Hi all, I am newly diagnosed (2 months) but was likely infected with HCV 20+ years ago. Biopsy indicates Stage 1 so I am encouraged, and am considering treatment this year after educating myself more.
For now, I am struggling with something that [to me] seems very trite and stupid - giving up all alcohol - when I only consider myself to be a light, social drinker. I KNOW I have to abstain, and yet stopping has been harder than I anticipated.
While I only drank a few drinks a month (never alone, and not daily or even weekly) but partying with friends when we get together has been a lifestyle I enjoyed, as is my significant wine collection. It depresses me greatly, but I am making plans to give away a collection that I have been building and enjoying for many years.
So, on to the basis of my questions... I know all non-alcoholic wine and beer is NOT non-alcoholic. Generally <.5 of 1% is the legal definition. As most NA manufacturers point out, this is akin to the natural alcohol found in a glass of fresh squeezed OJ. Is that just BS or does the Doc just tell me to avoid it to be safe (that it won't lead to excess or other alcohol use)?
Well, if I decide for rx treatment (likely), I can commit to NO alcohol for the duration. I have given it up entirely at this point but only for six weeks now. If treatment is successful, is there any body of knowledge for resuming light to moderate alcohol consumption after the fact, even if just NA products, if the stage and function tests are good, and the virus is gone, or is it still too risky?
I am feeling completely deprived, but it may be some sort of transference for the larger loss and grief that I feel for having been diagnosed, or it may point to more of an alcohol-related problem than I think I have.
Really, I drank so infrequently before, I am surprised that it is occupying so much of my thoughts now. Anyone else experience this? I am going to check out anti-depressants that might help with this, but I do not want to deal with side effects that I have experienced before with past use (mainly sexual).
Are there any "TRUE" NA fakes out there with zero alcohol content?! Even the taste of a bad NA beer makes me feel so much better, and fools me into thinking things are normal. When I found out I had to give that up too, I got really bummed out (wanted to poke that darn doctor in the nose!).
Feel free to yell at me and tell me I am being ridiculous and just get over it - it's nothing that I don't already know! ;-)
Thanks, and glad to be a part of this group (albeit a reluctant member!).
Hi Robyn, I'm sorry, that you're having such a hard time giving up the alcohol. The truth is, you have to be at least 6 months alcohol free prior to tx. As far as the non-alcoholic wine and beer, I don't know. I have a friend that has completed tx 3 years ago and has drank the non-alcoholic beer, so I'm not sure about that. She's still undetected though. I also have a friend with cirrhosis, not HCV, but he's still drinking. The last time I drank alcohol, was Jul 8, 2002, the next day I was diagnosed with HCV. I had more trouble giving up smoking, which I did in Oct,02. If you're not smoking, you've got it halfway beat, even though, the alcohol is far worse on your liver. I, like you had a social life with friends that drank. Now, I'm not interested in going out with them. I see them having a good time and I'm a little jealous of them. I miss being silly like them, but I don't miss the alcohol. I do go out occassionally, because I love to dance, so I manage to still have a good time. I don't remember if it was this site or another, someone said a certain well known dr in NY was telling HCV'ers they were cured after tx and to go ahead and drink again. Everyone else will tell you different. Good luck to you, I hope you're able to abstain from alcohol...Stay here with this site and you'll find lots of replies...Take care...
