Is cutting down an answer?

Posted , 7 users are following.

My partner has been addicted to alcohol for about twenty years. Recently she decided to slow down and is now drinking a quarter of the units per day as compared to her previous amounts. Some days she drinks nothing at all and others she drinks up to four cans of 4% lager/day.

I was wondering if this is the best for her? She has done three rehabs and relapsed after all of them (immediately.)

What do people think? This was her decision and she is much happier now. So am I. Should I encourage her to try to abstain completely? Her liver is damaged.

0 likes, 7 replies

7 Replies

  • Posted

    If she has a damaged liver then she should stop drinking altogether. She may feel okay now, but the symptoms can creep up and by then, stopping is too late. I do realise that there is a big difference between saying that and achieving that.

    The reason that people relapse have rehab/detox, is that the underlying problem has not been fixed. Detoxing breaks the physical link and when the patient is actually taking the benzo (if given the correct dosage) it works on the mind in a similar way to alcohol, so it stops the brain demanding alcohol.

    Long term heavy drinking neurologically changes the mind, so that it feels out of kilter when no alcohol is present and it pretty much compels the person to drink alcohol. Pretty much in the same way that when your body signals that you are thirsty, your mind tells you to go and pour a glass of water and take a drink.

    The mind becomes neurologically changed and the only real way to stop drinking, is to take medication that resets this change. The person can then become ambivalent to alcohol and they are not fighting a mental battle all the time, to not drink, a battle which ultimately they are destined to lose.

    The two main medications are Campral and Selincro (TSM method). Campral should have been give when she was in rehab, as that is when it is most effective, when someone has just detoxed. Now that she is drinking, I would think Selincro would be best. There is a sticky at the top of the forum, which gives some details about TSM.

    • Posted

      Thank you - what you wrote was what I was thinking, except I am sure she didn't get any Campral when she was in rehab. It was fifteen years ago. Maybe Campral wasn't known about then? I have researched it but when I mention it to her she gets defensive.

      It is a tricky situation and I doubt if our GP will be of any help. Last week my partner went for a routine test and the GP (and Practice Nurse) had a real go at my OH about STILL drinking. Even though that wasn't why she had gone in the first place. We live in a tiny village and cannot change GPs.

      But thank you for your reply.

  • Posted

    First I would be proud of her for cutting down, there is nothing wrong with encouraging her to keep cutting down, but be careful that it doesn't become nagging as she may start to resent you and just go behind your back. In the grand scheme of things, 4 Cans a day is not as harmful as say half a ltr of Vodka, but it depends on how it's affecting your lives. Is her drinking stopping the pair of you from living an otherwise "normal life"? Is she putting herself/you at risk of harm? Or is it causing arguments all the Time? Are you left with money to pay bills...etc. All you can really do here is just make sure that you communicate how your feel to her and support her if she wants to change her habits or leave if you can't take much more. I hope you work it out, best of luck, AL 

    • Posted

      Thank you for your answer. In fact, our lives and relationship have improved enormously since the cut-down. My partner has been drunk only three times in four months, compared to drunk every single day this time last year.

      Our finances have improved and we don't now argue about bills.

      I have talked to her about how much I appreciate her cutting down so much and it has changed our lives very much for the better. Generally speaking we have a 'normal' life and I doubt if our neighbours know about my partner's drinking. (We moved here about six months ago and as it's a small village everyone tends to know everyone else.)

      It helps me to have somewhere to get support. Thanks for replying.

    • Posted

      Hello mac - You are a credit to yourself for caring and wanting to help so much.  Lovely quality.  My hubs has put up with me many times.  I have the problem not him.  I have drank for the last 40 years, not to excess, except for the last 2 years when anxiety and panic attacks had me grabbing more.  2 bottles of wine a day every day.  I came on here as a first step.  Good first step.  Help without being judged as a LOSER which is why I put myself into that category.  I confessed to my doc, who sympathised, had never heard of TSM, nor any of the help med wise I mentioned.  She referred me to ARC - no thanks.  I don't have liver disease (well as of last year Ultra but who knows now) slight fatty liver which the Ultra chap said, when I asked for clarification on it, he sees it in most people he scans.  I carried on drinking but had a lightbulb moment when I worried about leaving my hubs to fend on his own.  He has his own successful business and lots of contacts, but I know he would be totally lost without me.  That is what did it for me - strange, not for me but for him. 

      I have successfully, through determination, cut down very slowly from 20 units per night to 2 Monday to Friday, and now even Saturday.  Sunday is a bottle for some much needed zzzzzzzz's. 

      Your OH is doing really well credit to her - it is a real hard slog - your support is invaluable.  So very glad your lives are for the better - it is a real b***h to have an alcohol problem.

      I do agree with RHGB in that if a liver problem is present, then it should be a case of throw the booze out.  The hard facts (they are quite diplomatic on here, but if needs be, they will tell it like it is) but on other sites, they can be brutal and scare the pants off you.  That certainly put the fear in me.

      She is trying hard - and she has you.  I am sure that together, you can get through this.


    • Posted

      Thanks for your wonderfully honest reply, Gwen.

      We have moved from a big city to a small village, where we have close neighbours who see us every day. My partner's drinking has (to my surprise) been cut down by herself enormously. She feels happier here and there is a lot less stress.

      Now that she is sober almost every day our relationship has improved, too. Our GP is a nightmare. Her first comment to my OH was simply 'you're still drinking so you needn't look so pleased with yourself.'

      We had gone in for a New Patient consultation. We were excited by my OH's achievement (cutting down from 15 strong cans a day plus whisky) to only four weak cans a day and sometimes none.

      Well, you can imagine what happened. She came out very distressed and the next day got very drunk. I was shocked. I had already forgotten what she was like when drunk. That may sound odd but she was doing so well and was hoping for abstinence.

      She went to the Practice Nurse last week for a smear test and was subjected to a volley of abuse about alcohol.

      What is wrong with these people?

      Needless to say, she got drunk again.

      Therefore I cannot see Campral being offered. We are going to find out about alcohol services in the area and bypass our GP. In this village there is only the one GP.

      Yes, my partner needs to be abstinent. We both know that. For now, I am happy that she is (mostly) controlling her drinking.

      Our lives are so much better now and we are able to discuss financial matters and bills without acrimony.

      I do appreciate the responses I have had on the site. Hope your recovery contines, Gwen.

  • Posted

    Hi, don't let her give in.  Yes what is wrong with the Doctors.  They bring alcohol up all the time.  My hubs went for problems with his heel (plantar fasciitis) and the doc asked him about his drinking - he has no problems and his bloods yearly come back good!!!!???

    When I cut down and went back to her for some other issue - she briefly glossed over how I was doing on the alcohol front - I told her, very proudly, what I was down to and feeling much better.  She hardly acknowledged it.  I was cross so said "don't you think I have done well, without any intervention, just sheer willpower", she said well yes I suppose so!

    Your OH is doing really well to come down from that amount and is obviously determined.  It is long slog but she has her foot on the ladder.

    I wish you both well and keep us updated.  It is very good site with loads of help available.


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