I’m on the ‘Cliff Edge’ regarding liver - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

27,478 members13,875 posts

I’m on the ‘Cliff Edge’ regarding liver

HighfieldBoy1960 profile image

Diagnosed with alcohol related liver disease. Consultant says I am on the Cliff Edge! Advised not to drink any alcohol for two years and see where we go from there. No mention of severe disease. Just that I’m on the cliff edge. I would like to try non alcoholic beers/wines but there is little information regarding such beverages. Any advice accepted.

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.

32 Replies

The topic of non-alcohol alternatives comes up here often and always become a bit controversial.

There are several chains of thought on the top - yes they are better for you than real booze in terms of no / low alcohol content and they let you keep up appearances and MAY help you wean off booze BUT they don't break the link with booze and often people who substitute these for the real thing commonly relapse because no matter how good they are they don't ever taste the same and they don't give the same 'effect' as the real thing and so there is a tendency that as these don't 'cut it' you end up drifting back to the real thing.

Since your liver issues are alcohol related and say you were to go forward for transplant assessment these alcohol free versions of alcoholic drinks can actually debar you from transplant listing because by replacing you're alcoholic drink with one of these you aren't proving you've broken away from the culture of drinking & there is a big chance of relapse.

Here is a link to a leaflet which is given out by the substance misuse unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham regarding alcohol free drinks etc.


You'd be better looking at a complete alternative to anything that is trying to replicate your booze intake even in non-alcohol form.


Thanks Katie. I have tried Becks Blue. Apart from it tasting awful I later found out that it effects some conditions of liver issues. And it contains 0.5% alcohol so not alcohol free. For the past few weeks it’s been cold water with the occasional cup of tea. Someone mentioned 0-0 Guinness. Can’t find any info regarding compatibility to my condition. My lifestyle has been such that since the age of 10 or thereabouts I have been around beer and other booze. 14 years in the services probably didn’t help. I was could have been described as a binge drinker but could miss having a drink often. Anyway here I am, tee-total. I’m not anxious to have a pint but a good substitute wouldn’t go amiss.

Many people who have experience, will tell you switching to alcohol free substitutes will result in returning to the real thing. You will find you will be drinking the substitutes at the same time of day as before, consequently not breaking away from the drinking routine / habit, which is essential when giving up.There is a lady on this forum whose husband went alcohol free, got tempted back to cider, is drinking more now than ever so his liver and health in general is in a dire state.

Thank you Laura. It’s very early days for me. Another appointment in 12 months. I love visiting pubs, they’re a great British tradition. I am losing weight or should I say proportion rapidly. That’s enough motivation.

You know there is a whole array of fruit juices and other soft drinks available? Having already been diagnosed with liver disease, it would not be advisable to look at this as a break from alcohol but more a lifestyle change for good. Yes over the next 2 years of sobriety your liver has the ability to heal, but you start drinking again the damage will recur more severely and quickly and your struggling liver may not repair sufficiently to carry out all it's 500 functions within the body. So look at this more as your wake-up call to change your diet, drinking habits and lifestyle in general. I would hate to see you back here listing your multiple symptoms of end stage liver disease, needing a transplant but can't give up the booze. That would be a tradgedy ... all because the the pub beckons.

Look after yourself. Oh and please read Glenfabas reply re her husband and AF alternatives.


Your right laura AF is a waste of time and money, once you aquire the taste its a down hill slope, my hubby is still drinking as a result of AF he didn't get the buzz so he's back on the real stuff again, his bloodwork has come back horrendous as a result 🙈☹️

Nightmare for you isn't you ? Xx

Hey!! Non alcoholic drinks work for many people, others like my self who drank for the anti anxiety effect(makes it worse 🤦‍♂️)it’s a bit pointless and a bit ‘triggery’. I’m part of a big online Alcohol Free community, all of whom have a negative relationship with alcohol and they are often chatting about the latest AF drinks. The suggestion is too ask lots of questions about becoming AF, get connected to likeminded people. Find a community so you feel part of something and avoid isolating yourself. Going AF is the only drug you will be questioned why you not taking. It’s a big drinking world out there and that can bring pressure. Try lots of different things,hear all the advice and opinions and make your own mind up. Nobody else is you! Only you can do you right!! If you have an AF beer on a hot day in the garden,and you feel angry that you can’t have a normal one,then it’s probably not going to work for you. There’s loads of help and support out there,get and stay connected!! Best of luck.

