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Alcohol support

Cut back from 8-9 bottles of wine per week to one ..

51 replies

illraiseya · 16/01/2023 10:07

When should I see and feel a physical change.
It's been three weeks.
I drank to that extent for three years as I wanted to bury pain. The pain ironically has dissipated as I got rid of miserable and negative partner and am letting emotions flow through ne rather than drown them out temporarily.
I'm trying to focus on my physical health and appearance now. Thepsychological side is being taken care of with support but I know that a physical change would give me great motivation to continue.
I don't feel withdrawals and I don't miss the alcohol or the feelings it gave me.

When drinking I slept like a log and woke up relatively fresh. I was definitely sluggish at work and not firing 100% on all cyclinders. That's improved so much.

My mood is the same although I'm less needy and anxious if I'd drunk a huge amount the night before .

My eyes were slitty, my face puffy and blotchy sometimes and I had this enormous swollen belly relative to the rest of my body. I also had discomfort under my right rib cage. My calves were also regularly swollen.
That discomfort is gone and my belly isn't as swollen but I still looked wrecked as I don't sleep as well anymore . I've started to really up my skincare and water intake.

I go to bed early, drink enough water but definitely wake a few times per night and my last hour or two of sleep is so light, I feel like I'm just dozing.

So when will I stay to feel like myself or look like myself again.
I feel like I'm hiding under layers of puffiness and tiredness.

Thanks for reading and all the very best to those who are doing their best to control their alcohol situation, whatever that may be.

OP posts:
anewlifestarts · 16/01/2023 13:04

I stopped drinking in September and I realised around December I suddenly felt so much more energetic and healthy. I was sleeping through full nights and waking feeling revitalised so I'd say around 2-3 months to really feel the difference.

Whichwhatnow · 16/01/2023 13:09

OP I really don't mean to scare you but please ask your GP for a liver function test. The swelling in your stomach and lower legs is very probably ascites and oedema. The pain under your right rib cage is where your liver is. These are indications that your liver has been damaged - the swelling and pain are usually indicative of alcoholic hepatitis and/or cirrhosis but this will need to be assessed via a scan and blood tests. It could be that you have already damaged your liver to a point that is not fully reversible - it is great that your liver is no longer sore but if the damage has progressed too far (i.e. beyond fatty liver) it may be that you need to cut back even more. T

here are other steps that you can take to improve some of your symptoms (e.g. diuretics for the swelling, Thiamine supplements) and changes you can make to your diet (reducing salt, upping healthy carbs and water) that can help - your GP can advise you and can ensure that you're reducing your consumption in a way that is both safe and realistically achievable. The liver is remarkably good at restoring itself but just cutting back is not always enough.

Again, really not trying to scare you (or to take away from how well you're doing already!) but these are things that I wish I had known and taken action on at a far earlier stage. Feel free to PM me x

Bluetrews25 · 16/01/2023 13:21

If you drank at that level, but are insisting on keeping one bottle a week, bear in mind your consumption will creep up again. (Special occasion, had a bad day, something to celebrate)
I've seen it happen with my (late) MIL ('I'm not an alcoholic any more' who died of alcoholic liver disease in spite of her protestations)
It's ....interesting.....that you say you don't miss it, yet you won't give it up.

How about seeing your GP to check your liver function?
And then maybe some proper help?

Forgive me, but you sound like 'I can give up any time I want to' is on the tip of your tongue.

illraiseya · 16/01/2023 13:26

I don't mean to come across as smug if indeed I am.
I simply don't want to give it up entirely . I do enjoy it but what happened was , over the last few years is , I was drinking to get drunk to bury horrible feelings.
I love the buzz of being out with friends. I enjoy the buzz it gives me but it had turned into something nasty and sinister. I
Used as a way to forget rather than enjoy it and relax .

OP posts:
Chickenvoicesinmyhead · 16/01/2023 13:31

Fantastically well done! Amazing achievement so far.

I would back up your good work with a GP check as your liver was clearly begging for mercy.

They will run some tests to make sure everything is functioning well. Are you still swollen in your legs?

