Cirrhosis, alcohol misuse and recovery. - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Cirrhosis, alcohol misuse and recovery.

I’m new to this forum and finding it fascinating and extremely helpful. I’m overwhelmed by the knowledgable answers to pretty much anything liver related. I won’t go into a huge amount of detail, but I was diagnosed with cirrhosis in March 2021. I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and sepsis, but also had a number of ,what I now know, were the red flag signs of a struggling liver. I’d been ill for a number of weeks, struggling to breath, very weak, not eating. I thought I had Covid! My family persuaded my then partner to call an ambulance. The crew took one look at me and said I was coming into hospital. I was pretty sick, had lost a lot of blood, and by then was turning yellow. Large tummy and even larger ankles meant I was immobile. I went through all the usual tests and I was told I had cirrhosis and that my liver was struggling. To cut a long story short I was treated by some fabulous doctors and nurses and by week three in hospital was recovering. Discharge plans were being drawn up and it was then my partner told me he wouldn’t let me come home to our jointly owned home and that our 11 year relationship was over. I remember being devastated. The whole experience in hospital was enough for me to completely abstain. I haven’t touched any alcohol since March - over 6 months now. I feel like I’ve had an out of body experience where none of the things were really happening to me. I’ve had some counselling support which has been helpful, but I vowed to myself that I never wanted to be in that situation again. So stopped. I’ve done everything my doctors have told me to do, eaten well, exercised (when I was mobile enough again), taken my medication, and flagged when I was concerned about anything. My family have been fabulous and haven’t judged. The upshot is an improving picture with normal bloods, 2 grade 1 varicies with no red flags of bleeding, and a consultant who is pleased with my progress. My alcohol misuse that caused this, crept up slowly on me, I drank a lot of wine but in the 11 years I was with my partner, 9 of them were with me working in a stressful career and bringing up his kids from his first marriage. It was pretty full on. Then 2 years ago I lost my job, and shortly afterwards we went into lockdown and that’s when my alcohol consumption rocketed. I’d lost all sense of structure. I’d taken a package with work and paid off my side of the mortgage. I’d worked hard all my life but I felt rudderless. The bottle became my crutch - albeit a very wobbly and rotten one! I don’t suppose being with me like that was much fun. Most days I started drinking at lunchtime and went through into the evening. I did manage to cook dinner until about 3 weeks before being admitted to hospital and had managed to keep the house running with the help of a cleaner and supermarket deliveries. I’d even managed to do a lockdown Xmas. So I wasn’t completely out of it, but I was lost, including to myself. In the end I was discharged home from hospital and on the day I arrived home he had left a few hours before. He has forced me to put the house on the market and we’ve now sold so I’m having to move home too. He won’t talk to me, only communicates via email and then only about the house sale. I don’t know if anyone else has been through this. I’ve got back on my feet but am struggling to find answers to what’s happened. Some wise words would really help me.

22 Replies

On the basis of your post - wow! You're so strong to have dealt with so much and not drink. I admire you very much. As well as the physical challenges before diagnosis, after diagnosis and since my time in hospital (September 2018) and since I've also had to come to terms - still am in a way - with all that happened. It is still very painful at times for me to think about the summer of 2018 when my physical health deteriorated rapidly and my admission to A&E on September 5th where I nearly died and was diagnosed with cirrhosis. However this was when my life began anew.

I was nine months sober I started to talk with someone at a local recovery organisation - a trained member of staff who was also an ex-problem drinker. He didn't know much about liver disease but he did (and does) know a lot about the multitude of issues that can contribute to a person developing a drink problem beyond being selfish, self-centred, not caring or having a reckless attitude towards life. He helped me a lot as did attending relapse prevention groups and later "Moving on in my Recovery" groups.

Obviously I don't want to pry but would ask if you've spoken to anyone who knows the score beyond medical professionals? I don't relate 100 per cent to everything someone else "in recovery" says just like I don't relate 100 per cent to every other person with Alcohol-related liver disease but interacting with similar people in a safe environment has helped me a lot.

in reply to Phil_1972

Thanks. I was discharged with support from an alcohol support worker. I have found this helpful. The difficulty I have is that I’m moving area to be closer to my family when I move so don’t want to do too much more until that move has happened. I will link into local groups when I’ve done that.

Trust1 profile image

Dear Yewtree,

Welcome to our forum.

Thank you for sharing your story. You have done so incredibly well to stop drinking alcohol.

We hope that other members will come along and comment here and that you will find our forum a supportive place to visit.

Best wishes.

Bless you Yewtree. You are doing remarkably well and should be proud of yourself. We all have our own personal story and at a time when you could have done with support from your Partner he decided to leave you. In my opinion it's his loss, let him go and concentrate on yourself and your health. It's not an easy road with Cirrhosis, lots of ups and downs, but I'm 9 years on and am doing ok. My advice would be to get your house move out of the way and then look forward to a healthier and happier future. Take care

Positive001 profile image
Positive001 in reply to Oscar21

Hi Oscar. l agree with everything you have said, however, in the same way as drinkers, heavy drinkers, alcohol dependants and alcoholics don't want to be " judged," l don't think its fair to judge partners who can not cope with living with them and choose to leave. I know from my own experience and from reading posts from many others who are and have been in the same position, how utterly unbearable it is to live with, even more so when children are witnessing a parent's drunken behaviour and stubborness, when it comes to trying to make them seek help.

