The life lines many people do not know are there
The British Liver Trust Alcohol jumped into my vision when I was in hospital. I honestly don’t think we think about help until we really need it and as much as a medical team is fantastic they don’t really always have the time or have the answer to the question you may want to ask.
The British Liver Trust Alcohol puts my mind at rest on all sorts of issues and they deal with everything liver, even those issues that have no alcohol related to them at all. Yes that’s true some liver issues have no relation to the alcohol at all. ( I put that for those people who look down their nose at people with liver disease and yes they exist!)
As for the British Liver trust they are experts in the field and it’s a bit like my blog championing alcohol free options from beer to products they really want to raise awareness of liver issues regardless of how they occur.
Life is funny really, as people seem not to want to hear the message about alcohol and the liver. I spoke to a highly experienced expert separate from the trust who said that he has offered his service free as a public speaker but that there was hardly any take up and he is a brilliant storyteller too. We need the British Liver Trust after all, we only have one liver.
How did I find out about them
Well this is a story on my blog but I had been given 48 hours to live and my liver was fading fast. I was a drinker but a social one so not your typical drinker in any way you might imagine for liver disease.
It was my first visit to the hospital even though the reception was annoyed they could not find my details because “I must have been in before, it’s alcohol right? Well yes and no it was stress, stomach and genetic issues all rolled into one but at this stage I was looking for any help I could get.
They even offered me a tablet to help with withdrawal but my last glass of wine was over a week ago. They kept testing me for all sorts as a result as they could not quite work it out!
The British Liver Trust leaflets had started to pop up and then my friend Ian arrived to tell me all about them, he is nothing if not a good researcher. He even quoted what was on their site so I was very well-informed.
If I am honest finding out about them was a bit ad hoc, you have to depend on searches, good friends and the leaflets although I was assigned a dietitian for the first time in my life as I was becoming malnutritioned and she made sure I knew about them and connected it to my diet. If you have liver issue regardless of whether it is linked to alcoholic liver disease you have to just keep an eye on what you are eating.
What do they do?
The British Liver Trust Alcohol is there to give support not analysis on your condition but also not just alcohol. Their profile is sadly lower than many other support charities but as someone pointed out it’s “probably because it’s self-inflicted”. We did not get on after that. Talk about misinformed!
Their website has everything from how long you may live with liver disease to help and support. It is very honest, practical and genuinely caring with support nurses on hand. They are very clear that you always talk to your consultant and I was lucky in that mine was just brilliant with me on the liver ward. The treatment I had was first class. However, the British Liver Trust is next after you have gone through your care team.
They also give you access to a health unlocked forum which I have to say is brilliant as it has strict rules and does not allow people to get into diagnosing, always a dodgy area.
You saw in the covid-19 pandemic where Ethel down the road suddenly became the go to “expert” on social media. I shudder at the thought.
On the forum you have everyone with liver disease and they really are a trusting fantastic group of people who have all sorts of experiences to bring, support or just listen. The great thing is they are people going through the same thought, same choice and worrying themselves over and over. It really was a life line in the hospital and I still read it to this day.
There are also partners, carers and close friends online who really do add an extra dimension to the comment and conversation. If you are concerned it’s a free for all, please worry its wild as the liver trust team are ever there to keep an eye on it and are not afraid to post if it goes into unwanted territory. It is a real life support like whether your liver issues are alcohol related. Or not.
The danger with support groups
Now before people jump my throat of course I do not have an issue with support groups it a great way of sharing and getting support. However, this is true of all them and not actually their fault but watch it does not become who you are. As a therapist surrounding self-esteem issues I see this a lot as people say their condition is who they are, so identity and these things are harder to shift.
So for example : I am a liver patient as opposed to I am currently being treated for an issue with my liver. It completely takes it away from being wrapped up in who you are and of course you are much more than that. A friend, a father, a manager, the list goes on. Not having it in your identity especially around alcohol can really shift your behaviour and habits.
The British Liver trust do fund raise though they are not as high profile as many, It is a worthwhile cause and they are in my will! That’s cheerful.
Do get involved especially if you know someone with a liver issue either with an alcohol link or not. You can contact them here.
By the way if you live outside the UK which many of my readers are they will gladly point you in the right direction for help and resources.
Have you had contact with them?
Have you or someone you know been in touch with them and did you get support. Who else have you or someone you know gained help from and support in connection with a liver issue. The British Liver Trust Alcohol certainly helped me and hopefully this kind of resource is available worldwide. Please comment below and I always respond.