Hi Robyn, and welcome! My doctor told me that I had to abstain from alcohol for at least 2 years before he would retreat me for HCV. I kept thinking that after I got "cured" that I would drink again. After already coming to grip with the fact that I am an alcoholic. Only after going to AA and realizing that I should never drink again did I decide to stay abstinate no matter what (since October 99). I too, managed to quit smoking (April 01). Quitting those 2 things has improved the quality of my life! 6 weeks is a LONG time without a drink. They say in AA that "it is not what, you drink, or how often you drink, but what happens to you when you drink." Remember, that I don't even know you, but It sounds like you might be a good canidate for AA. Please, don't take offense, but denial is common for us. Only YOU can decide if you really have a problem, maybe attend some meetings and see if you can relate to any of the stories. Life can still be fun without alcohol. I am living proof. In fact, I enjoy life more now than I ever have. I occassionally see a couple of my old friends, or go into a bar. I find that the drinking just turns me off now. I can see where it controlled me . . . I never controlled it. I was really just a prisoner to the obession to drink (in order to somehow fit in). I, personally, can not think of anything "fun" that I miss about drinking. And when I smell it, it just STINKS! Good luck in whatever you decide, Robyn. I don't know if I would give away the wine collection just yet. Don't think about it as quitting forever . . .quit "just for today". If you decide you really don't want to quit (and that you have made an awful mistake), the wine will be waiting for you . . . I promise. Please, don't take offense to anything I have said. I am just offering you a perspective, from someone who has been right where you are. Thank you for sharing your plight with us. Good luck in whatever you decide!
Hi Robyn. You sound like me when I first found out I had HCV. I liked my wine (Merlot), cold beer in the summer and dirty martini's.
I found out the the N/A beer does have enough alcohol in it to cause our livers harm. It doesn't have enough to make you drunk unless you drink like 12! but enough to aggrevate the HCV.
I've decided that even after treatment I will never drink alcohol again. I was developing a habit and the diagnosis stopped that in its tracks. I just don't think it would be worth it to me to drink again. My fear is that I would have one weenie little virus fighting its last fight in my body and the alcohol would be to it like spinach to Popeye.
You get used to being the only sober one or two at a party as time goes by and you don't miss it as much. Hope this helps and we are here for you!
Thanks all. Glad I found you because I know as I move forward with this and maybe into treatment this year, I will really need your advice and support.
Believe me, I take no offense at suggestions (AA or any other), and I am glad for your experiences and perspective. I don't think I am an alcoholic but even the fact I am having trouble with this does point to some kind of a problem that counseling could help. I have an appointment scheduled with Psych on referral from Dr, and I might get into some other counseling also. An AA meeting certainly can't hurt.
Interestingly, I never obsessed about alcohol before and when I did think of whether to have a glass of wine with the steak, I much more often than not decided not to. I'm sure that as time goes by and I get more distance from the initial decision to quit drinking, it will seem less important (I hope!).
Anyway, I will avoid even the NA drinks at least until I get this thing cured, and then I'm sure I will not return to the same drinking lifestyle after treatment (if it is successful). It does give you perspective when every time you take a sip (even the NA beer), that it is going right to the liver like a hot poker!
Well, if anyone hears of a completely NA beer, let me in on it! And in the meantime, I will stick to club soda with lime (oh, joy). Thanks a lot everyone, hope to talk with you again.
Robyn, That's what I did a few months after being diagnosed. I went to a psyc, because of the anxiety (probably from not drinking) and he prescribed something, that I only take at night. It helps a lot, but I wish I didn't feel as though I need them to sleep. I am going to make an effort to stop completely before tx. I see my psyc again, after I see my hep dr, so I'll tell him what I'm doing. Good luck the psyc should help...
and a warm welcome to the board.i drank for many years, then quit on my own and i can recall it like it was yesterday.to me i felt "at the time", but i just toughed it out, and 8 years later i was diagnosed with hep.and have had it 20+years.i really wanted to go for a drink "that day"as i was in "the dark"regarding hep.never had a comp. at the time but i did my studying from med. books,and toronto library was so helpfull to me with sending me info.it was like i felt i "must learn more&more", and found that was of great help as not only was i educating myself,the thought of consumming any alcohol never entered my mind,speaking for myself of course we have our own way of dealing with ourselves as individuals, you will find yours!you've taken the first step with not consumming it,it's a step at a time but can be done, i applaude you on discontinuing any alcohol!hang in there it will get easier,prayers are sent your way as you begin your journey.
