Friday, 23 November 2012

Helping a partner who drinks too much

This week is alcohol awareness week, which aims to bring people's attention to how much alcohol they consume, particularly in the run up to Christmas. According to recent government statistics, one in every thirteen adults is dependent on alcohol in the UK. If  that figure includes your partner it can make the festive period very difficult.

Many addicts don't want to admit, or even recognise, they need help, but as someone close to them you may notice some of the following signs:

  • Lying or being secretive 
  • Stealing 
  • Extreme changes in mood 
  • Changes in sleeping patterns – more, less or at different times of day or night 
  • Changes in amount of energy 
  • Changes in weight 
  • Changes in social groups, new and unusual friends 
  • Changes in finances - having large amounts of cash and then none at all. 
However, even if you don't notice these signs there may still be a problem as addicts can be very successful at hiding their habits. 

It's hard to get away from alcohol as the party season approaches - from boozy chocolates to a quick Christmas tipple, there is temptation everywhere. If you think your partner has an alcohol problem or just always seems to have one too many drinks, the first step is communication. Tell them how their drinking upsets you - this can be a great motivation to stop.

Ask them to look at the following questions, which can help them see the effects alcohol is having on them and other people.
  • Are you drinking more and more often? 
  • Have you tried to reduce or stop drinking without success? 
  • Do you use alcohol to help you relax or feel better? 
  • Have friends and family made comments about your drinking? 
  • Have you dropped friends because of your drinking? 
  • Do you feel confused or depressed in the morning? 
  • Do you ever crave alcohol? 
  • Do you regularly blackout when drinking? 
If you don't feel able to resolve the problem between the two of you, you should consider getting expert help and support. There are many support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous who will understand and be able to help. Likewise an experienced counselling psychologist will be able to help you both get to the root of the drinking and cope with the season ahead.

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