– My review – My review

Let’s be honest when we hear about health issues concerning “drinking” our thoughts can go into overdrive.

I once worked with someone who was an excellent researcher. He would research everything about symptoms with illness particularly if he has a guest on his radio show that was coming into talk about it.

The problem was that he was so good that if he had an issue he could explain to the doctor the exact symptoms you would have for almost anything and of course the doctor sent him for a test immediately he was that good at it!

The issue and symptom had gone into his subconscious belief pattern and therefore it was his reality.

Here is the good news is the test usually came back negative! Thank Goodness.

I suppose my point is that if we have health issues we instantly go one line and check them out. So Jack bless him down the road at number 62 suddenly becomes a doctor on social media. You get my point.

So if we end up in hospital or suspect we have an issue with the liver around drinking getting medical help immediately is key.  However what resources are around so we feel we can talk to someone or get more information that’s not Jack on social media.

For me this was which I was initially concerned about as I lay in bed not knowing if I would live or not. I just hoped this forum did not make me worse or give me false hope.

What is

This is an online platform and so my alarm bells were ringing when I first discovered it. However, the moderation is pretty excellent. The other thing that fills me with confidence is that it teams up with a lot of specialist areas and is really highly regarded and in my case the Liver Trust which I talk about here is a key partner.

So let’s take the liver example , if you have any concern about your health to do with drinking and your liver you can join the specific forum which is then operated by the Liver Trust but facilitated by

So it’s moderated and it’s clear from the forums that you should also seek medical advice. However, many people find it very useful to get extra advice and be part of a community. There are moderators attached to it as well such as nurses who can help answer questions.

Now I know some people think I should I just be talking to the medical teams in the hospital however it is a reality that with so many patients they can only do so much.

Actually it can be very warming being a part of something you’re going through.

Who goes on it?

Once you have signed up anyone can post and it is carefully moderated and you would be blocked if you started to put false information on there and they do it well in many cases with generally nice warnings reminding people of the rules. So the people that go on are

People with liver issues ( and of course not all from alcohol )

The liver is an important issue for us but mistakenly when you talk about it people well they just presume it is about alcoholics, whatever that means however can be

  • Social drinkers with other issues like me
  • Hepatitis issues
  • Various other complications include a bad reaction to drugs.
  • No reason at all, it came out of nowhere!

However, there are people also on there who just may be concerned about symptoms, caring for people who have terminal liver disease in the final stages of life and if that does not sober you up nothing will.

There are also a high level of people concerned about the effect alcohol is having on their overall well being.

This mix is unique and for example I had never considered the view of partners, friends and family on the effect drink was having on their loved ones. I found it helpful to have a different perspective. Everyone is different and for my category of a social drinker it was just one aspect of an awful disease.


Are they linked to official partners?

Yes it is one of their key attributes and this also covers every issue going including what they described as the “most popular”. Not the word I would use personally, it makes it sound like a top ten of favorites but it includes:

  • Anxiety
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Clinical depression
  • Insomnia
  • Intestinal and stomach conditions
  • Liver disease
  • Respiratory tract infection
  • Lupus
  • Underactive thyroid hypothyroidism

Some of their partners outside the liver trust include :

  • ADHD Parents Together
  • Advanced Prostate Cancer
  • Anxiety and Depression Support
  • Asthma UK community forum
  • British Heart Foundation
  • British Lung Foundation
  • CLL Support Association
  • Couch to 5K
  • Endometriosis UK
  • Fertility Network UK
  • Fibromyalgia Action UK
  • IBS Network
  • Kidney Disease
  • MPN Voice
  • My MSAA Community
  • My OCD Community
  • My Ovacome
  • NCT
  • NRAS
  • Pain Concern
  • Parkinson’s Movement
  • PMRGCAuk
  • SHARE Metastatic Breast Cancer
  • Thyroid UK
  • Weight Loss NHS

So actually you are in great company and you could flip between communities but I stayed with the Liver Trust forums which probably answered most of my questions. I would not recommend jumping as you focus on your key area otherwise you just get an overload of information.

