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Excessive Alcohol Consumption
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Excessive Alcohol Consumption

How long can my significant other drink 1/2 gallon of Vodka every single day - 24/7 - without suffering any physical ailments?  The only thing I have noticed thus far is severe itching on his back  he cannot sleep and I have noticed fluild buildup around his ankles.   He also has food binges every night, so I don't know if his HUGE stomach is from overeating or from ascites.   He probably weighs 350 lbs with a normal weight of 210 lb.   He has been drinking all his life, but has only been drinking 24/7 for the past year and a half.  He will NOT go to the doctor for any blood tests.   Any help would be appreciated.  He's 43 years old.
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Avatar_m_tn
Life insurance if you can get it and I'm serious. Your husband is on his way to the grave with stats like that. I would think at this points that family and/or friends would have some sort of intervention. Like I said, if  someone doesn't do something pretty soon, I think this will be a short-lived problem.

-- Jim
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151263_tn?1243377877
I have a friend that's in a similar place in his life right now. Although his drinking was curtailed for a while by going to jail. First for a few DWI's and then because he stole a cheap CD player at a Wal-Mart while drunk. But incarceration actually straightened him out for a while. Then he was in court ordered rehab and had to participate in an alcohol monitoring program where social workers would stop by his place unannounced a few times a week with a breathalyzer. He even failed that and had to go back to jail. Then he met a woman who was a serious drug addict/alcoholic in rehab and he shacked up with her. Then she died one night from a heart attack, probably because of drug use (she was an IV drug user). Then for some reason he lost an awful lot of weight and developed painful sores all over his body. I think he may have contracted AIDS from this woman, but he claims he simply lost weight from eating "jail food." This is the life of an alcoholic.

Bottomline is that once alcoholics get to this point, the only hope are drastic measures. If you're supporting this person and enabling him in any way, you need to make things difficult for him. Leaving him and letting him fall flat on his face is probably the best thing that could happen. And if there's anyway he can be brought to the bed of someone who is dying from liver disease so that he can witness firsthand what's right around the corner for him, that might help too (although my alcoholic friend watched someone he worked with die this way and even that had no real effect on him). But death by liver disease ain't pretty, if he can see it firsthand, it might trigger a meaningful fear response in him.

No easy answers to be sure, but what you describe is a person who won't be with us much longer unless something is done soon. And by the way, my friend has been sober for 9 months now, he's actually doing very well (relatively speaking). He says every day is a new day and he can't guarantee he'll be able to never drink again, but with counseling, AA and antidepressants (he says cymbalta is a lifesaver) he HAS been rebuilding his life. If my friend can achieve this, maybe your husband can do the same?
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Avatar_m_tn
The amount of alcohol being consumed is abnormal by any means.  It could be that the consumption is occurring to stave of physical ailments he may be experiencing.  At least I believe that was the case for me as I look back.  Now that I better understand the effects which my viral infection has upon ones body, I see that I was experiencing them and sedating those effects through my consumption. So perhaps the lack of physical ailments is due to the consumption and whatever ailments he does experience may be getting attributted to the consumption in which case grabing another hair of the dog which bite him the night before may seem to alleviate them.

Sleep disruption is common amoung those consuming high amounts of alcohol because of the chemical imbalance it creates in ones body.

Without blood work, there is no way of knowing if there may be a secondary issue, beyond the typical addiction perspective commonly taken, and if his consumption is a means of self medicating.

The human body can not sustain the rate of consumption you've described for a long period of time though and if help is not sought soon the result is inevitiable.  In addition to some of the symptoms you have already described, if his stools are becoming black and tarry, it could be a sign that cirrhosis of the liver has begun.  Jaundiced (yellowish) colored skin is another sign that physical problems are progressing as a result of the impact the alcohol is having upon his liver.

As suggested, intervention *may* help, but I do not think it will help if the person being intervened upon does not come to the realization that they need help and develop a desire to break free from their bondage.  One thing to be concerned about though is that abrupt withdrawl (withdrawal) from consuming large amounts of hard alcohol can have tramatic, if not tragic, impact upon the body as well.  Often times seizures can and do occur if care is not taken to counteract the withdrawl (withdrawal) of the alcohol due to the chemical imbalance which has been established in the body.

I can empathize with your situation as it is one I also found myself in a couple of years ago.  Upon seeking professional help when all attempts at self help failed, I was able to break clear from the consumption long enough for the medical professionals to note that my liver enzymes were not returning to normal as they should have which lead to the testing and diagnosis of my viral infection.  It turns out that the effects of the alcohol masked the symptoms of the infection but that the combination of the two was that they were engaged in a wicked death dance using my liver as their dance floor.