I would never take away any credit from those who have been completely addicted to alcohol and managed to give it up especially when severe liver disease is also being battled. But just spare a thought for the partners who unwittingly become their carers and put their optimistic futures on hold, then discover they just can't cope with running them to constant doc and hospital appointments, checking the house for hidden booze, having to work stupid hours because they suddenly become the only breadwinner, cleaning up their partners vomit, blood and other vile bodily excretions on a regular basis.

Just wanted to point that out.

Thanks. Laura x

Oscar21 profile image
Oscar21 in reply to Positive001

I'm not judging anyone Laura, no way and I now see Yewtree has gone 'Hidden'. I fully appreciate your comments. It's not an easy path for the person who has drank too much or their Partner. However, like I pointed out in my initial post, we all have our personal stories and we all have to live and cope the best way we can.Yewtree has to cope with the fact her Partner has left her, maybe at a time when she could have done with the emotional support, however I'm certainly not going to get into a discussion regarding this as it's not my story to tell. Take care Laura. And I hope you are the 'old Laura with a new name' lol. Because you give very good advice and support

Positive001 profile image
Positive001 in reply to Oscar21

Hi Oscar. Thanks as l said fully agree and fully appreciate and understand what you said in your reply to yewtree. Yes it is me.... 'old Laura' 🤣

Thanks very much ... very kind of you xx

Oscar21 profile image
Oscar21 in reply to Positive001

Hooray!!!. Thanks goodness you are back. You have been missed. You give very good advice from a different angle

Positive001 profile image
Positive001 in reply to Oscar21

We really ought to throw a party you know 🤣Thanks again xx

Im up for that laura! 😂🎉

Hubby’s out of hospital and first day he was ok ish but it’s only been 3 days and he’s really nasty again. Of course he’s drinking again so I put it down to HE. Can HE really happen so quickly?

Sadly yes ! x

Aww really so sorry to hear that, yes it can come on quite quickly im afraid its a terrible thing, does he take lactose?

Me too and thanks to all of you for your support x

Thank you for your kind words.

Hi YewTree. Well done. Your story goes to show just how difficult it is for partners to live with someone who drinks way more than they should and whenever a crisis hits. So the fact that you are now without him, you are doing incredibly well with the support of your family around you. Stay strong, away from the booze and move on with positivity.

All the very best to you.


Thankyou for your kind words.

Don't beat yourself up you have been deserted at a very crucial time in your life. It's isn't your fault. People get deserted for all kinds of reasons, MS, ME. cancer just to name a few. It's says more about their character than the one who is left.

Well done!

Don't listen to all the comments,be proud!

Take care

Hi Hidden, sending big hugs, you are doing amazing well in the present circumstances, you have not only been extremely unwell. Kicked a habit of alcohol, I'm proud of you, I certainly know how hard your journey has been so far. I am now coming up to 12 months alcohol free, Onwards and upwards, new home new beginnings, I wish you all the best. Take care x

Hi there,You are doing extremely well, you should be extremely proud of yourself! Well done, you’ve certainly had a lot to deal with and you’re moving forward.

I have found this forum very supportive in helping my husband, and support for myself too.

You’ve probably seen some of my posts.

It’s not easy for partners of those who drink, and I was at the point of something has to give or I’m done, this was two months before my husband was admitted to hospital, it has really been a huge wake up call for him, he was told by his consultant he was very lucky to make it home.

He’s now been alcohol free and in recovery for 16 months, it’s hard purely because he’s so unwell, so I’ve took over everything, and I mean everything, from sorting appointments, and taking him to them,to ordering meds, keeping the house running, paying bills, and working full time.

Keep going, keep going forward, we can’t change the past, but we can change our future.

I also admire people that tell others they are in recovery, that it itself is good.

Well done, take care xx

Hello 'hidden ' i think all of us alcoholics/ drinkers either deny or don't realise that drinking isn't a problem until a health problem arises or a fiancial problem hits home , or we just take our eye of the ball in life in general. How many of us actually read the units on the back of a bottle, and then get another bottle, or skip the occasional meal, certain things, every drinker has a sliding scale, and all of us on this forum who have been drinkers including myself have been there, and have different levels, and have hit a different 'rock bottoms ' as so to speak.

But, you have come through, and I am so pleased 😀, a new life beckons, yes, you might start looking back and have moments of anger, or frustration, and thinking why did I let the drink get a hold of me, however, move on, guilt will only consume your brain with moments of anxiety, and the what 'ifs' scenario, you are now in control of your new lifestyle.

Grab hold of it, enjoy it,bit by bit a new person will evolve from this process, and yes you'll like yourself even better, and the outer body feelings that you had , will be nothing compared to your new future waiting ahead, its a weight lifted from your shoulders, your health will gradually improve, and then your mindset will follow, I had many years of being stuck with alcohol and PTSD problems, and I'm nearly 10 years sober, and I want to see you giving out advice in ten years time on this forum, keep up the fantastic work, well done 👏😇

Dont keep thinking of what happened think of what's ahead of you your just turning the page into a new chapter of your life your life began again when you stopped drinking 6 months ago well done because I've been there and know how hard it is I've fallen down a few times myself but if your struggling talk to someone find an AA meeting theres some great people there get a sponsor to help you through I know it's not for everyone I haven't made that step yet either my Dad was in it 33 years before he died and my uncle was in it before my dad Godbless them both and my brother has been in it for 10 years now 10 years sober and he has great friends who I admire even some of them where my dads friends to be honest I still struggle but we are all good people just trying to find the best way to live your new life started the day you decided to stop drinking Godbless you and goodluck for the future.

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