Relationship with alcohol: Just wanted... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Relationship with alcohol

Rvmib profile image

Just wanted to say this is not a place I ever in a million years imagined myself to be . I have never drank everyday ,mainly shared a bottle with my husband at the weekend although in the last few years we started to share bottles in the week . I enjoyed cooking with glass of wine . I spoke to a friend last night telling her what I fear is around the corner whilst talking about someone who died from organ failure due to alcohol and her words were , " but she was a alcoholic for 25 years"

Nobody I know would ever had said I had an alcohol problem including my husband. I regularly been gifted wine from friends for minding cats and doing favours . Not something they would do if they thought I had a problem.

I have spent many hours with a friend who teaches a level biology at college who doesn't even want to believe that this is what I will be diagnosed with . We have meals with other mums and everyone was drinking and nobody looked at me and said do you think you should be having that ?

I had a really crappy childhood . Really crappy . My mum has a severe personality disorder and the police were at our house every weekend to try and deal with it . She woke me up nightly screaming and throwing things that was even when I was doing my A levels . Despite this I got my degree and went to uni at a time when only 10 percent of children went to university .

I suffered from depression almost straight away after leaving home and then whilst teaching insomnia and stress headaches . My brother became a heroine addict and then died from alpha1 deficiency related emphysema.

I then developed a host of illnesses, graves disease thyroid eye disease .M.E .and pancreatic insufficiency.

Perhaps I saw alcohol as a way of relieving stress ,I probably drank too quickly. Binged drank .Perhaps I had too many problems , my mum up until a few months ago would come over and spend most if the time insulting me ,demeaning me .

I Just wanted to say this to the forum as I'm really struggling . You never know what brought them here .

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20 Replies

I really empathize with you. I have Non Alcohol Cirrhosis. Like you I was a very moderate drinker but it was obviously not doing me any good !! I was not an alcoholic but at the end of the day does that really matter ?? I fear for the next generation as my children's generation seem to drink much more than we did at the same age, I would like to see more public awareness of the impact of alcohol just like the anti smoking campaigns. I have met with nothing but kindness and consideration from all the medical staff, good luck and try to stay positive.

Rvmib profile image
Rvmib in reply to Benwillfred

I would like to see more done to warn people of the dangers. My next door neighbours allow their 17 year / 18 year old son to stay outside in the back garden drinking with his friends until the early hours. It is just so accepted .

There is often a misconception as to what an alcoholic is. Many assume it is someone who has a drinking problem, while others believe it is a person who is addicted to alcohol. Our American cousins love to put labels on things. It can therefore be dangerous to wrongly label someone, as mud sticks.

I certainly had a drinking problem most of my life (that’s another story), but my sister has labelled me an alcoholic even though I have never been addicted. In her eyes, it’s only a question of time.

So, what is the difference between the two? A person with an alcohol problem, drinks because they want to. An addict drinks because they have to. Alcohol abuse can come in many forms, a person can use alcohol as a form of self-medication in an attempt to lift their mood, or even as a form of blanking out a dark episode in their life.

The link between alcohol and depression is a strong one, and many abuse alcohol this way. But there lies the danger. Alcohol in its self is a depressant and can induce a state of depression, so more alcohol is taken to lift the gloom, which makes the person even more depressed and so it goes on. After a while, a person may find they are having to drink a lot more to reach that high, and once they reach it, it no longer lasts very long.

If a person is drinking due to a traumatic experience, or a hurtful situation, then over time the real reason can become lost. The depression may still be there, but they are no longer drinking because of the original situation, but because of the depression.

The worst life lesson I ever learnt was that of the “Hair of the Dog”. This hangover cure has caused so many people to go on to develop a drinking problem.

At this point, a person still has a choice, they make that decision to have a drink. They are still in control and they can always say no.

A drinking problem can turn into an addiction. This is where a person becomes an alcoholic in the true sense of the word. Here the person is drinking because they have to, not because they want to. This is now a Mental Health condition.

What might surprise some people is that the vast majority of people who go on to develop the serious end-stage liver disease (68%) are NOT addicted to alcohol.

Many people who develop an alcohol problem can do so out of habit. Here they can adopt a certain lifestyle and visit the pub every night, or have a drink to unwind when they've finished work. This becomes a routine, and a person is now drinking not because they want to, but because it’s now 6:00pm and at six o’clock they always have a drink.

Taking a step back and understanding the reason behind the want to have that drink is the best way of getting control back.

Once a person understands the cause of their problem, the effect is no longer required.

Finally, don’t go beating yourself up. You are being brave and now you have to be strong. Be proud of yourself, tell yourself, “This is my problem, and this is what I need to do to sort it out?” Be honest and if you can, have a chat with your mother. Explain what is wrong and ask for her help and support. This isn't about blame, but about fixing something that's become damaged. People are more likely to respond to a cry for help.

