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Clare’s story

Clare’s story

I really liked the taste of alcohol, and enjoyed it.  Like many people I drank socially – but I do admit I drank every day. I only wish I’d known what it was doing to me then!

I was working full time and a single mum. So after work it was wine o’clock, my treat after a hard day – and it made me feel good.

I started to feel ill – just tired at first – no energy – so I’d pour myself a drink just to make myself feel better. It perked me up but I wasn’t to know that ‘the perk’ was only temporary. Then I became much worse. Looking back, I can’t believe how quickly my liver failure came on. Liver disease has no symptoms in the early stages – within a week my life had changed. I ended up in A&E, taken straight through to resus where my husband was told that I literally had days to live and that I had advanced liver disease.

I only wish I had known the damage that drinking was doing to me. I know I’m extremely lucky to be alive. I also learning that my life will never be the same again but it’s hard. This chronic disease has disabled me. I am on medication for life, regular blood tests, and appointments. I feel constantly tired and wiped out. A recent CTT scan has shown shrinkage in my brain. The alcohol has destroyed brain cells and my memory will never recover.  I feel I’m constantly sitting on the fence and live life from day to day – I know I could get worse again at any moment.

I nearly lost everything – my career, my home, my family. I ended up divorced and my children now have to live with their dad. Every day at 3.15, I’m aware that the door does not go and my boys don't come bursting through the door ready to tell me about their day. It honestly breaks my heart.

I’d urge everyone to do Dry January. Stopping for a month can help you realise the harm that alcohol is doing to you and put you on track for a healthier lifestyle. Don’t be like me and wait until you have serious problems. If you are going to do Dry January, please raise money for the British Liver Trust – either by getting sponsorship or donating the money you usually spend on alcohol. It’s a small charity but its helpline, information and support have been a lifeline for me. If this has got you thinking please don’t hesitate to give the British Liver Trust a call – they are fantastic.

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