It’s fairly common to hear that, at the end of a tough time, someone decided to reach for a drink. It’s commonplace too for people to have a beer after work, a glass of wine with dinner. Alcohol is around many of us.
Chances are, too, that most of us know someone who has become dependent on alcohol. Chances are too that one or two of the people reading this article fall into that category. Appreciating that no Geeks Vs Loneliness piece promises or has miracle cures, hopefully there’s something in what we’re about to say that can help.
If we were in a movie or TV show right now, a scene would presumably play out with someone standing up at the front of the room, admitting they were an alcoholic, and rightly getting a round of applause. We know some people see these scenes as cliché, and the execution of some of them leaves something to be desired. But we never lose sight of the fact that it’s depicting something powerful, and very difficult: admitting to yourself, and to others, that there’s a problem.
It’s a huge step, for an obvious reason: how can you fix a problem, if you don’t admit there’s a problem in the first place? In truth, if you’re even suspecting that alcohol may have some kind of hold on you, it’s worth at least having a conversation with someone about it. Because, as those who have already slid down it can attest, it’s a slippery slope.
Most tend to agree what the signs to look for are. The Drink Aware website has a self-assessment questionnaire that covers things well. Appreciating that an internet test doesn’t tell you everything, it’s a decent pointer: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/selfassessment
If you’re concerned about a friend, signs to look for include the obvious ones (not able to turn down a drink, obviously drinking more, needing to drink more and more to feel inebriated). But also, are they becoming more secretive about their drinking? Are they less interested in activities that don’t involve drinking? If so, alarm bells may rightly be ringing. It can be tricky to bring the topic up, too, but as much as someone in the grip of alcohol may reject help and support, that doesn’t mean they don’t still need it.
What to do next?
Well, for good reason, Alcoholics Anonymous is a strong place to start. The clue is in their name. They’re not looking to out that anyone has an alcohol problem. They actually want to help. If you are affected by alcohol problems, or know somebody who is, might we recommend you drop them a line? They have a freephone number in the UK – 0800 9177 650 – or you can drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re there to help.
Even if you detect the slightest trace of a problem, it’s worth getting in touch. Their website is at http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk too.
Alcoholism is a complicated problem, far more so than we can do justice to here. If it’s affecting things in any way, please do talk to someone. Or talk in the comments below. And if there’s enough interest, we’ll revisit this topic in a future piece.
You all stay brilliant. And thanks, as always, for reading.