Living with cirrosis and alcohol - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Living with cirrosis and alcohol


Hi. I'm living with someone who has cirroris (sorry for spelling always get it wrong)

They are not going to stop drinking I'm learning to accept that but I'm looking for practical advice for managing their drinking. Or at least trying to. Maybe someone has been in the same situation? I don't know.

28 Replies

Have you tried contacting Al-anon which is the support group for people who are affected by a friend/relative/loved one's problematic drinking?

Does this person realize that by continuing to drink with cirrhosis it will almost inevitably kill them? We've got many members on here who have stuck by relatives in a similar situation only to see them lose the battle.

Transplant only becomes an option for people if they are proven to be sober and committed to life long abstinence.

I don't know how you would manage another persons drinking habit but its a nasty thing to have to live with.

All the best to you, Katie

Lockettx in reply to AyrshireK

Hi. Thanks for your message. She's in complete denial. Calls the doctors and nurses liars. Exagatators. It's actually really embarrassing how strong the denial is. I cannot stand watching or knowing she's been drinking/drunk it breaks my heart. I've had years of absolute torture but I cannot stop her. I'm in touch with Al anon. I'm just trying to practical now everything I've tried to support her into stopping and slowing down hadn't worked so I need to know how to deal with it in the best way but I just don't know where to go or who to speak to. Al anon are good support network ur not really for sound or medical advice

AyrshireK in reply to Lockettx

I always feel strongly for those who have to watch their loved ones on this path of self-destruction. In my case I am caring for my hubby who has cirrhosis due to auto immune liver disease, never having drunk booze in his life. He would do anything to get well again or improve his lot.

Sadly when alcohol is involved that is the ruler and there is nothing that anyone else can do to stop the drinker from drinking.

Maybe some of our members who have been in this situation will come on board the thread but many as I say have sadly watched their loved one fall victim to the booze and the liver disease.

You look after yourself in all this because it will not be pleasant.


Lockettx in reply to AyrshireK

Hi thanks for your message and I'm sorry to hear about your husbands health.

Hi Lockett, sorry to hear about the situation your being put in. From personal experience I know there is nothing or nobody who can tell a Alcoholic (as thats what your loved one is) to stop/cut down there drinking. Some are on self destruct and can see no way of how to stop, like i was myself, only I stopped when it all come crashing down on me like a house of cards, and its left me with irreversible health consequences.

I cannot imagine what your going through as I put my loved ones through the exact same thing, you only want the best for the user, only we can't see it or realise it until its too late. I don't know how ill your loved one is but there will come a time when she can't keep the drink down,being sick 3-4 times a day, sitting in a hospital bed, yellow, swollen legs, stomach and being told there and then, you drink again you WILL die.

Sorry if thats a bit graphic etc but that's what happend to me and only then, something clicked with me that I know if I drink, ill die. Its a pretty simple reason not to go back to alcohol and its a bloody effective one, well for me, not all.

I just hope the person your worried about realises that its not just themselves there slowly breaking with every drink they continue to have, but also the ones that care. I cant say much more on this as I'm a walking, talking work in progress. I just wish you and your loved one can find some resolution for the best.

Take care.


Lockettx in reply to Ashw88

Thanks Ashley nice to get your perspective as a drinker yourself. I kind of feel like we had that moment 2017 that was her diagnosis of cirroris that's when she was told if you continue to drink dont expect to live long you only have one liver and yours has been through enough. She stopped for a year out of shock and regret I suppose? But slowly but surely she's going back to her old ways and has for the last 2 years more and more each time. She's now drinking by herself again. Her siblings are all big drinkers and think it's normal to drink with her so I have no support from family at all I've fallen out with everyone so many times. I've had to learn to accept I can't stop her but I'm still not there yet. I think if she ever knew what I went through she would hate herself but I really don't think she does. She thinks I'm the problem? I'm worrying too much. I don't leave her alone etc. Did you realise how your drinking was effecting the people around you or are you just blissfully unaware? I'm asking out of interest and to know what it's like because it's like she just seems to hate me because of it.

