When Kat was diagnosed with cirrhosis she gradually cut down how much alcohol she drank, before stopping completely. The effects on her health have been life changing. She's shared her story to give hope to others in a similar situation. Thank you, Kat.
Set yourself a goal and aim for it.
I'm 48 years old and in 2020 I gave up heavily drinking after 37 years. Yes, I started to dabble in alcohol from the age of 11.
In 2020 I was diagnosed with compensated cirrhosis. I was told by a specialist that I needed to stop drinking and smoking as it would kill me if I didn't. As you can imagine, I was absolutely devastated but, at the same time, so very determined to do it. I had just found out that my daughter was pregnant, so what better time to start sorting my life out.
It was very hard at first, what with the muscle seizures, the sickness, the stomach cramps but most of all, the craving. I worked with doctors on cutting the drinking down to nothing over several weeks It did help me that we went into lockdown, I must admit.
"I've lost three stone"
I had my last alcoholic drink on my birthday and I haven't looked back since. I feel better in myself because I can get up in the morning and actually function. I have lost around three stone in weight which has helped no end with blood pressure, asthma, and even my eczema. I have now even tested negative for diabetes. I get so much help from my hubby, my daughter and other family members and friends and the fact that my daughter trusts me on my own with my grandson is amazing. Before she didn't trust me on my own, let alone with a tiny baby.
I have to stick to a healthy diet, plenty of fruit and vegetables and as much exercise as my body will allow but it is great. Before I wouldn't eat for three, sometimes four, days because the alcohol was feeding me. I was a mess - I didn't care much about my appearance or my home but now I look and feel like a different person. My home is looked after and so is my husband. I pretty much disowned him for the drink which now I do feel so terrible about.
I am struggling with a lot of guilt and anxiety, whereas before, if I had a problem, I just masked it with alcohol (and it was only masking - the problems never really went away, they just got worse). I am so very lucky that my husband is a very loving and caring person who has helped me so much to get to where I am now and my family are just amazing. I also had help from friends at AA, even though I only went to meetings a few times because of the COVID lockdown.
I suppose that you really got to want to change, to stop drinking, and you definitely need some kind of help and support. Not everyone is lucky enough to have such a fantastic husband/wife or family and friends but there is help out there if you want it. You've just got to want it and work hard. Tell yourself that you can do it and, yes, there will be days when you want to give up and it hurts. But you can get through it, you can fight it and you will get to the other side. Set yourself a goal and aim for it: a holiday, a new car, or just time out because the money that you save is unbelievable and life without alcohol is amazing.
For more information about help and support available for any kind of liver disease, contact the British Liver Trust's free nurse-led helpline.