Alcohol and Relationships
Alcohol addiction sweeps across the UK and affects hundreds of thousands of people living their everyday lives. In England alone, an estimated 602,391 people are dependent on alcohol: this is more than the city of Manchester’s population. Only 18% of people with alcohol addiction are currently receiving treatment, which is one of the reasons Help Me Stop was formed. Our mission is to provide the most affordable Dayhab and Online Rehab to people with alcohol and/or drug addiction. We are opening the doors to many thousands more people, who need help with addiction right now.
It is not always easy to spot the signs of addiction, and it can be hard to know how to support those who are suffering. When alcohol addiction takes hold, there are so many different things that are affected. From health to home life, work to all of the relationships in our lives, it infiltrates into each and every part.
Everyone’s addiction is different and there are so many different routes that lead to addiction, but there are some common feelings, thoughts, and emotions that come up in the face of alcohol addiction.
One thing to look out for in particular is the way that relationships are impacted as a result of this illness, and what those around you, or a loved one suffering, can spot and do to help. There is no one size fits all approach, but here are some of the ways that relationships can be impacted by alcohol addiction.
Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering with alcohol addiction, speak to a member of the team at Help Me Stop by calling +44 (0) 208 191 9191 or clicking here to contact a member of our team.
There is Life Beyond Addiction: Becoming a Mum in Addiction Recovery
‘I would be walking to work thinking life can’t be this difficult. This can’t be normal. Other people can’t feel as down as I feel right now.
‘I wouldn’t be able to manage the huge changes in my life that are about to happen if it weren’t for recovery. I’m sure there are going to be days that I feel overwhelmed and exhausted and in my previous life that would obviously mean turning to alcohol and drugs. But since Help Me Stop, I just feel excited, I feel I think what a normal parent feels – nervous, excited, waiting eagerly to see what my baby is like.’
Read and watch the full story here.
Alcohol addiction and the relationship with self
There are so many reasons that people fall into alcohol addiction, but one of the most common precursors to addiction is low self-esteem and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Of course, that isn’t always the case, but it is something we see frequently, and so begins a downward spiral.
It is common for those with mental health issues or low self-esteem to use alcohol as self-medication, to provide some sort of comfort and to ease the things going on inside their mind. However, what may start as one or two ‘medicinal’ drinks can quickly get out of control.
It is then that the relationship with self starts to break down further, both in opinion and reality. Alcoholism changes the way your brain works, due to the cognitive effects and the chemicals going into your system. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, which means it can change the way you view yourself, and it can even change your personality too.
Your attitude towards decision-making, risk-taking and even your own memories can be distorted and skewed, giving you totally different perception, thoughts, emotions and actions, than if you were not addicted to alcohol.
As a person slips further into the throes of alcoholism, more things start to change, attitudes and personality traits, as well as changes in behaviour, even doing things you said you would never do, such as lying to loved ones, taking money that isn’t yours, and generally pushing your nearest and dearest further away from you.
Loneliness can also creep in; when you have isolated yourself from those around you, either knowingly or unknowingly, you can feel like you have no one around you and that nobody cares for you. Isolation has been heightened further by the last 18 months, with forced periods of time spent alone and many turning towards alcohol to fill that gap in their lives. Equally, alcohol is seen as a social activity, and so the reintroduction of socialising and going out has had a profound effect on drinking habits and the way that people consume alcohol.
'I Have My Life Back': Dave's Experience of Alcohol Treatment and Recovery
Alcohol addiction in the family
Addiction within the family can be incredibly complex and difficult to deal with. A family unit can be disrupted, rocked or broken when addiction is in the mix, but there is support and help available for those that need it.
Relationships within the family are built on trust and connection, communication and unity. Whether that is a partner relationship, parent, child, or sibling, the foundations remain the same. Alcohol addiction comes in and breaks down those pillars, causing rifts and upset within the roots of the family.
If someone in your family is affected by alcohol addiction, it is so important to show them empathy and care, and most importantly, to seek professional help. As we have covered, alcohol addiction can be isolating and lonely, and the toll on the affected mental health can be huge. With our experience, we know it can be difficult to know how to be there for someone when they need it, but without them having to ask. We work with families to help them support loved ones who are in addiction treatment with us, whilst also focusing on their own wellbeing and priorities.
If you are suffering from alcohol addiction and you are worried about the impact it is having on your family relationships; there are things you can do to take action now. We know the toll that addiction takes on the family around you and how difficult it can be to talk to them about what is going on and how you are feeling. At Help Me Stop, we offer a family treatment programme so that you can get the support you need, and your loved ones can be included in the therapy sessions, to start to build back trust and communication, which may have broken down throughout the period of addiction. There are also community support programmes available for you to look into, such as Al-Anon and counselling sessions.
Helena's Experience of Joining the Help Me Stop Family Programme
‘Quite quickly after joining the family therapy sessions, it became a place for me not to just discuss my loved one who is recovery, but also to offload my worries. It became a safe place really, where you were not judged.’