Since the only known treatment for the infection failed me last year, I still feel the effects of the infection from time to time, but now recognize it for what it is and endure them rather than trying to self medicate them as I now recognize that deception.

The bottom line is that he needs to come Step 1 where he acknowledges that he has a problem and he has reached a point where he can not help himself.  He can then begin to seek the help to free himself from the bondage he is now in and seek the help needed which may mean that he has to follow through on Steps 2 & 3 to be able to do so.  He may need to simply attend a few sessions, such as at an AA, Celebrate Recovery, or other 12 step program in order to talk with others who have have been in similar circumstances.

I would like to offer him, and yourself, the hope that it is possible!!

I know because I've too have been there, I have done it, and I continue to do it each and every day by the grace and mercy which I receive anew each day.
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190885_tn?1333029491
first i would say get on the alcoholic forum...ask questions and tell your story...have your friend or husband go on the forum and check it out...that is a lot of alcohol to consume...i have noticed that big fat guys can consume a lot more then little guys like me...i'm like 160 to 168 and used to drink one third of one fifth of vodka every night for a while(had hep c and didn't know it...didn't know i was an alcoholic either) ...sounds like your friend doesn't have hcv...no hep will make things much easier...my withdrawl (withdrawal) was awfull and took 5 months to get kind of normal..durring some of it i was on this forum....grand oak..how much did you drink??? i'm doing much better now...my liver must be a lot happier then it used to be...have your friend drop 100 pounds and eat right...get your friend to a doctor that has helped other folks through withdrawl (withdrawal) or he has a good chance of dieing while doing withdrawl (withdrawal).....like jim said he's dead meat if you don't do something quick...good luck..........billy
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
your email brought back memories of my father...EXACT same situation. except for that  he liked southern comfort whiskey...he died at 50. He went into a coma for the last few weeks.
Can you contact the closet rehab hospital and talk to the doctors about your options? Can you legally have him committed somehow? It is unlikely that he will do anything to help himself at this point...
I have had alot of experience with alcoholics...I lived with another one (boyfreind) for 7 yrs or so...good thing for the 7 yr. itch!!! I finally left...only cuz he got violent with me tried to strangle me a few times when he was drunk...
well anyway ..at this point your husband  is unable to make any good decisions for himself...If you could intervene by getting him into a rehab where they can detox him in a controlled way with meds. so he won't go into seizures and DTs.(delirious tremors)... he could die from to quick a withdrawal..
That would be the best you could do for him, is get him into a locked down rehab...he can't and most likely  won't do it for himself...yes he will die if nothing changes. My father lived maybe a year or so at that stage...I can't remember exactly...it was in 1971. But it was not long.
I think that is your only hope, and you are probaly the only one who can do anything to help him...He won't listen to reason at this point...I think you will have to FORCE TREATMENT...and that is all.
God be with you and your husband.
Pitter
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149675_tn?1257636570
Reading your post really hit home for me. My best friend suffered a similar fate and died of liver failure at 44 years of age. He always lived hard and used to say when we were kids it does not matter I will be dead by time I am 40 anyway. I always used to just tell him to shut up and quit talking such silly nonsense. We were best friends since we were little kids. We drifted a little in adult life but still stayed in touch often. We would go to Giants games and stuff.  I got married and had kids and grew up to become a responsible husband and father.  He was my best man. He got married but still liked to drink....a lot. He ended up getting stomach cancer and they had to remove his entire stomach and 1 1/2" of his esophagus from the cancer. He was never a person to go to the doctor (or miss a day of work). He kept on drinking and drinking harder than ever after the surgery . Except now it would take much less to get him completely inebriated because it went straight into his system. I had a big argument with him one night about stop feeling sorry for himself and to think about his wife for Christ's sake. It was to no avail. His wife tried to get him institutionalized but in NJ it is not that easy unless the person agrees to do it. To make a long story short I stopped by to visit him one day  and when he answered the door I was like " look at your f@#$!*& eyes!!!!" The whites of his eyes were unbelievably yellow. I did not know it was even possible for them to be that yellow. He had no idea. I told his wife his liver was giving out. Within days he was in the hospital. He started bleeding out his rectum and passed out (that was the only reason he ended up in the hospital). He went into a coma and it was all over. It was a damn shame because he was a really good man, an even better friend, but a F%&*%$! alcoholic. That Sh!$ will kill you. I pray your husband gets some help but chances are as an alcoholic who drinks that much (my friend drank the same) he will not. They have every reason to not stop or as to why tomorrow is the day. I really felt sorry for his wife as she stayed with him through it all and never gave up on him. It was tough watching him die like that. She knew what we all knew that he was an amazing guy. Everyone seemed to know that but him. It was a real shame. I miss him a lot.
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Avatar_m_tn
Has your friend been diagnosed with hep c?  If so, he MUST stop drinking.  Hcv loves alcohol, the way a fire loves gasoline.  A deadly combination.  

