Living with an alcoholic

Living with an alcoholic


We don’t hear about alcohol addiction as much as we do drug addiction, and maybe that is because drinking has become an acceptable social activity within society in recent years.

However, that does not mean that it should be forgotten about. It affects a lot more people than you think, and also the people surrounding them.

Alcohol addiction is when somebody abuses the use of alcohol. When drinking alcohol starts to affect their life in a negative way. When you think of an alcoholic, you tend to think of a stumbling drunk mess, however that is not always the case. An alcoholic can be absolutely anyone, and sometimes it is not always noticeable straight away.



Living with an alcoholic can be an emotional rollercoaster to say the least.

Their unpredictable behaviour can create problems. One minute they can be absolutely fine and things seem to be under control, but when the alcohol takes over, that’s when things can spiral out of control. Unfortunately, nobody knows when this is going to happen, which is why it can cause some serious problems.

Emotional and physical abuse can be a lot more common when alcohol is involved. Alcohol can make people more aggressive, especially if arguments are happening often. Alcohol removes any self-control, which can then in turn lead to the abuse.

You will start to notice that things seem a lot more chaotic at home, and regular everyday things are starting to become hard work. As the alcoholic cares less and less about the things surrounding them, more responsibility will be put onto the partner.

You might start to notice your partner lying a lot. This could be anything from the amount in which they are drinking, to where they have been. This is actually quite common amongst alcoholics. They tend to hide how much they are drinking, and sometimes try to hide the fact they are drinking at all.



If you notice a loved one of your is drinking too much, you might be thinking about the best ways in which you can help them. This is not always the easiest situation to approach, however, and you have to make sure you do it right, otherwise it can backfire.

Facing the problem together is important. The addict needs to know they are not alone with it. Alcoholics are often in denial and find it hard to accept they even have a problem. They might initially be angry or upset with you for suggesting it, but try not to take any reactions personally, and keep persevering, without pressuring them too much in one go. At the end of the day, you cannot force them to get treatment, but you can offer support, help and love.

Once they admit it and decide to get treatment, it is likely that they will feel ashamed or humiliated, which are both natural reactions. You have to show them that you are not ashamed of them and keep encouraging them that they are doing the right thing.

Be there for them, but remember you are not their counsellor. Most of the time alcoholism needs professional help, so try to encourage them to seek help in that direction.

Use positive language, and avoid harsh criticism. Try to avoid making judgement and using words such as ‘alcoholic.’

Choose your time to speak to them about the issue wisely. Do it when you are both in a good, positive mood, in a calm, relaxing environment.

Make sure you do your research beforehand, and ensure you know as much information as possible, so that you can offer them all the right facts and advice on what they can do, and where they can go to get the support they need.

The first step is focusing on helping them get the treatment they need. Once they start treatment, and stop drinking, they will require support all through the recovery process. Support is very important throughout. Knowing they have people there encouraging them will help make the journey easier

This could be supporting them by just being there for them whilst they receive treatment, or it could mean attending meetings with them, and actually participating in their recovery process. It could also be other things, such as removing all alcohol from the home, not drinking in front of them etc.

Trying to stop drinking without a professional medical alcohol detox can actually be dangerous for the individual. There can be some horrible side-effects during the withdrawal process, which is why seeking professional help is the best option.


The emotional side of the detox needs to be dealt with as thoroughly as the physical, which is exactly what a rehab centre can provide. The quality of the staff and the centre itself are hugely important.


Peer support is as important as individual counselling. Talking amongst like-minded people makes it that little bit easier for them. Those dealing with the feelings of failure, shame and guilt will start to understand that they are not alone, and realise that there are people around them with the same, or similar problems.


It can be difficult to choose the right rehab, which is what we are here to help with. We can discuss the individual’s situation in full depth, and work out exactly the right rehab for them. Working with some of the best rehabilitation centres in the UK, we can guide you in the right direction and team you up with the best centre to suit yours and their needs.



We understand that living with an alcoholic can affect you as much as it does them. Whereas sometimes they don’t see the problem, sadly you do, and watching them deteriorate and ruin their life is not easy.


Family and friends can be severely affected from their choices, and you might also require some kind of support. There are places which can provide you with the support you need to be able to deal with your loved ones drinking problems.


There are all different ways in which you might be affected. Please note that it is not just physical abuse which can be problematic. You could be affected on emotional, mental or material levels too. Living with an alcoholic can put a huge strain on the people around them, especially if you feel as though you cannot help.


You might start to feel guilt. Alcohol addicts are very good at passing the blame onto somebody else, and can even make you think the reason they have turned to drink is because of you. Please know that is not the case and it is the alcohol talking. If your loved one is an alcoholic, they are going to drink no matter what you do and say. It is not your fault. They have become reliant on alcohol, and nothing is going to get between them and their addiction.


Try not to take things personally. When a lot of alcohol is consumed, the control to make decisions goes out of the window. A lot of the time, it will be the alcohol taking, especially if you say something they don’t want to hear. Alcohol consumption can lead to aggressive behaviour, which wouldn’t necessarily happen if there was no alcohol involved.


Covering up for your loved one might have become a common occurrence, and may make it quite daunting to go to a support group to discuss it. However, there have been millions of cases where close friends and family members have sought out solutions to help themselves inside those meetings. If you are struggling with a loved one’s alcohol addiction, it is definitely something whichyou should look in to.


As I am sure you are fully aware, living with an alcoholic is not always plain-sailing. Even after they have decided to get help, relapses are common. It is important to remember that there are many alcohol addicts who have made a full recovery, and have taken control of their addiction successfully. If for any reason they do relapse, you just have to support and encourage them to try again. It is an ongoing process, but with the support and encouragement from yourself, the people around them and the rehabilitation centres, it is a definite possibility, and will be completely worth it in the end.


Give us a call today on 0203 955 7700 so we can help point you in the right direction.




Nick Conn / 22nd March 2018/ Posted in: Latest News

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.