Ashw88 in reply to Lockettx

Yes sounds very familiar, my friends family etc all like a drink but they wouldn't drink with me knowing I had cirrhosis so there really not helping her. I was aware of the damage and hurt I was doing to the ones around me, but hand on heart I just didn't care, I sound like a monster with that comment but I cannot lie, I didn't. All I was interested in was getting my drink,I would lie, not pay bills, beg and borrow daily just to get alcohol it was a really sad and desperate existence, I honestly belive nobody wants to live like that, they just can't see a way out.

You are not the problem be rest assured of that ok, she's just blaming and hitting out at the closest to her, like i was myself. Ive lost dear friends from my addiction, something I wallowed in, woe betide me type thing. All I can say is be there best you can for her like you are, do not beat yourself up your doing everything you can to help and by caring for her,the problem is until she accepts what she has to do,im afraid there is not much anyone can do.

Thank you lockett , it is a long road only I like to think im in a good car at present, full tank of petrol looking forward to the open road, as for to long ive taken the wrong turn. Take care


Lockettx in reply to Ashw88

Thanks so much. Really helpful to hear. Pushing me forward to make sure I don't give up because she is doing a really good job at pushing me away and making me feel like shit 24/7 but I won't give up. Thank you and wish you all the best!!!! Sounds like you've come a really long way and you should be very proud x

Lam1e in reply to Lockettx

I agree with everything Ashley has said! Like Ashley it wasn’t till I got so ill I had to be admitted to hospital and got to a point when I accepted how ill I was! When I was discharged friends then told me I could have died! That was the lightbulb moment and I was nowhere near better!

I was assessed for transplant and had my gift of life on the 10th December last year! There is hope and you sound like you are being amazing and supportive! I didn’t have a partner to give me that support, but I had and have amazing friends! I have to say also the medical treatment and the team are amazing!

I wish I could be more help and f you ever feel that she wants to talk to someone that knows how she feels then please DM me.

Look after yourself too🙏


Lockettx in reply to Ashw88

I wish you all the best as well Ashley. Its a long road but nothing is impossible

Laura009 in reply to Lockettx

Hi Lockett, bear with my l will send you a private message xx

Dogbot in reply to Ashw88

Well done Ash spot on good luck to you mate 👍😀.

Stay Safe All

Dogbot 🐶🌈


I am sorry you are having to go through this. I can not recommend regular contact with Al-Anon highly enough and reading Courage to Change. I started to attend Al-Anon to look for the answer to stop my mums drinking after becoming so desperate, I would mark bottles so I knew how much she had drink, hide and empty bottles. I quickly realised that there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop or slow her drinking, despite her having cirrohsis and that actually, her drinking was in some ways making me more ill than it was her.

It is difficult to watch someone you love destroy their life but it is not your fault and you are powerless over an alcohol addiction. I’m sorry that there is no quick fix or positive answer to your problem and I understand completely how desperate and lonely it can feel to be in your position. Support from others, al-anon and reading up about alcoholism helped me x

Lockettx in reply to AlexJ91

Really good to hear from someone who has the parent problem too. I ve joined Al anon and its mostly spouses no one in the particular group I've joined have a parent relationship. Yea I've stopped the throwing marking etc causes too many rows. She just hates me for everything. Anything I say or do. It's so mentally and emotionally draining. I'm trying to accept I can't stop her but how do I accept that without giving up??? I can't and won't give up but all the stress and negativity is having suchhhhh a bad effect on me

AlexJ91 in reply to Lockettx

I can empathise with you completely. It isn’t giving up, it’s knowing that you cannot control someone else’s actions no matter how detrimental they are. I am fortunate enough to have moved out now, but my mums drinking continues to cause me anxiety and stress. I have learnt to be more confident to set boundaries with my mum e.g. I will not go out anywhere with you if you are drunk/If I come to visit you and you are drunk I will leave. She will deny ever being drunk, but I know when she has had one drink and I will stick to my promise and leave. I feel like she has started to respect some of these boundaries after a long time, but it has not stopped her drinking it just means that 7/10 she will not have a drink before she sees me.

