British Liver Trust
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I am finding it difficult to cut down my consumption of wine with food. Food without wine is just not so enjoyable. I have been drinking half a bottle of wine with my evening meal for 38 years. I know this is over the recommended limit for women, but the problem is that I seem to be in good health and therefore have little motivation to cut down. My liver function tests are fine but I wonder if a fibroscan would reveal damage.

Every so often I cut down my consumption of wine but invariably revert before long to half a bottle. I am trying to cut down now but know my motivation is poor. I find it easy to control my intake of food as the evidence of over eating is so visible, but the evidence for drinking too much is hidden, apart from hangovers of course.

I am hoping to get some motivation from joining this forum.

12 Replies

You are drinking well over the suggested limits for women (21 units) at about 35 units per week. The fact that you have hangovers should be telling you this. I stopped drinking altogether on 2nd January 2011 and three months later I was diagnosed with liver cancer. I have subsequently had a successful liver transplant but the process of being on a waiting list and having major abdominal surgery is not to be recommended.

The best thing about not drinking is never waking up feeling rough. I sleep better (and less) and enjoy food more. I was concerned about missing out socially, but it has not been the case. How about trying to give up rather than cutting down: the boundary is much easier to maintain.


Thank you very much for your reply. I didn't expect to get any. I am finding it very helpful to know that people care and are willing to share their own stories.

I have managed two nights without wine, and have no intention of drinking tonight.

You have clearly had a very tough time and I wish you well.


I think that, maybe, you are worried about your lack of control concerning your drinking. My father , and men and women of his generation, have drinking patterns that would see half a bottle of wine a day, every day, as the minimum. When prompted, they would also tell of the odd beer(s) gin and tonic, " nightcap " etc . They have been doing this for 40 -50 years and have been given no incentive to cut down as they are now in their seventies and are experiencing no symptoms. You are sensible enough to realise that you might not be so lucky. Why not look at trying a month without alcohol? Keep a diary to record "pressure points " that you can reflect upon afterwards and devise strategies to cope with them. When the month is up, decide on the level of drinking you feel is safe for you and that you are able to control. If you need support with this, you know that you can find out where to get it now!

In any case I admire your spirit in discussing your worries with others.

Keep us posted :)


Thank you for your reply and interest. I think I probably belong to your parents generation. I have tried reducing my consumption many times as I have been aware of the danger and often worried about how long I could get away with it!

Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era for me and others with web sites such as this.


Hi winegalss, its hard isn't it? I used to feel exactly the same about food - better with wine, I've been completely alhocol free for neqarly two years and in my experience food tastes better adn I enjoy it more without wine. You're in an established habit and its one you can break. I find I enjoy food, and a wider range of foods more now because a meal out or a nice emaill at home really is about the food, not the booze. I found (and still do) that a glass of cold sparkling mineral water is great with a nice meal and I enjoy cheese more now becasue I always found red wine with soft cheeses or some blue cheeses creasted a horrible taste. If you're interested there is an excellent free website and community called Soberistas set up by and largely for women who are probably middle aged, middle class, outwardly successful etc who are worried aboutt heir alcohol consumption and its effects. You might find some of the posts there strike a chord with you, I find it invaluable. You're right that the liver function tests won't necessarily pick up the damage you're doing ( and you will be doing damaged because half a bottle a night is about 35 units - well over the recommended limit) and of course it isn't just the liver that suffers. Try giving up for a week and see if you notice an improvement in your mood, sleep and general brightness , chances are you'll be pleasantly surprised! Best of luck, acknowledging the issue and talking about it is a massive first step - well done! x


Hi Bigsis, your reply was very helpful. Thanks for letting me know about soberistas. I think it is brilliant and will spread the word.

Best wishes.


Having only drunk at weekends, socially or on a special occasion I was lucky when I developed AIH which was only discovered after a course of antibiotics has made me become yellow to be told no drinking was not a problem. Chocolate will always prove my will power.

A liver function test together with a liver biopsy which was not nice found the final diagnosis.

Can I suggest drinking only at weekends and a hangover is a sign you have drunk too much.

Like the other comments food does taste better and who needs drink to have fun. Having been to 3 weddings land a hen weekend last year including our sons I had a glass of champagne for the toast and an inch of wine topped up with soda water for the meal. There are a number of Liver roadshows this month across the country dates can be found on the Liver Trust website and they can do the test for you. You have made the first move by talking about your concerns. Good luck


Thank you for taking the time to reply. It is so helpful to know people can be bothered to offer advice and describe their own struggles. I am feeling quite confident at the moment but know it is early days. Best wishes.


Hi Wine,glass, I know what you mean about a glass of wine or two... with food. however after I became ill I dropped it on advise and found, like Bigsis .a glass of water just as refreshing and you know most food is improved... there' s nothing to spoil the flavour !

And the benefits to your health! I miss my glass of wine quite often but have stayed away from all alcohol .. 4 years now and I FEEL GREAT WITHOUT IT and I have found it dosn't have to spoil your social life in the least.. just say no.. and when folks ask I just say .. I don't drink.. with a smile

and if pressed I just say I don't care for it fuss, I find it avoids a situation that bores ... a former drinker preaching about the ills it has caused them.. whoa whoa is me an all that.

It is not a difficult choice at all.. best of luck

And whilst I'm at it let me wish all of you a happy and safe New year.


Thanks perry for taking the trouble to reply. This is the first time I have ever posted on a social network site and I am amazed and delighted that people care.

All this interest has really boosted my motivation.

Thanks and best wishes to you.


Interesting thread. Can you just stop buying the stuff? Obv that's easier if you either live alone or with other adults who won't bring the bottles into the house either! I found being dx with life threatening liver disease a great motivating factor and can see, if your liver function seems unimpaired, then this can make it harder to stop.Although my problem isn't due to alcohol as such, just aggravated by it. I suppose you do maybe have to take it a day at a time, congratulate yourself on each day you haven't had a drink, each time you can shop without going down the booze aisle, etc. Maybe put the money you save into a 'fund' so you can see how much you don't spend and then treat yourself to something nice but non-alcoholic. As others have said, soon you will feel the difference.


Not sure what the answer is here to the original question. I have given up booze in the short to medium term, used to love all drinks but I have found the selection of no alcoholic beers and the taste is not too bad, not so with the wine, haven't found anything yet that even resembles a good bottle of red.

Have you tried just one glass of wine and having a couple of nights off? As I have found out, you need to do something before its too late,

There is no easy answer, good luck..


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