself getting there which is why I want to stop whilst I can.

If I was still at work then not drinking on weekdays would be easy as I don’t like going to work groggy. However with the current situation it’s causing me to drink everyday

Hi. I can only give you my experience, drinking every day, half or full bottles of vodka for about 10 years. In December last year I was diagnosed with cirrhosis and my bloods were so deranged that a another bender and I would be dead. I spent 2 weeks in hospital and have not touched a drop since. My bloods are much better and I don't miss drink at all, I have seriously damaged my body and what I am left with is pain, bloating you name it. I didn't listen to my body telling me to stop and it sounds like yours is warning you which is good as you hear it.

I say that to my mates . I don't wish them this awful lot.

It is an horrid path to go down.

Well done for having sensible thoughts! !♡ you are a baby compared to me enjoy your life. Stay well and strong.

Uplight99 in reply to FlashyD

Yeah I’ve seen first hand what drinking does to you through my dad. He is an alcoholic, as in if he doesn’t have a drink he can’t stop shaking type of alcoholic. Last year he had 2 strokes and he has been diagnosed with a heart aneurysm. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has done irreversible damage to his liver too. Seeing what it’s done to him is the main reason and my main motivation to stop. Hopefully I haven’t done any damage to myself yet

Hi there and welcome, my response to you is you couldn't have picked a better time to go sober. If you're bored why don't you volunteer and help the NHS? They could do with some help. At you're age you're extremely unlikely to have done any lasting damage but you were drinking too much. Stick to the 14 units if you're going to drink. Why not use lockdown to do 6 weeks off and see how you feel? I'll bet you feel better about yourself. You'll save some cash too. Here endeth the lecture. Stay safe.

Uplight99 in reply to briccolone

You know what, I actually did apply to help the NHS. However I drive a work van and it has a tracker installed inside of it so my boss can see exactly what I’m doing, and I’ve been told I’m not allowed to drive the van unless it’s for work..

I would love to be able to drive around and go and grab shopping and supplies for the vulnerable people. It’s a shame I wrote off my car 🤣

briccolone in reply to Uplight99

good for you mate...take care

Laura009 in reply to Uplight99

Would it be worth asking your boss if you could use the van considering its for 1 hell of a good course.. if you offer to pay for fuel ? I think driving would be a brilliant way to keep you off the booze too

Uplight99 in reply to Laura009

The thing is, my boss doesn’t actually mind himself, but the woman in the office (who likes to think she’s runs the company) keeps saying that because of my driving inexperience, the insurance is saying I can’t drive it out of work. However everyone else in my company drives it in personal time and we’re all under the same insurance so I think it’s a load of bollocks personally. I might ask my boss, it is for a very good cause.


Good morning,

Well done for recognising that you are drinking far too much. You have taken a huge first step.

You will receive a lot of support on this forum from people who have been/are in the same situation as yourself.

It is difficult to suddenly stop drinking if you are used to a high intake and it is wise to get advice about doing this in a sensible and sustainable manner to avoid harm - it can be dangerous to suddenly stop with out having first had medical advice on how to do it safely.

You may not consider yourself to be an 'alcoholic' but even if you don't you can get a lot of help from Alcoholics anonymous. They are still offering a service at the moment although it is reduced. Their website is:

helpline number 0800 9177 650


Good luck, you are on a difficult path but it is a path well worth taking


Uplight99 in reply to Trust5

I wouldn’t consider myself dependant, I can go without a drink and it wouldn’t be the end of the world but I just crave one when I’m lying in bed with a movie on if you get my jist

I will look into AA thanks

I hope you’re not dependent as that is a huge problem as I said above as it’s not reversible.

But I have to say, craving a drink whilst watching a movie is a slight worry. Why not take a couple of weeks off anyway? It’ll do your liver and general health good plus you’ll know for certain if you’re dependent or not.

When I first quit, I wasn’t showing any physical symptoms such as “the shakes”, but I certainly craved a drink, and that’s why I’m wary when you mention cravings.

Sorry that your dad’s not doing so well.

I don’t know, I wouldn't really say I’m dependant on alcohol as such, I’m dependant on having a buzz when I chill. I could easily replace alcohol with a bit of weed which is what I’m thinking about doing. I know that’s probably going to trigger some of you guys, but in all honesty, health wise, weed isn’t anywhere near as bad, especially seeing as I don’t smoke the plant itself. Instead, I vape it which heats up the THC instead of burning the plant which prevents anything bad going into my lungs.

