MUM OF TWO: ‘My evening tipple cost me my health, my job, and my home’
Clare Hutton, 42, C says, “I married my first husband in my early twenties, but after having our two children our marriage fell apart and we divorced in 2009. Being a single mum and working as a teacher meant I was always very busy and I’d enjoy a couple of glasses of wine most evenings when the kids were in bed to help me unwind. Other mums I knew did the same, so I didn’t think anything of it.
“A few years later, I met another man, but when things turned sour, I found having a couple of glasses wasn’t enough to help me relax and I began drinking more – up to two bottles a night. But after a few weeks I realised I was drinking too much and cut down to just a few glasses.
“I continued to drink moderately but regularly until one night in September 2015 when I developed terrible stomach pain. I asked my second husband Matt, whom I married in 2012, to take me to A&E, but the doctors didn’t know what was wrong and sent me away.
“However, a couple of days later, the pain was so bad I fell into a daze. Matt drove me back to hospital and I was taken into a ward, then into resuscitation where I blacked out.
“When I woke up, I was told that my liver was failing and diagnosed with cirrhosis as a result of drinking regularly. I hadn’t realised at the time, but even when I only drank a few glasses it would add up to around 30 units a week – more than the recommended amount.
“They explained that if I’d continued to drink for another ten days I’d have died. Even with treatment to help me gain back the vitamins I’d lost and maintain my fluid levels, they said I was unlikely to live to my 60s. I was devastated beyond words – and felt so guilty that I wouldn’t be around for my children.
“I quit alcohol, but I was so ill for a year afterwards that I had to give up my job, sell my house – and my kids, who are 13 and 15, moved in with their dad.
“I’m a bit better now as my liver has recovered a little, but I need crutches and a trolley to get around as I suffer from painful hypertension in my stomach that’s caused by the scarring on my liver.
“Every day I have to take 26 tablets, including vitamins, to keep my stomach and heart working, and doctors warned if I touched another glass of wine I’d have to plan my own funeral.
“Last January, Matt and I scraped together the money to buy a caravan and decided to travel around the UK to make the most of the time I have left.
“I just hope my story makes others realise that wine o’clock can seriously ruin your life. I’d do anything to turn back time.” ● Clare supports the British Liver Trust – visit Britishlivertrust.org.uk
The mum just before having a scan at hospital
Clare’s making the most of the time she has left with Matt
Pictured here at her wedding, Clare used to drink regularly