These are positive thoughts. Sometimes all we can do is to draw a line in the sand and say, “That side of the line was may past. This side of the line is my future”.

If you’d prefer to talk privately, then please send a private message.

There’s nothing broken that can’t be fixed…. Positive thoughts.

Best Wishes

Richard.

My understanding of how the terms are used stateside--alcoholic in a clinical sense refers to someone who continues to drink despite suffering clear and serious consequences from alcohol (job loss, arrests, relationships, health, etc.). Essentially, one who drinks because they "have to" as you point out.

A person (alcoholic or otherwise) can also have alcohol use disorder, which simply means the person regularly consumes alcohol above a certain threshold.

For purposes of liver disease, I'm not sure any practical distinction is made here when alcohol is the cause of liver disease, and all problem drinkers will be treated as if they were alcoholics. That probably makes sense in a way, to the extent that the few available livers should not be assigned to patients who cannot commit to sobriety. Apparently some transplant centers seem to make it all but impossible to clear that hurdle, unfortunately.

That's the problem that I am having. Alcohol was my safe place. It distracted me from the raw emotions I felt inside. Getting it across that I Don't ever want to drink again....I feel like I look like a 1.5tr of vodka and not a human being.

Trust1 profile image
Trust1Administrator

Hi,

Thank you for sharing your post. We absolutely agree that nobody knows the trauma others have gone through and how alcohol affects them. We hope you are managing to get some help and support.

We were also sorry to read that your brother passed away from Alpha1. This is a genetic condition and can also affect the liver as well as lungs. You may wish to discuss testing with your GP.

Here is our link to the Alpha1 fact sheet:

britishlivertrust.org.uk/wp...

Do take care and keep us posted.

Warm wishes

Trust1

Rvmib profile image
Rvmib in reply to Trust1

Thankyou for your kind wishes

A person should never have to wait until they hit “rock bottom” or think they MAY be an alcoholic to decide if alcohol is a positive or negative in their lives.

I sounded exactly like you. Nobody would have thought that of me either. In fact, people loved when i drank. Apparently I was a “fun drunk”

I had thought about “quitting” for years. Seemed like a daunting action though. Nothing against AA but I just didn’t see myself doing it. However, I knew i wanted to change and FEEL different.

Then I read the book and listened to the podcast of “this naked mind”

It changed my WHOLE perspective and completely gave me a mind shift.

It gave me a sense of “freedom”.

I can’t recommend it more. The author is my hero.

I lost my mom a couple months ago, dealt with that sober. I am currently on vacation/holiday at the beach and haven’t had a drop.

I feel free.

Charlie-legs profile image
Charlie-legs in reply to MLB_77

Excellent xxx

Sorry to be dumb, what is a Fibroscan and what is it for?❣️🥺

It’s supposed to be a very accurate test like US but better. It tests liver stiffness. If you have confirmed cirrhosis it isn’t supposed to be offered.

🦋 eee-by-gum, well I never knew that. 👍

And thanks for that ☺️

Fibroscan is an advanced ultrasound scan which measures the amount of damage ( fat and scaring) to the liver. Along with other tests it gives an accurate diagnosis ( or not ) of cirrhosis.

Some addicted alcoholics may not have problems with their liver and some non drinkers who exersise and stuff may have liver problems. So basically there is no clear answer.... who gets it and who doesn't...

Rvmib profile image
Rvmib in reply to Elenaevent

warned that there was no strict correlation between the amount a person drinks and the risk of cirrhosis: “For every person who gets cirrhosis, there will be about five who have drunk the same amount who get no liver disease.

An extract from the standard .co.uk

DM-001 profile image
DM-001 in reply to Rvmib

that is true, only 10-20% of heavy drinkers will develop liver disease. Even some people who drink under the recommended limit will get it, its the "luck of the draw" it seems.

I personally think it’s progressive to move away from labels. Once you start labelling yourself, people start looking at you objectively, you are now what that label means to them. The term ‘alcoholic’ is loaded with negative connotations and is not reflective of the ‘grey area’ drinking culture. It’s not when, how much, what type or percentage. Whether you drank only in company or just with your pussy cat. It’s suggested you look at your relationship with alcohol. It’s when we are free from labels we are able to talk more openly about lives. I do not identify as a recovery alcoholic. I was a caterpillar and I became a butterfly. My name is Dean and I’m a human being with a story.

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to deanw41

Love it 🐛🦋

Trust9 profile image
Trust9Administrator

I am sorry your very helpful post has been 'hijacked' Rvmib .

I am closing this post to comments.

I have deleted all comments that were not linked to this thread - some for being abusive, others because they simply lost context once certain comments were deleted.

Reminder to ALL to read and abide by forum guidelines .

Trust9

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