The swollen ankles is not a good sign.  Your friend's liver is probably compromised.

Step #1)  Tell him he MUST stop drinking.
Step #2) Get him to a doctor for a checkup.  There is something very wrong.

Don't delay on this.  Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Sound like we all may have a friend in common. My best and dearest friend died of just this, ignorance, stupidity, stubborness and and alcoholism. Along with Hep C. I left him because I was so frustrated with his behavior, but I don't recommend it. He died without me knowing, I learned 2 days after he was cremated. Stay with this person, he is on a road to destruction you can't stop, neither can he. best of wishes to you both, this is life...and death
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179856_tn?1333550962
I am sure that you already know the answer to this question but are reaching out.

My best advice to you is to get into Alanon - there is nothing you will be able to do about getting your friend to quit.  Hitting bottom comes at a different place for everyone and it sounds like he isn't ready to admit that a half gallon of vodka daily pretty much puts him in the pit.

I would advise you to get some help - Alanon is free and confidential and you certainly will find a LOT of people there who understand your situation.

As an alcoholic myself I can tell you that it's often not that the person doesn't really want to quit, they just can't overcome that incredible craving that alcohol causes.  Only getting into a good program and therapy really gives a person a chance.  Willpower is just not enough.

I'm very sorry for the situation but I hope that YOU continue to reach out, make friends and take care of yourself.  Get ready for the inevitable.  Even if he has advanced cirhossis - a doctor would want him to quit drinking completely before doing a transplant and wasting a perfectly good liver on somenoe who is just going to kill it off again anyway.  Either way you are looking at years of heartbreak to come via death or taking care of an invalid (not that transplanters are invalids but a person who would drink through end stage liver disease, just to make no mistake what I meant).

I'm VERY sorry for your situation.  Please continue to seek help for YOURSELF.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm a newbie here but I feel compelled to tell you that my brother in law, who has cirhossis is now in the hospital suffering from bleeding from burst veins. This happened Friday and he was in ICU for 4 days until he was put on a regular floor.  In layman's terms, when the liver is damaged from alcholic scarring or from other liver disease such as HCV, the blood vessels no longer efficiently carry the blood.  It needs somewhere to go, so it will collect in the spleen or in the esophogus and those veins become so strained that they burst which results in vomiting blood or passing blood.  30%-50% of people die from their first bleed.  Luckily, he was with people and not home alone when it happened.  He also is a daily drinker who ignored all warnings that he could not drink with a damaged liver.  He is now very afraid because he's known about this problem for 10 years and did nothing about it. There is not alot of hope for him - I think the next step is a liver transplant.  I know something about alcoholic recovery and your husband has to want to recover to be successful.  Might I advise you to give him the information you have found out, ask him what he wants to do and then let it go. Better yet, get to a counselor or a Al-Anon group (which is the best and its free) and help yourself.  Sometimes trying to save an alcholic (if he is one) is hopeless.  My analogy is its like throwing a life-saver to a drowning man and he won't take it because he doesn't like the colour.  Ultimately, he will make his own decision but I wish you luck and my heart goes out to you.
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206807_tn?1331939784
I am sorry that you feel obligated to go through this. I am a firm believer in “you can’t help people that don’t want help”. I am sure you love this man or you would not have posted this thread. If he is bent on killing himself, there is nothing you can do to stop it but you do not have to put yourself through the agony of watching it happen. I have a friend whose wife of 20 years (who was also a friend) would drink Vodka just like your significant other. About 2 years ago, he couldn’t take it anymore and left her. We buried her about a year ago, she hemorrhaged. I hope everything works out for him but more than that, hope everything works out for you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry you are going thru this.  Similar situation with a family member.  He has always drank a lot, last July he lost his job and for 4 months just drank liquor non stop.  Finally he went to the hospital in late Nov. with ascities so bad he could barely breathe, feet and legs swollen.  He was going in to heart failure, but also diagnosed with cirrhosis, clot in liver and terminal liver cancer.  All caused by heavy drinking.  I think when you are so deep into the alcohol you don't think straight.  He is of course clear headed now and wants to do everything right and live for his grandkids, but it is too late.  The dr told him 2 months to a year, but I feel like it will be more like 3 to 6 months.  It seems like such a waste.  I can't help but feel bad for him.  The only times he was sober for any long period in the past was only if he was put in jail.  Good luck to you, I know that this is very difficult.  Have you tried a family/friend intervention?
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