We report the 10-year survival of 510 patients with a histological diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease. Eight centres in Scotland and North England contributed to this study. Information was available on 92% of the initial cohort. Age was important, with each decade increasing mortality by 55%. A highly significant interaction between sex and histology was observed with a marked survival benefit for males with non-cirrhotic alcoholic liver disease, while in cirrhotic subjects the pattern was reversed. Patients with decompensated liver disease had a relative increase in mortality in excess of 86% while the increase in mortality for alcoholic hepatitis, 'active' cirrhosis and 'inactive' cirrhosis were 52%, 57% and 91% relative to fatty liver. Alcohol intake at the time of diagnosis did not influence outcome. This study emphasises yet again the increased mortality rate of individuals abusing alcohol compared with the general population.