Thank you dean. I know lots of people say this, but I wasn’t alcohol dependant. Just drank it to extremes at times. Mucks up the liver as I have found. I feel very positive that I will resist a proper beer. But would be ideal if there’s a non alcohol Guinness or something similar. If there isn’t, then so be it. Fruit juices it will be.

I believe there is non-alcoholic Guinness. I used to drink that off my Dads pints thinking it was cream. How disappointing. Yuk. 😊

You have a long history with alcohol and I'm sure that you had your fair share of fun with it. You are lucky that you still have a chance. Don't screw it up. Listen to your consultant and change your lifestyle. This may mean stopping all the trigger points including your circle of people. you may find it little tough in the beginning but then you will adjust and start enjoying things without alcohol. I'm in my thirties and I haven't had a single drop of alcohol since Oct last year. Good Luck, give your liver a chance to heal. Make healthy choices!

I cant believe I am saying this but there are always exceptions. You are so like my oldest brother…he was in a bad way, told to stop, and he did. Two years to get your health recalibrated, although it is never going to be your squaddie levels, healthy living, you never know, it may give you a whole different perspective on life. You certainly do not seem alcohol dependent. Experiment with the AF. I cant go the stuff as i drank for the escapism of alcohol and no AF is ever going to supply that. My go to now in pubs is tonic, lemon and lime. Not quite the kick of Prosecco and cider but refreshing all the same. Enjoy your break mate. My brother did. Hes now back to drinking a bottle of red each night at his local club. Hes fit again, 70 and working full time. He said the two years abstinence gave him a chance to prioritise and reflect. All the best!

Trust9 profile image
Trust9Administrator in reply to cammeag

As a charity, we would just like to point out that 'a bottle of red' a night would equate to 70 units of alcohol and well outside the government recommendation of 14 units of alcohol a week with at least 2-3 alcohol free days.


cammeag profile image
cammeag in reply to Trust9

That was not a recommendation as you can clearly see from previous posts

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to cammeag

Yes it is UK government recommendations/ guidelines that no more than 14 units per week should be consumed. 70 units per week? Yes l guess you could appear healthy on the outside and even hold down a job there are many " functioning alcoholics" out there so advocating drinking after a 2 year break probably isn't wise ?

TT-2018 profile image
TT-2018 in reply to cammeag

It reads like an endorsement.

I am behaving myself, and since reading comments on here I am no longer looking at AF beverages. I’m hoping in 1 year, 11 months and three days I can have a tipple, if the desire is still there.

I hope for the sake of your liver the desire will have gone. That little tipple will very rapidly become those binges again ..... slippery slope to serious, irreversable liver disease.

Hi, my son is a recovering alcholic. His issues are different to Liver Disease. He has been drinking Zero Alcohol Heineken for the past 2 years. The reality of a relapse is very possible, we all know that. Just the Zero Alcohol angle. Take care.

It is absolutely right that the assessment should be tough and rigid. With an addiction such as alcohol abuse, which may well have started as a habit which became out of control, causing such a life threatening disease, it is only correct that every aspect of that addicts lifestyle is proven to have changed. So to be drinking a bottle AF wine in a wine glass at 7.30pm on Fridays and 4 cans of AF Heineken in a pint glass at 8pm on Saturday, proves that the desire to drink is still there and is highly likely to continue after transplant. How insulting would that be to the family who have lost a loved one and donated their liver? The cost to the NHS? The skills and dedication of the transplant team and the follow up care? So yes it is of paramount importance that the rules are tough and to be abided by before being offered this precious gift and a second chance of life without any possibility of it being abused.

in reply to laura53923

Yes of course I agree with everything you said. You missed what I said. The gentleman I was referring to wasn’t told that he couldn’t drink alcohol free beer. He wasn’t told that it could cause a relapse or that it can also be considered in the decision making process for a potential transplant. He was told that he couldn’t drink alcohol or smoke anymore. He used alcohol free beer as a means to cope with the lifestyle change. Had he been told not to drink AF free beer he most certainly would have avoided it also. He didn’t have that information. You saying that “THE RULES SHOULD BE TOUGH AND SHOULD BE OBEYED” is all very well when you actually know the rules that are to be abided by. I don’t know if people are more aware nowadays but a few years ago my experience was that it was not.

