Old Before My Time

Following on from my comment in yesterday’s post about nursing people harmed by alcohol when they pitch up at A&E here is a documentary which aired here in the UK last October called ‘Old Before My Time’ that prompted me to write the Guardian article that you can read here.

In fact my piece was underneath a feature article following up with the young lady Jo included in this documentary about alcohol.ย  She is awaiting a liver transplant for cirrhosis and you see her having an ascitic tap performed, where they drain 23 litres from her abdomen over a 6 hour period which she has to have done every 3 weeks.ย  She was drinkingย  up to 3 bottles of wine a day for the last 5 years of her drinking career.ย  She is only 35.

This programme is a stark reminder of the danger of poisoning yourself and the damage that booze does to the body if consumed on a regular basis, whether through daily drinking or bouts of week-end only binge drinking.

This documentary mirrors my own nursing experience caring for those compromised by alcohol.

49 days to go

9 thoughts on “Old Before My Time

  1. Posts like these are a great reality check for me. When I tell people I trust that I felt I was developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol they almost always look at me as though I am crazy.
    “But you didn’t drink that much, did you?” Is the usual question that comes next.
    It’s hard to explain that – no, I didn’t drink that much, I was a bottle of wine most nights kinda gal.
    But then I was a bottle and a half a glass gal, then a bottle and a glass gal and finally a bottle and two glasses gal. I drank around a bottle a night for most of the last 10 years (barring pregnancies) but it only took me about 6 months to edge up to a bottle and a half every night and that scared me. To me that is the starkest reminder that this addiction is progressive, sneakily progressive. That poor girl didn’t start out drinking three bottles of wine a day. Her addiction progressed to the point where that was what she needed to feel the way she wanted to feel.
    I am eternally grateful that I managed to recognise those hidden rocks looming and jump overboard before the point of no return. And now to totally exhaust the analogy – sure, I floundered around in the Sobriety Sea for a while, kicking and gasping and struggling to keep my head above water, but then I remembered I knew how to swim – and I did, lol. Forgive me – it’s Sunday and i have been one on one for two days with my beautiful and exhausting little boy (or should that be buoy… oh dear). I will totally overuse this analogy by saying that sober blogs like yours are the beautiful drift wood that passes by us in Sobriety Sea from time to time and that we hang on to for a little while so we don’t have to do it all on our own.
    End of over-used analogy ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a lovely Sunday,

    1. Morning Kirst Thank you for sharing your experience ๐Ÿ™‚ As you say none of us start out drinking a bottle of wine a night and then progressing beyond that. Even the fact that a bottle of wine a night is normalised by our society (and I was a bottle of wine a night girl too) is deeply worrying. I’m happy to be driftwood in your sobriety sea ๐Ÿ˜‰ You have a lovely Sunday too with your little boy/buoy xx

      1. “Even the fact that a bottle of wine a night is normalised by our society (and I was a bottle of wine a night girl too) is deeply worrying.” Arrgh! So true!

        I catch myself all the time thinking along those lines – that a bottle a day was OK or at the uppermost limits of normal at worst. I guess because so many of my friends did/do drink that much now that it’s uncomfortable to say to anyone but a non-drinker that 8 units of alcohol a day are beyond normal.


      2. As you say a bottle a day is still 8-10 units depending on it’s ABV. You tell a liver specialist that you’re drinking 70 units a week (and let’s face it at the w/end it would be more than a bottle, say 3 over a Fri/Sat night so you’re talking 80 units) and they would be deeply concerned. At almost 6 times the recommended weekly consumption it is far beyond normal and this needs to be spelled out to the general public more starkly than it currently is!

  2. I thank God everyday that I was spared liver disease. As it is,alcohol did some wonky things to various things in my blood that are straightening out slowly. It truly is poison to some of us.

  3. I just watched the special you mentioned on YouTube. I’m in the US, so I was really glad to find it. It was heartbreaking to see people so young living (and sometimes dying) in those dire conditions. My mother died almost seven years ago of kidney failure, a complication if cirrhosis. She was “drained” frequently just like Jo. About three weeks ago, I finally decided I was on a one-way train to becoming an alcoholic myself – frequent blackouts when I drank, regularly injuring and or/embarrassing myself, ruining any chance I had of a romantic relationship and putting my job at risk because of calling in sick and hungover. Still, with all this, I keep hearing that I don’t have a problem. It’s really shocking actually. I know my mind, I know family history and I know alcoholism is progressive. While I might not be as bad off as others, the truth is that I’m just not there YET. So, I’ve decided not to tell most people that I’m going to AA. (I love the AA community, btw.) I’m not going to work to convince my friends that I do, in fact, have a drinking problem. It’s my life and my right to get healthy. Since making that decision, I’ve never felt better! Your blog is a big help in my sobriety. Thank you for this post and all the others. Keep up your amazing work!

    1. Hi Amy and thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. Thank you also for sharing your story and congrats on 3 weeks!! Happy to hear that AA is working for you. You are so right, if you think you have a problem it doesn’t matter what anyone else says you have to do what’s right for you ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you find what I share helpful xx

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