Laura009 in reply to Uplight99

I really do think you have an addiction problem as you are now considering replacing 1 poison for another. If seeing what alcohol has done to you Father isn't a good enough reason for you to stop poisoning your body maybe if you were told " lf you carry on drinking you will die " may give you the wake up call you need. That's what happened to my husband. That's what the doc at hospital told him. After 4 years of severe illness, and l mean severe illness, he spent 10 days in intensive care with tubes going in and out of his body. His liver had failed, his kidneys had failed and even his lungs packed up. And there he died at just 54 years old.

Please see the light while you are young enough to turn this around. You are wastung your time exercising all day if you're just going to chuck rubbish into your system afterwards. Don't you think you are worth more than that ?

Uplight99 in reply to Laura009

I am sorry about your husband, that sounds horrible and I have no intentions of reaching that stage.

You are right about the addiction part, I have a very addictive personality. However, it may sound like a cliche, but compared to alcohol weed is pretty harmless. Don’t get me wrong, inhaling anything into your lungs will do damage but there have been tons and tons of studies done on the use of recreational marijuana and there are barley any long term effects, at least not as extreme as organ failure. It’s no where near as bad as alcohol or tobacco.

Ideally yes, having nothing at all in my system is the most ideal scenario but I think in a situation like this I need to take it one step at a time. If I can replace alcohol with weed, just before bed to help me relax/sleep, then I think that’s a big step to make. There are also herbs out there like kava and kratom which mimic the effects of alcohol just without the alcohol side effects, however I haven’t done to much research into them.

Thanks for the advice though. I’m taking everything you say on board. You’ll just have to bare with me because I’m young and careless 🤣

Laura009 in reply to Uplight99

You are the same age as my daughter. She too is finding lockdown tough not being able to go to work or meet her friends. But as alcohol killed her Father she has no intention of turning to drink or drugs for solace. She and her boyfriend have stocked up on puzzle books and jigsaws to do after their daily walks in the fresh air.

I hope you make some sensible choices too.

Uplight99 in reply to Laura009

You know what, having a girlfriend would probably fix the whole situation 🤣 Need someone to put me in my place

Laura009 in reply to Uplight99

Darling even if you had a girlfriènd you would still find an excuse to drink and she wouldn't thank you for it !

Bootandall in reply to Uplight99

Hi Uplight99,

Please don't try kava or kratom, they are unregulated substances that may harm your liver! I think giving up the alco for six weeks is a good plan. 👍😉

Vaping is very very bad for your lungs and could actually kill you! "Popcorn lung” is the nickname for bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious and irreversible lung disease caused by vaping that can damage the smallest airways in your lungs, giving you a hacking cough and shortness of breath. With the current threat of Coronavirus, this is an even more serious concern! 😮

So my suggestion is to give up both and see how it goes. The craving is what makes you an addict, because non-addicts can take it or leave it. I think you already know this about yourself deep down.

Now l will tell you a story that I hope you will remember. Do you believe in a higher power?🙄

When l was struggling to quit smoking, l asked my great uncle how he managed to do it. He told me "the power of prayer" which was surprising, he was no fanatic and smoked heavily for decades, but he quit one day and that was that. I tried it a few times (addictive personality 😏) before it worked for me too.

Now you understand the need to replace the alco with something other than alco that can not harm you. I think for you, it might be deep breathing for relaxation, which can also be used to control pain and anxiety. You can also try putting a smooth "worry stone" in your pocket and rubbing it when you get anxious and forget to breathe deeply.

I sincerely hope these suggestions help you give up drinking and vaping with a more calm, centered focus on the future.

This too will pass and you will be ready to meet your life's opportunities and challenges without the burden of addiction.

Uplight99 in reply to Bootandall

I’ve heard about vaping damaging your lung but isn’t that down to the e-juices that are used? I don’t use e-juice, mine basically oil distracted from the marijuana plant and out into the cartridge so you’re only vaping the thc oil and nothing else. I could be wrong though

I have tried meditating, I tried using a couple of them apps like calm etc but to be honest I’m very impatient and my minds always active so I found it very hard to focus

Bootandall in reply to Uplight99

Yeah l know, l meant just try to concentrate on taking a few deep breaths, for example inhale as you bring your hands over your head and exhale as you put your arms down. Nothing involved. 😏 You can do it without your arms, once you know how to do it.

It is my understanding that it's vaping itself that is harmful. Have you tried marijuana edibles?

Full disclosure, I smoke a little bit. But I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis and cirrhosis, and there aren't many things l can take safely for pain. I hope you don't have anything like that.

Uplight99 in reply to Bootandall

Sorry to hear that, did you cirrhosis from alcohol, if you don’t mind me asking?

Marijuana has many medicinal purposes, it’s a shame it isn’t legalised here yet.