Watch and read Helena’s video blog here.
Alcohol addiction and friendships
Alcohol addiction can put a real strain on friendships, and push those you love further away. If you are suffering from alcohol addiction, you may be feeling like you cannot socialise the way that you would have liked to before, or that all your focus is on having a drink, and you are not really tuning into the conversations, people and connections around you. This is a really common occurrence in those with alcoholism, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. If you notice this kind of behaviour when you are with friends, it may be a sign to talk to someone and to get help.
You may also be noticing pre-drinking either alone or encouraging friends to, and drinking alone when you get home from socialising. Either way, alcoholism can be isolating. You may notice yourself withdrawing from people because you cannot keep up with nurturing friendships as well as your relationship with alcohol.
By the same token, you may also notice yourself falling in with new or different crowds who have similar drinking styles and habits to yourself. This is a dangerous territory to cross as you may end up drinking in excess of what you usually would and falling deeper into addiction.
If you have a friend who is suffering with alcohol addiction, it can be tough to know how to support them best. They may be drawn to going out more, but at the same time, they may be withdrawing from social situations, but if you notice a change in behaviour around alcohol and socialising, they may need some support. Now, you cannot make the decision for them, but you can let them know how loved and appreciated they are. Addiction can make the person suffering feel alone and like there is nothing out there for them, so make it known how important they are to you, and make gentle suggestions towards seeking help. If they are already seeking help, encourage them to continue.
Our route of recovery is abstinence-based, if someone you care about is in recovery for their addiction, see what you can do to support their journey. It is a common misconception that recovering alcoholics don’t want to be around those drinking, and while that is true for some, it isn’t true for all. So, when you are going out, socialising, or having people around your house, don’t exclude the friend in recovery. Also, no jokes about being the designated driver, not for a little while, at least! And it really helps people in recovery not to question their reasons or decision not to drink – allow them the space and freedom to recover, without undue questions.
For support with alcoholism, call Help Me Stop on +44 (0) 208 191 9191 or click here.
Alcohol addiction in the workplace
The pressure of trying to disguise alcoholism in the workplace is nothing short of exhausting. It can be incredibly difficult to keep up appearances at work and to try and stay on top of your job and commitments while suffering from addiction.
Addiction takes hold of you, and it can be nigh-on impossible to function well at work, as well as to deal with the mental and physical battles that alcoholism can bring. It is important to know that you are not alone and that there is support and help out there for you.
While struggling with addiction, focus is lost elsewhere, so you may find your attention span is shorter, you are under-performing at work, or you are struggling to keep on top of everything. Conversely, some people with alcoholism have spells of over-performing, constantly trying to prove to themselves and others that they are on top of things. Many an alcohol addict has gone through phases of work addiction too.
It can also be tricky when a colleague is dealing with addiction, or perhaps one of your employees. It is easy to think that they are not doing their job or that they are slacking, but when you get to the root of the problem, and find out what is wrong, support systems can be put in place. Alcoholism is an illness and so it should be treated like so, with the emotional and physical support to help the person get better. Get in touch confidentially to talk about alcohol or drug treatment for you or your employee.
Alcohol addiction in the community
Alcohol addiction is all around us. In our family, in our work, in our community. Whether it is a neighbour who is struggling, the knock-on effects that alcoholism has on the world around us, and the crimes that can be associated with alcoholism.
Addiction doesn’t wait, and it certainly doesn’t hold back, and it is important to remember that it can affect anyone. Literally, anyone. So, the neighbour juggling two children, a husband, a job and a big house might actually be struggling with addiction. The man you see driving to work at 7am every morning in his brand new car, it might be hitting him too. The thing is, it can be impossible to spot the signs of alcohol addiction, especially in the early stages. One drink after work turns into a bottle in the evening, and soon things can get out of hand.
Alcohol addiction has a huge impact on the lives we lead, whether we know someone who is suffering or not. According to Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust, around 70% of weekend admissions to A&E are attributed to alcohol, putting a huge strain on the NHS and the world around us.
We know that addiction is an illness and that there are a whole range of routes that lead people down these roads. From stress and mental health issues to trauma and other factors, there is no one set reason why people fall into the hands of addiction, and so we need to treat everyone suffering with compassion, consideration, and care.
Help Me Stop
At Help Me Stop, we are specialists in dealing with alcohol addiction, and many members of our staff are in recovery to give you real and honest advice and be there for you, or a loved one, in the best possible way.
We have two Dayhab centres in London, and an online programme too, to help those suffering from addiction. Dayhab is a non-residential rehab, meaning that it is a lot more affordable and that you can integrate it into your daily life, as opposed to leaving everything behind for weeks at a time.
Our online programme is available worldwide, and will help you get the help and recovery you need, wherever you may be.
All programmes are designed to help you rebuild your life and to integrate the things you have learned and developed. There is a mix of therapy, group sessions, CBT, and the 12-step programme to help you rebuild, reconnect, and restart your life.