Do you get paranoid reading it?

Actually it helped do the opposite and many friends and family would give their view on the latest thing they had read but I found by talking to a doctor and healthunlocked that it really managed to keep a ring around comments as everyone would tell you something different.

I found the views on healthunlocked with their cross-check of experts keeping an eye on the forum and providing extra expertise the perfect combination.

I actually got reassurance and it helped me to ask questions of people going through the same things as me and those that had not been very supportive. Whether you are feeling anxious and down, it is just the pick up you need.

The benefits for me are:

  • Comfort
  • First hand experience
  • Support
  • Actually having medical advice outside your own medical team but in a non expert way.
  • Direction to other support resources such the liver trust website.

What was the best thing about healthunlocked?

In my view I think it probably the best asset of was that it gave me the confidence to actually ask questions not just of the forum but of my nursing and medical team.

The one thing you get when you are diagnosed with anything or you notice a symptom which may or may not be connected with alcohol, your liver or in my case my stomach for that matter is “confusion”.

There are natural stages you go through which are very commonly known in psychology. So let me talk you through ones I went through and then you maybe able to see and feel why the service was so valuable both in hospital and when I was discharged.

The journey you go on can be different for everyone, for some people each bit of the journey could take 5 minutes or a year but it will follow the process and as we are human of course and it can have exceptions.

Shock and denial :You can’t believe this is happening to you and so you deny it is happening and you just imagine it’s a big nightmare.

Pain and guilt:
Then I went into a spiral of feeling guilty about it all. Could I have done anything different? Was I that bad of a social drinker? Could I have drawn on zero alcohol beer sooner. I was totally confused, compared to my friends I was an average drinker.

Could stress have played a part? What about the people I love, what happens to them? This is a cycle that I got off quickly but you can see how it’s easy to get into a vicious cycle with anything to do with ill health and especially with alcohol.

As my later experience would show people gossip about the so called “drinker” you were despite how many they drink and then go on to criticise you when you don’t have a drink. Its a funny old world!

Anger and bargaining
This is why you get angry with yourself and you go into bargaining mode, so what about this and what about that and you go around and around debate with yourself. Actually this is not such a bad place to be and you can be seen to be taking action.

They often say depression is anger turned inwards, and I think that is probably true. This bit is when you feel hopeless. You know you want to leave the hospital but you can’t if you want to have the best chance of surviving. The feeling and your state changes and you wonder what is to become of you. This can be your lowest point in many ways.

The upward turn
:With the support you get especially from I began to realize I was not alone and the more information you get the better I felt. You begin to process the information in sensible ways. You begin to get a sense of hope and hope in these situations this is very powerful.

Reconstruction and working through:
Here with the new information you are getting about your illness you begin to start having some kind of plan and you begin formulating your options.

Acceptance and hope.
I call this the reality check and the “it is what it is”, this might be a sense of calm and also assessment on what will have to change.

Now why do I mention this process so whether it is your liver and alcohol, or your liver, or any other health issue for that matter. I do think in a way helps via the liver trust get you through most of these so called hurdles one by one.

Now I have no affiliation with them apart from finding them useful on my journey of getting liver disease unexpectedly and nearly dying as a result.

It was quite an experience but thanks to them for the platform and the people that joined it certainly made my journey a lot easier. I wrote this so you did not have to run around looking like I had to.

My journey led me to create this blog and champion non alcohol free products. If you would like to read my review of the best alcohol free beer you can do so here.  I have also championed alcohol free gin which is an excellent addition to the market and you can read my review here. Its important to get a purpose!

I realised that that were others who wanted an alcohol free lifesyle but did not have the courage to say it.

Have you had an experience of Would you be nervous about posting in a confidential health forum. Have you worried about symptoms that may be the result of alcohol and the liver but are truly afraid to ask? I would love your experience and leave your comments below. I always respond. Always seek medical help first of course!

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