Last week I attended a post-mortem as part of my job. The subject was an alcoholic and I was interested to see the effect alcohol had had on his organs. I expected it to be dramatic and fascinating and revolting in equal measure.

In the event the subject was in surprising good shape. They had a slightly fatty liver but the other organs didn’t show any damage. There was nothing to show that alcohol featured in the cause of death.

When  I was drinking I would certainly have used what I had seen as firm evidence that I was being overly dramatic about my alcohol problem and the damage it was causing. After all that person was probably drinking much more than me, was a “real” alcoholic and had been for years but their drinking hadn’t caused any damage. Afterwards I would have had my usual evening tipple safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t really causing me any harm.

My reaction as a non-drinker was different. Although their organs weren’t damaged, the subject had led a very troubled life with mental health issues and a chaotic family background featuring very strongly. They also looked at least 20 years older than their actual age and were painfully thin. I could see that alcohol had had a hugely damaging impact of their life and those around them. Attending the post-mortem was a very poignant experience.

I think I have had a lucky escape and I am so very grateful for that.



6 thoughts on “Post-Mortem

  1. Oh, yes, I would have done the same thing, I would have used it as justification to continue drinking. Alcohol takes its toll in many different ways. We saved ourselves in time. xx

  2. I know one of my drinking friends keeps saying, Oh my liver tests are all good, so she keeps drinking….but meanwhile she has had a DUI, horrible depression, etc.
    So glad I quit.

  3. I agree completely. Just like when I go to the doctor and get a good bill of health I would go home and sit back and drink up. But in the back of my mind I would have known I cant look into their brain and see all the guilt and anxiety and depression that goes along with the drinking. Theres so much more.

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