TT-2018 profile image
TT-2018 in reply to

The issue is that they use it as a way to determine your commitment to sobriety. There is little point in going through a psychological evaluation, if you have knowledge in advance about the nature of the questions and why they ask you.

It is clearly established that using Alcohol Free substitutes is likely to increase the possibility of non compliance. The reality of the situation is that demand well exceeds supply, when we touch upon the subject of organ donation. So it’s a baseline for the evaluation to determine whether or not someone is suitable. Resources are finite and the cost of transplant is huge.

in reply to TT-2018

It may be clearly established but if you don’t know that it has been clearly established and you aren’t given the information then your not expected to know. Someone who is unaware of the risks can’t be evaluated fairly. All the fella knew was he wasn’t supposed to have alcohol so he didn’t have alcohol. I had a chat with others in my local liver support group this afternoon and they too were saying they weren’t aware of that. So clearly established or not there are people who don’t have all of the information.

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to

All respect to you Speggy !!

It is interesting as l was definitely given all the info re transplant guidelines... at least 6 months sobriety to get on the list and hubby was told when he had councelling that AF would not be an option for him should he need a transplant so he managed without that too. That was 11 years ago. But as you probably know he only survived for 3 months into being dry and by then needed a liver and kidney transplant.

Best wishes

Laura x

in reply to laura53923

Yes Laura you were given the information but we aren’t talking about you.

laura53923 profile image
laura53923 in reply to

I am merely saying it is surprising that some are giving the information of the conditions for transplant while others aren't.

Roz22 profile image
Roz22 in reply to


Roz22 profile image
Roz22 in reply to


Well the first thing is it’s going to be a tough road ahead of you, with or without substitute. I think it’s different for every person, some it helps some it doesn’t if it doesn’t you are back to drinking alcohol and that’s going to be very dangerous for you. I’m 18 years sober on the 28 September and for the first few years I would not drink the substitute, what you will find hard is breaking the habit of going to the pub and possibly changing a lot of your friends, that was hard I would find myself watching the clock . Then you find you have a lot of free time on your hands , find a hobby or something to fill it or it’s misery. Now I have given you all the bad things I took up golf ( not for everyone) and got my handicap down to 18 but to ill to play now I’m now waiting for a liver transplant so after that a new life it’s great to not waste my time in pubs and getting over hangovers. I’m going to wish you all the best in the world you will need sober friends that you can talk to, AA or another group might help.Stay Safe All

Dogbot 🐶🌈

Hello! Always amuses me when this conversation comes up.....folks often say they're sick of tea and coke......my husband and I have such fun trying different drinks out. Some are quite expensive, but never as much as alcohol!!! Always new ones coming out in the shops - get out there and experiment - enjoy the challenge. Funny how we get so rigid in our thinking without even realising🙂Take care and good luck in your new lifestyle


MLB_77 profile image
MLB_77 in reply to Ewife

I agree! I splurge on tea, sparkling water, kombucha and other probiotic drinks. Still not as expensive as alcohol and keeps me from drinking it!

A lifetime without drinking again is a daunting thought.Possibly you questioned your Dr quite a lot about IF you will ever be able to indulge again?

"Maybee in a couple of years" is not their normal response if alcohol has caused liver damage!

Put it this way.

If you were allergic to peanuts and they caused you to become ill would you try eating them again in two years?

Or would you accept your allergic to them and never eat them again.

Alcohols the same, your now allergic to it.

It will now cause damage to your poorly liver MUCH faster than it did in the past.

You don't have to give up forever either, you only need to not drink today.

Repeat often and don't look back.

Don't plan for drinking in the future.

Just for today is all it takes.

I have taken it one day at a time for 1643 days now.

Alcohol free just reminds you of what your missing.

DIEING for a pint?

No not any time soon thank you🤔

The ability to reply to this post has been turned off.

You may also like...