I wrote a book on this subject in August 2010 to offer help to people looking for information, practical advice and support. The book is called; “Living with a Problem Drinker: your Survival Guide” (Sheldon Press, UK). Copies can be ordered on www.amazon.co.uk or www.sheldonpress.co.uk. The book is a self-help guide for partners/spouses and includes all sorts of tips to facilitate change. It is also available from all good bookshops.
Incidentally the Sheldon Press website has numerous self-help books for all sorts of other emotional, psychological and physical conditions. The family members who live with addiction are often extremely distressed, anxious and sometimes even clinically depressed. They live with inconsistency, fear and worry. They often do not know where to turn to and indeed wonder if they are exaggerating the problem. They feel powerless and may have very little hope of resolution. They are often treated with disdain and sometimes are subjected to violence of all sorts. At the same time they fear the label ‘Alcoholism’ and believe that the situation indicates a failure in the relationship and maybe even within themselves. They are often told this by their loved one who is drinking or ‘drugging’, or by members of the family of origin, in-laws and/or by friends. They are fearful of opening up to people about the harsh reality of their personal situation. They are also confused because for long or short periods of time perhaps, things seem to be ok.
They are faced with financial worries, childcare issues and shame. There are often sexual problems and issues around intimacy.
They worry about all sorts of things, for example, that the children will be badly affected in the short and long terms and they get very run down and tired without help. Families are all unique and the way individuals are affected by addiction is also unique. Sometimes there are complex and specific family dynamics that need to be explored and resolved if possible. When a family member comes for counselling they come in their own right. Much of the discussion will involve their own background, coping mechanisms, interests and activities rather than exclusively on their loved one’s behaviour. They are often encouraged to go to the self-help groups; Al-Anon (for adult family members of someone who is dependent on alcohol) or Al-Ateen for the teenage children.
Contact Al-Anon and Al-Ateen Tel; 8732699 and website; www.al-anon-ireland.org
The Rise Foundation is a charity that runs courses for family members affected by addiction. They have non-residential and residential places available. They employ professional Counsellors who are very empathic and professional.
Contact; Tel; 7645131 and website; www.therisefoundation.ie