I have tried edibles yeah, many times, but they personally hit me like a freight train 🤣

Bootandall in reply to Uplight99

Not sure exactly about cause of my cirrhosis, l had Hep C for more than 40 years before it was treated.

But l did drink for a couple of years and l have also packed on the pounds. Not the picture of health or clean living! So my advice to you comes largely from my own experience (never vaped). I have also never had edibles, but have heard before that they are very strong! I wish they would just legalize pot, it doesn't need to be hydro to just toke a few puffs and chill.

If l could just add to everything that's already been said .... stop buying it ? If you don't buy it you can't drink it. Instead buy yourself a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle to do in the evenings instead maybe?

This is what happens when off licences deem alcohol as an essential during a crisis !!

Good luck hope you manage to give it up

Uplight99 in reply to Laura009

Jigsaws aren’t really my thing. Might give reading a go. I can workout all day it’s just finding something to do to occupy me in the evenings haha

Laura009 in reply to Uplight99

I really do understand. People are taking up new hobbies and interests now... doing things they'd never even thought they would do. Sewing, patchwork even crotchet and knitting is getting trendy again. Have a go at drawing or painting? .... the kind of things our grandparents used to do before tv and facebook took over! Well done for exercising during the day though. Could you save a workout for the evenings?

Uplight99 in reply to Laura009

Hopefully in the coming weeks the U.K. lockdown is relaxed a little bit so I can go back to work. If I was working I wouldn’t have this issue at all, I could stick to drinking on the weekends only. I don’t have high hopes that’s going to happen anytime soon though.

The thing is I share a room with my brother and he works everyday until 9pm, so it’s nice to be able to workout throughout the day when he’s not here and getting in the way 🤣

You have realised that drinking is potentially a problem for you, so now is definitely the best time for you to address it. You have seen first hand, the damage it has caused your father and are expressing concerns about yourself.

You really don’t want to reach the point where you have irreversibly damaged your health and you sit in front of a doctor, who lets you know that the next drink could kill you.

Good luck with everything in the days ahead.

Uplight99 in reply to TT-2018

I agree. I’ve see stories of people who drink like 30+ units a night for 10 years and never have any health issues, but then I’ve seen people get liver problems really young so I don’t want to chance it. Knowing my luck I’d be that one fucker who gets liver disease at the age of 21, touch wood.

I love alcohol but like everything, it needs to be done in moderation. A lot of the time it’s to help with anxiety/stress but I’m going to see if I can get a GP appointment (unlikely due to the current situation) to see if he can help me.

TT-2018 in reply to Uplight99

It would definitely be a great place to start and please be completely honest with them, you would only be fooling yourself. I am sure that you can get a telephone consultation to get the ball rolling.

Hi there Uplight.

Please, please value your younger days and remember, you have your whole life ahead of you. From your prompt replies to other member posts, you are obviously a very courteous and polite young man who deserves to do well in life. I won't explain what we have gone through with our daughter but we are no further forward than we were 26 years ago. Please take heed of the honest advice which you have been given. Sincere wishes in your journey ahead.

Thanks for your kind words

I think it’s best I get ahead of this whilst I’m young. I’ve said to myself I’m not drinking for the rest of the week starting today so let’s see. I struggle sleeping if I don’t have a drink but I bought some Nytol in the hopes it helps me doze off.

I’m sorry about your daughter, I hope that someday she finds light and sorts herself out. I’ve only been drinking 2 years and I already see how addicting it can get so I can only pray for people in even more dire positions than me

Feel for you, but hope you can beat it and taper down on the booze quickly! I am far from good at advice or following it, but hope you can find some really enriching and diverting activities ... being in lockdown is a huge challenge for most of us (bar the hermits of course). Don't give up trying..also hoping your post might find others in same position and you can help each other. Good Luck.

Yeah man being in lockdown is what’s making this hard. I guess it’s also a good opportunity to work on yourself though.

Hi Uplight99

As you can see there is a lot of support and advice on this forum a lot of people that have gone and going through a lot of pain physically and mentally with themselves or partners or relative and friends but they will take the time to help or try to help others it’s a really Class forum, but all we can do is give someone the benefit of our experience or knowledge. I think there is every chance you have an addictive personality very much like me cigarettes I went up to a hundred a day, booze I I told you already drugs have never been my thing I have had a few friends that do them.

I have never seen a good thing come out of any of them I packed fags and booze up fags years ago booze only since September 2003 I have arthritis thrombosis cirrhosis an ileostomy bag because part of my bowel died and it’s all to do with what I put in my body, so all I ask is take some time thinking about what people on this site say and try to come to a decision that doesn’t harm you.

There is a good web site Ask Frank maybe give it a look.

All the best.

Dogbot 🐶

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