I think it is really important to know when you need to take a step back to make sure that you parents drinking does not completely consume you. Do you mind me asking you how old you are?

My Al-anon group was very much the same but I found that even so, a lot of the difficulties were the same no matter what the relationship. There are also a lot of resources from children of alcoholics on the NACOA website.

Sending you lots of love, this is not an easy thing to deal with x

Lockettx in reply to AlexJ91

Hi thanks for your message. Yes I have moved out she's pushed me out so she can drink without mee watching and making everyone she drinks with feel uncomfortable but I'm just consumed with guilt that she's doing it more in my absence and if anything happens I will feel 100% guilty for allowing her to drink more by me not being there. Since her diagnosis I will not be around her when she drinks or when I know she's been drinking and to be honest we have made some head way for the first time ever we came to a comprimisation for a family celebration. She didn't drink for the first few hours stayed on her non alcoholic drinks and then by 9.30pm she told mee was gonna start and I left. That was suchhhhh a massive step. As usually even when drink is mentioned the backs up she's on the defense and its an argument. I have other family circumstance s which makes me leaving and not being around more difficult. I left the home about 4/6 weeks ago and I know for a fact she's been drinking more since. Deffo true about the Al anon they have helped me a lot and so reassuring to hear stories situations and know it's alcohol it has the same effect on everyone. I'm in my late 20s. How long has your mum had cirroris for? Does she deny that she's ill?

Laura009 in reply to Lockettx

You could also contact NACOA. They offer help and support to children ( of any age) who have alcoholic parents. 0800 358 3456


Lockettx in reply to Laura009

Thank you so much x

Laura009 in reply to Lockettx

You're so welcome. I know how tough it is for you. Keep us updated here we will all support you through this too.

L xx

This is a horrible situation I was transplanted 3 years ago but I stopped drinking 16 years ago get her to talk to transplant patients she might just see sense hopefully it's not pleasant to have one good luck

Hi. I am going for a liver scan today. I have been diagnosed with hepatitis C recently ( total shock). I have never used drugs but I know I drink too much! My husband dosnt think my drinking is excessive compared with a lot of people we know. Could you tell me please, roughly the amount of alcohol that your partner would drink on regular basis. I’m just trying to compare. Thanks


Lockettx in reply to Ruby1960

Hi its my mum and she has always been a heavy drinker. She was diagnosed with Hep C and then cirroris I don't want to alarm you but Hep C can cause cirroris. She is convinced that's what caused her cirroris and not the drinking. She did take trial drugs and is now free of Hep C now so it is curable but drinking will cause further damage she stopped for a year after her Hep C medication and diagnosis of cirroris and her liver count did improve. People and alcohol differ you can't pin point an amount of drinking on liver damage everyone is different and their bodies. Best of luck with your appointment but Deffo try and cut the booze out its not worth the damage it causes you only have one liver and its the most hard working organ in the body xx

Ruby1960 in reply to Lockettx

Thank you. I have been told I have a fatty liver at the moment (after a scan 3 weeks ago). Not sure why I am having another scan, but I know they are going to start me on treatment for the Hep C. Good luck.

Hi lockettx....I can empathise with you all the hubby is a drinker,(was heavy but not as much now because he cant tolerate it),, Hes got all the symptoms of cirrhosis but not been diagnosed with it,anyway long story so wont bore you..Unfortunatly once an alcoholic is determind to drink there is nothing you can do, going on at them makes it worse, i have learnt to just let hubby get on with it, hes just like your mum, in total denial of the truth of whats happening to their organs, As hard as it is to watch a loved one slowy killing themselves you have to take care of yourself. I know some on here and some have mentioned that it took them to get to rock bottom to realise how bad the situation was and they have given up the booze, some as your mum believe the drs dont know what they are talking about. I hope that your mum gets to the point of where she realises what she is doing to herself and you and all those who love her. One thing you will find is alot of support on this forum...Take care.

