Drinking every day for past 2 years, worried about liver health and how to stop

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I am new to this (or any other) forum so not sure how much to write. I am a 34 year old, am very active (I run 10k every day along with other exercise) and hold a high-paced job in financial services. I have always enjoyed a glass of wine several times/week, but for the past 2 years I've been drinking almost every day (I've had maybe 10 alcohol-free days since 2014). My worry is that my daily intake has steadily increased from 1/3 bottle of wine per night to almost 1 bottle. Along with very heavy drinking when I go on holiday (2+ bottles of wine per day). In the past I would give drink a miss for a few days after a heavy drinking day, but I can't do even that now. I now probably go through 35-40 units every week, with no rest days.

I am very worried about killing my liver, since I am very thin and light so I probably can't absorb as much alcohol as someone larger. I've had liver function tests but am well aware that they won't show anything until too late.

I need some advice on strategies to cut down (not give up - ideally I'd like to be able to have 2-3 alcohol free days a week). And I need some professional reassurance on whether my drinking last 2 years is in the high risk category to cause permanent damage.

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21 Replies

  • Posted

    Dave, many people find it impossible to go from daily heavy drinking to more controlled consumption. This is why the world is dominated by abstinence-based treatment programmes. However, one way it can be done is with medical assistance using The Sinclair Method. Many people have successfully used this method to drink far less frequently than a few days a week. It is a medical treatment, not a talking therapy or behaviour-based programme.

    You can see some information about this method at:

    http://patient.info/health/sinclair-method-for-alcohol-use-disorder

    Also Google 'The Sinclair Method' for more information.

    I am an alcohol treatment specialist. It is impossible to advise you what damage you may have done with your heavy drinking as people are built differently and some people are more vulnerable to organ damage (particularly the liver) than others. However, if you have been accurate in your estimate of how much you are drinking, it seems unlikely to me that you will have done any irreparable damage and, if you deal with the issue now, you are likely to be able to reverse any damage.

    Don't beat yourself up about it. This is a medical disorder, not a lifestyle choice and it can be treated and resolved.

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    • Posted

      Hi Paul

      many thanks for your very valuable advice and support. I have now done quite extensive reading on the Sinclair Method and it appears to tick all the boxes I needed. Sounds amost too good to be true... I have made an appointment with my GP to discuss getting onto the treatment. My only concern is, reading side effects of Nalmefene, looks like it causes drowsiness and lethargy which, if accurate, will seriously interfere with my running... However I am definitely eager to give it a go. I will post here after seeing my GP.

      Thank you again.

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    • Posted

      Do let us know what your doctor says - my doc was totally not happy about this when I discussed it with her  and had never heard of it which made me cross. 
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  • Posted

    HI Dave..great to have you here!! Welcome. Good reply from Paul who knows his stuff and a professional. My humble advice is to stop gradually since you are concerned and probably correctly so since you have no breaks from drinking as you point out yourself. Great to try for 1 or 2 days no drinking and then later 2 or 3 days and I do wish you best of luck! Robin
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  • Posted

    Hi..I'm here for support as well.

    I agree with the others that the Sinclair method would be best for someone your age and i don't think that you are ready to stop consumption totally.

    If you were ready to stop totally that would obviously be best.

    BUT...you said you want to cut down.

    As far as I know (an expert at scr*wing up)...there isn't a better method than the Sinclair for your situation/desire to consume smaller amounts.

     

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  • Posted

    Hiya dave

    first off, well done for recognising that your alcohol intake is increasing, to the point that you want to do something about it.

    theres not a lot I can really say, other than yoI've had the best possible advice from paul Turner.

    I personally haven't used TSM, but from what I've read and from people on this forum, it has the highest success rate over the more traditional ways.

    Have you had the results of your liver function tests or are you waiting for them? I don't think anyone could give you the reassurance you're looking for with regards to possible liver damage, other than your dr. You could ask for repeat blood tests, or a  liver scan. I'm no medical expert, but I've had a liver scan in the past. After waiting for what seemed ages, actually a week, the results came back as NAD (nothing abnormal discovered)

    Why not give TSM a go or research it and watch Paul's video ( I can't remember what it's called now!) but it's excellent and explains clearly what AUD is and how some people are more susceptible to alcohol than others.

    good luck, keep posting and let us know how you get on. There's lots of help and advice here and you can ask whatever you like, we are not judgemental and know and understand how you feel

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  • Posted

    Hi Dave I am not a health professional nor am I alcohol dependent. However, your pattern of drinking resembles my Husbands. Of course we are all different, but I believe the nhs reccommends that you have 2-3 clear days a week. It would appear from what you describe that you are dependent on alcohol if you cannot stop even for one day. Please seek medical help and find your nearest AA meet. After seeing my Husband so very ill with this disease and abstinence is the only way. It wont get better without help, it will definately get worse. Its not only your liver which is at risk but all of your internal organs including your brain. So sorry to preach but I do feel for you. Take care

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your words of support and advice. It is very comforting to see my woes landing on understanding and supportive ears. I have taken up Paul's advice on the Sinclair Method and arranged to see my GP. Will post here with updates on whether she agrees to sign me up on the treatment and how it goes thereafter.

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    • Posted

      Oh, we all know how you are feeling.  I so hope your doc has heard of TSM; mine has not and advised me against it.  But then she does not have a problem and at least I am being proactive and anyway I don't have much trust in her at the best of times. 

      Stick with Paul - I will if I slip - so far doing ok.

      Keep us posted, we need each  other and great you are moving forward and making a true effort - many would not.

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    • Posted

      Oh, I know smile What confuses me is how a doctor can advise a person not to do something they have never heard of and have no idea of how it works. What gives a person the right to say 'don't do that' with absolutely no idea of what 'that' is smile

      It also amazes me that it would take 5 minutes to Google it and have a quick read to see what it's about, yet many doctors (and even alcohol specialists) can't be bothered.

      I am a clinician, an alcohol specialist. I believe I have extensive knowledge but, if a person said 'have you heard of xyz treatment?' and I hadn't, my own pride would make me go and read about it so that I was never in the embarrassing position of lacking knowledge regarding that particular treatment again. Every clinician has a duty to keep up to date.

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    • Posted

      Yep well said. Sorry I misunderstood in the 1st instance, I was hoping you weren't that dumb. It seems to me, that drs dont want to support alcohol dependents. A Doctor even said to my Husband ' what do you expect me to do?' unbelievable! And they wonder why there are so many alcohol related diseases filling our hospital beds. I have mentioned the Sinclaire method to him but he is reluctant to try, as he has been dry for 8 months now. I dont know how to go about it anyway. I feel positive that our local surgery would not have a clue.

      Kind Regards

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    • Posted

      I was told by a patient of mine today that her doctor said that his hands are tied but he believes she should go ahead and do TSM with me and that he would love to have a chat with me about it because he is keen to know more. Why can't they all be like that?

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    • Posted

      That would be too easy wouldn't it? AUD must be costing the nhs millions. I wish my Husband would consider an alternative to abstinence but at the moment he wont. I know he would love to be able to drink sociallly. I can only understand so much but because I am not dependent on it and have no training I am unable to persuade him to try. Do you have any leaflets I could show him? Many thanks for your help Julieanne

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    • Posted

      There is fear involved too, JulieAnne. Many people find that if they drink at all, it results in that escalting to problematic levels again very quickly. Despite the fact that TSM makes success massively more likely and protects against that problem drinking, I understand why those who have experienced repeated relapses being nervous and reluctant.

      I'll send you some links in a private message.

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