keep the faith bless you..........mj
Hi Robyn..I just joined this board a couple days ago and am waiting on the third round of tests to see where I am at. I too enjoyed a drink after work (usually wine) and on the weekends (beer) hanging with our lake buddies, riding in the boat and hanging at night. This is going to be one of the biggest changes and the hardest for me to make. Because of our friends and lifestyle I shall see who remains a friend in the end. My hubby laughs and says I will always be the designated driver of the boat and truck and laughs. I don't think he realizes the big change that is fixing to happen in our lifes. After all the reading I have done..I didn't realize you have to be alcohol free for 6 months. Oh my!I too have not had a drink since I found out on monday and put the patches on to stop smoking (1/2 pk a day) not too bad. Both are going to be hard but I know I have to do this if I want to see my life beyond next year. During the week will be a piece of cake but it will be a test when the weeknd comes and we go to the lake or friends come over.
Stay in touch DEBSUE
Hi there - you will see my welcome posts on your other messages also...
When my doctor told me to stop all alcohol, it was a bummer. Even though I go weeks without a drink, my social life and friends do involve drinking - like you, when we get together for camping, boating and the like, we are always making blender drinks etc.
I used to bartend long ago, so I have developed an appreciation for good microbrews, liquors etc. and I have collected red wine for 15-20 years.
It was really harder than I thought to give it up BUT I am managing. Even though my boyfriend drinks a lot (and also needs to quit), I don't find it that hard to be around him when he is drinking. I was fairly content to discover some good non-alcoholic beers and wines so I could fool myself into thinking I could still enjoy them. When I found out that even the NA's have alcohol (albeit very low) and that I couldn't have them either, I really got mad.
Kind of stupid when I think about it logically, and for me, it was all part of the overall grieving process for being diagnosed and realizing that things would not be entirely the same, and that even if I decide for tx, I cannot return to the previous partying lifestyle in the future.
Even in a relatively short period of time I have adjusted, and it is getting easier once I got used to the idea. My boyfriend and I live far apart, but he wants to try counseling and quitting whenever we live together. We'll see about that (I'm not confident) but even if he can cut back, that will be really great for us both.
Anyway, for all the rambling, my main point is that it does get easier pretty quickly if you don't have a "drinking problem." And if you do (for whoever reads this), try the numerous organizations out there that can help for free.
And, if anyone ever finds a good microbrew with 0.00% alcohol (yeah, I'm dreaming here), please let me know!!
Regarding quitting, I just did it and no one even batted an eye. Family members didn't even notice when I declined champagne at a family celebration, co-workers said kudos when I didn't drink at a recent social event, and gave me tips on good non-alcohol recipes (while they all swilled!), and no one even asked me why! Perhaps they think I had a problem but I doubt it - more likely they have thought about quitting at some point themselves, and just thought it was cool I did. I didn't feel compelled to tell anyone the reason why.
So good luck to you - let me know how the first weekend on the lake goes with your friends! My boyfriend also thinks it really cool that I am designated driver. Glad someone has a sense of humor about this!
It is super you are quitting smoking too, you needed to do that anyway girl!! Take care and keep in touch.
p.s. I'm extremely jealous you get to go to the lake! My water ski pals live a long way away and I miss them!!
Hi all and esp to you for your answer Robyn. I so appreciate the feedback. Today is the day I am hopeing for my call and it is so hard waiting. I am a wreck but found this in an email I had recieved at my work and thought I would share with you guys.
"I AM NOT AFRAID OF STORMS, FOR I AM LEARNING HOW TO SAIL MY SHIP".
How fitting is this..God led me to this site to teach me about what I am up against. Don't you guys think so?
Robyn...You give me hope for what I am about to face. Your positive attitude could be contagious.
Yes..we started boating about 3 years ago to get us off the couch and it also has forced us to do things more as a family. We have had more fun on the lake up in the mountains,,seeing the beauty of God's world for sure. Yes...lakes and mountains in the desert!
THANKS so much for the encouraging words. DebSue
Welcome DebSue! Good luck to you and Robyn, both! I know it is very hard to change habits, especially when they are enjoyable to you. weekends will be the hardest. And *YAY* on the quitting smoking thing. I think that was harder to quit for me than drinking was. I don't ever regret quitting either one though. I am pulling for you and welcome once again.