Lockettx in reply to lyn3

Thank you. We'll she doesn't drink like she used to she was an alcoholic hence the Hep C and cirroris since she's been diagnosed she doesn't drink like she used to but she is still getting pissed every weekend and during the week now it's more social now but since her diagnosis my feelings have changed dramatically I used to let her get on with it now I feel like I can't. I need to learn to accept it stop feeling so responsible but I just can't seem to do it. Just constant rows arguments and bad feeling and I hate myself for it because I think if anything was to happen I've wasted the last few years just causing and having rows about it

lyn3 in reply to Lockettx

Hi, How are you feeling this morning.? Unfortunatly as everyone will agree it dont matter how much your mum is drinking now, she has cirrhosis and any drink consumed (even if was just one pint) is taking her slowly to her death bed. Your saying she is getting pissed, she must be drinking an aweful lot to be like that. Yes You will feel guilty when something happens to your mum for the rows ,and feeling guilty after a parent passes is one of the hardest things to deal with apart from the grief, as i told my hubby, he is not my responsibility anymore, im there for him if and when he needs me, i take care of him, but as far as raising that glass to his lips thats his responsibility, he is a grown man,and thats the same as your mum,she is a grown woman and is responsible for her actions,Yes its hard to step back and not be able to do anything (other than lock her in a room ) but its really not worth the arguing, you are going to make yourself ill. . Sadly if your mum continues the way she is she wont be around much longer, sorry to be a bearer of bad news, and dieing from liver failure is a aweful. My hubbys freind was diagnosed with cirrhosis 6 months ago, he continued to drink, he is currently at the hospital on a ventilator and having fluid drained off his stomach every day. My mum was an alcoholic and wouldnt listen to anyone either, she died an aweful death, before she died she was bloated,on oxygen, in agony because all her organs were failing slowly, she died in so much pain. Im sorry if that is upsetting but you need to be prepared , its one thing the drs dont tell you about. Sadly alcoholics are very selfish individuals. As someone whos going through what your going through take my advice ,dont let your mum be your priority, dont let your mum be all your life is. Im not saying dont be there for her etc, what im saying is let her get on with what she is doing, all your going on at her, rowing with her, upset with her isnt going to stop her from drinking. She will get to the stage where she wont be able to tolerate the drink. My hubby has gone from drinking ltr of vodka and between 8 and 12 pints a day to no pints and only a small amount of whiskey , because he is either too ill to drink or his body cant tolerate it anymore. Take care. here if you need to talk.


Hi Lockettx

Dogbot here Ash has just about said it I really don’t think there is much more to be added except for my very best wishes to you and hope you are strong enough to stay with it because my wife stayed with it and we have a wonderful life together now but for the medical problems I have brought on her.

But I will say she does prefer to help me with medical problems than drinking problems, Stay Strong 💪🏽 😃.

Like everyone else I will always talk if needed 👍😀.

Stay Safe All

Dogbot 🐶🌈

Hi, I started late in the drinking world, after loosing my wife and daughter my only friend I thought was Jim Bean, alot of Jim.

The doctor gave my the good newd and I thought my only option was to finish the job. One day I collapsed and taken to hospital and by a miracle was given a transplant.

I had a good 10 years to understand how much I had hurt people and myself. In 2018 I was taken back into hospital with confusion then coma, I had a blocked Portal Vain which caused HE. I am alive but it has ruined my life with my partner etc. And will probably have the treat of HE for the rest of my life.

What I am trying to say is, if your friend thinks it will be OK it will not, if she thinks a transplant will sort it and life will go on, it will not. She could end up like me half the person I was, living in daily fear, forever.

Then she may feel a drink just was not worth it.

To late.

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