One added bonus of what you are doing is how much money you will be saving!

illraiseya · 16/01/2023 13:36

I had an abdominal ultrasound recently and the scan of the liver was normal presentation whatever that means.
I had LFTs taken and the GGT level was just above the norm but I had had a bottle and a half of f wine per night for the previous month or so, including the night before. All other
I have to go back to the DR for repeat blood tests in a few weeks so I expect that the results will be much better .
I haven't had swelling in legs in months... that's always to do with the quantity and
Volume of alcohol eg of it was beer instead of wine. And my tummy area is now flat . So this is where I am at health wise atm

OP posts:
millymog11 · 16/01/2023 13:40

OP everyone is different but in answer to your question "So when will I stay to feel like myself or look like myself again.
I feel like I'm hiding under layers of puffiness and tiredness."
I would say you need at least 3 months of zero alcohol to really feel a dramatic physical change (eg adjusted and restored sleep patterns, day time alertness).
3 months also seems to be the tipping point where your thought patterns do not revert to "wineo'clock" on auto pilot like mine did.
Also (not to be discouraging, if anything i send you my encouragement, keep going!) I would say it is easier just to totally give up than to limit yourself to 1 bottle per week. Good luck x

ShimmeringShirts · 16/01/2023 13:57

I’ve no experience or advice but I wanted to say bloody well done. You should be massively proud of yourself and I really hope you start seeing a change soon Flowers

babsanderson · 16/01/2023 14:07

The liver takes up to 30 days to fully regenerate. You shed your outer layer of skin every 4 weeks.
But some things do take longer than this.

smileladiesplease · 16/01/2023 15:41

Bloody well done op keep going. Lots of water and get out into the fresh air or swimming if you can. You are doing a fantastic thing for you snd yours. Flowers

OnMyWayToSenility · 16/01/2023 15:49

Magnesium is good for sleep, alcohol does deplete this.
well done for reducing your wine intake! Brave to admit and do something about.

Whichwhatnow · 16/01/2023 16:05

OP just to balance out my previous response (apologies if this sounded negative!) it does sound like you're doing really well. It's great that your bloating and the pain have subsided. Did the bloods you have done test for bilirubin levels? I believe they would have done if you had your GGT measured but it's worth checking with your GP and asking for a specific liver function test and possibly a fibrosis scan (rather than just a general abdominal ultrasound). I have found that levels of understanding amongst GPs in particular vary massively regarding liver issues (understandable as they are by their nature generalists, but it would be good to have your liver health reaffirmed by a consultant). For example my friend was told by a GP that his symptoms meant he had decompensated liver cirrhosis (which basically means irreversible damage and probable imminent death without a transplant - not what you want to hear!) but the liver consultant he was then referred to said that this was not true at all.

I would suggest attempting a couple of weeks (or more) of total abstinence to 'reset' your liver function - this is what is usually recommended for fatty liver in order to regenerate. When I stopped drinking it took me over a month to really see and feel the health benefits - in the shorter term I had terrible trouble sleeping (so bags under eyes and sluggishness), bad skin, constant anxiety, depression and irritability and major sugar cravings. After about a month I started to sleep properly and eat more healthily and got a lot of compliments on how much better I was looking.

illraiseya · 16/01/2023 16:12

Thanks@Whichwhatnow . I appreciate all comments.
I'm back to have LFTs done again soon.
I know my bilirubin ws low after I asked specifically about it because I had hep A twice when I was younger so it was extremely high then naturally so I've always taken milk thistle and b complex. I also take a multivit and magnesium so am trying to support my body as much as possible at the moment.
I will certainly ask for that it f the blood results are off or maybe I Should ask anyway? If it takes 30 days for the liver to regenerate as best it can, then maybe I should give it that time without alcohol and see then if repeat bloods and a possible scan would be the best course of action?
I feel relatively good but look wrecked! I need to drink a lot more water anyway so it's no harm to up that intake and watch my nutrition also.

OP posts:
Chickenvoicesinmyhead · 16/01/2023 16:17

Great stuff! I would ask anyway .

And yes to go without completely to achieve an absolutely realistic overview of your health.

No wonder you feel like you look wrecked, your body is expelling all those toxins. You'll be glowing in no time!

