He always manages to upset friends, family and you when he’s tipsy ...and you hate the way he never seems to know when to stop when there’s alcohol around. If you’ve found yourself asking questions like this — and perhaps taken refuge in these same evasive, self-deceiving replies — you’re not alone.Women are catching men up in the alcohol dependency stakes. As ‘he’ no doubt keeps pointing out, there are times when he can drink and not get drunk.But you’re always on tenterhooks waiting for the next time he’s had one too many.
Similarly, the person who gulps their drink in a few seconds as opposed to sipping it over the course of an evening or meal is also more likely to be the person with the alcohol problem.
Recent statistics suggest that in the UK, one in 13 people could be diagnosed as alcoholic with the knock-on effect that 3.7 million people are affected by parental alcoholism and one million by their partner’s alcoholism. If you’re reading this, hoping the person you’re concerned about doesn’t catch you; if you’ve ever typed ‘Is my partner/friend an alcoholic’ into a search engine; if you can’t trust the person you care about to turn up to anything on time and sober, it’s likely alcohol is starting to take a hold.
In a new book, Bottled Up, counsellor Lou Lewis (who lived with an alcoholic husband for 20 years, until his death from cancer in 2007) and her partner and co-author Dr John Mc Mahon (himself a recovering alcoholic who gave up drinking in 1984 after a serious health scare) explain how you can pinpoint when a partner, friend or family member’s drinking is becoming a serious problem . For convenience, we’ll stick with calling the person you might be concerned about ‘he’ — but ‘he’ could be anyone.
The knock-on effect of the economic crisis has been a dramatic increase in drug and alcohol addiction.
In fact, according to a recent NHS report, one in three men and one in six women can be classified as ‘hazardous’ drinkers. Lewis and Mc Mahon say there’s a very simple test to see if you need help.