Information for Partners, Friends and Relatives

As a partner, close friend or relative of somebody with an alcohol problem, it can be very difficult. Normally, you will see their alcohol consumption as a problem long before they do and expressing your view on this is likely to lead to them denying that there is a problem, arguing with you or even avoiding you altogether. Usually, a person drinking too much needs to suffer some of the consequences before he/she will accept that there is a problem. Quite often, these consequences have to get quite severe before a person will decide they need to do something.

During this time, you have the difficult job of staying close and putting up with behaviour which you know is harmful to their health and wellbeing. Many marriages break up due to the strain of an alcohol problem.

Normally, there will be some underlying cause to the excessive drinking. This may be a change in circumstances (loss of job, divorce, financial issues) or it may just be a habit which grew over time. To remain supportive, you often need to accept difficult behaviour while not being too confrontational which could result in you being pushed away to a point where you can no longer be supportive. Getting the right balance is very difficult to achieve.

Having said that, some people with alcohol problems need a nudge every so often to see that there are consequences to their excessive drinking and many only look to sort out their problem when they realise they are risking losing the people they care about.

One thing is always true. There is no way that a person with an alcohol problem can be forced to get help. They may agree to, under pressure, but they are likely to do that for a quiet life and drink secretly.

After a person has made the decision to stop drinking and started a detox, it can be a period in which partners, close friends and relatives see the old personality return in a dramatic way.

At Tranquillity, we understand the effect that your loved one's alcohol problem will have had on your life and consider that carefully in planning their care with them. You are likely to be a key factor in them continuing their recovery and we have full recogntion of this. Of course, some issues may exist which are not easily resolved and, as an important person in their life, we regard it as crucial that your views are considered.

However, we are also bound by confidentiality rules and it is possible that some people will not want us to discuss their condition or treatment with any other person, we will always abide with their wishes regarding this, although we would encourage them to consider being honest with those closest to them.