Chickenvoicesinmyhead · 16/01/2023 16:19

P.S what a journey you have been on. Really inspirational 👏

illraiseya · 16/01/2023 16:29

Tbh once I'd figured out the root of my deep unhappiness and need to blot out my life temporarily, it wasn't that hard. What has been hard is filling that time and breaking the habit of sitting in my favourite seat with my glass and my snacks at a specific time of day.
I've almost replaced that laundry 🤣
In a serious note though, focusing in my own health and vanity of you want to call it that is a good driver.
I used to get embarrassed at the way I looked going into work when my eyes would be slits and my face bloated and blotchy.
No amount of make up or concealer could hide that and I was self conscious.
I knew my colleagues used to look sideways at me and because they knew I had so much going on in my personal life, we're quite worried. They are friends more than colleagues.
I am definitely more energetic at work and not procrastinating as much so that's a win to start.
And I'm now single , and while not looking for anyone specifically , I would still like to look my best.

OP posts:
bellalou1234 · 16/01/2023 16:32

Well done that's an amazing achievement

tulips27 · 16/01/2023 16:41

Sometimes we don't see changes ourselves because we're looking the mirror everyday. You probably have already started looking better without realising it. Probably one day you'll run into someone you haven't seen for a while and they'll say how good you're looking, then you'll know.

illraiseya · 16/01/2023 16:48

Had anyone heard anything about intermittent fasting being good to give your body a break from all toxins , including the liver. It makes total sense so may be worth a try even for those of us who still drink alcohol albeit a lot less that they used to ?
The weight loss will of course be another positive if that happens

OP posts:
WendyB85 · 16/01/2023 16:59

I'm doing Dry January with hopes to cut out pretty much all alcohol long term. I was drinking a few glasses of wine pretty much every night and since my 20s i have generally abused the stuff too way much (bar work and partying). I'm now fed up. I remember how clear my head was during my 2 (alcohol free) pregnancies and i want that all the time. I was expecting to feel much healthier even after a couple of weeks but I'm just exhausted, like totally drained 😫 Anyone else have this?

hamstersarse · 16/01/2023 17:12

I don't drink that much but maybe twice a week.

I gave up for 8 weeks last year, had no booze at all and I think it was at least 4 weeks before I felt the switch dial up a bit and my energy levels markedly improved.

I do think it is hard to maintain though if you keep some alcohol in your life as the inevitable drift starts to happen - invite out on a Friday, meet up on a find yourself somehow slipping down that slope despite your best intentions. I can see why alcohol is for many, all or nothing

Peridot1 · 17/01/2023 09:25

I have known a few people who didn’t want to give up completely decided not to drink at home. Especially when alone. They only drink when out socially. Or if they have friends over.

DH and I have always drunk at home and if he was out or away I would still have a few glasses of wine. At one point he was away for two or three nights every week so I decided that that was a good opportunity not to drink. So I stopped drinking alone. Unfortunately he is now retired and here all the time so I’m finding that a lot harder.

rogueone · 17/01/2023 09:35

I am on another thread about alcohol.

for me by the end I could throw back two bottles of wine a night. It built up over three years and this when my DH got a cancer diagnosis. It was a struggle but he became horrible and life as we knew it changed beyond belief. He has become a grumpy, critical man and due to a number of complications from treatment he is now registered disabled so at 50 we no longer have any intimacy at all, he can barely walk anywhere , doesn’t eat as he has a peg feed. So eating out is a no, he doesn’t drink alcohol at all and it is quite miserable . I used alcohol to deal with it or avoid the reality . So after becoming an angry drunk I stopped on the 3rd January. I have stayed strong and lost 4 pounds so far. I exercise everyday, take the dog out when I would usually be cracking over the wine. I know my sleep will be affected so I just go to bed early and rest my eyes when I wake up during the night. I am not sure reducing to one bottle is going to help at this stage- I am stopping for 5 weeks and trying to reframe my attitude to alcohol and have a night out booked in February. I cancelled all my engagements as I know I need to stop for a while to get over the dependence. Change habits and don’t drink in the house. I still buy wine every week and it’s on the wine rack. I feel so much better, I do get tired early but I feel good, I am more productive at work and better in the house. Good luck with it all

Greatly · 17/01/2023 09:37

Please get your liver checked OP x

Greatly · 17/01/2023 09:38

I've done dry January many times and normally feel better in the final week!

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