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Alcoholic friend

(101 Posts)
Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 01:32:52

I’m after some advice please. I have a friend who is a functioning alcoholic and her husband is too. She is in complete denial. The state she gets in regularly, in front of her children, is awful. When in those states she has no idea what’s going on, what’s she’s saying etc. No way she can care for children (although they are tweens and young teenagers). Her children are always embarrassed and sad. I’ve tried speaking to her but get nowhere. They’re wealthy so I feel slipping through the net because from the outside they are a very respectable family. I’m worried for the children’s mental (and maybe the physical) wellbeing.
No point in saying speak to them, I’ve tried and failed and they will not acknowledge any problem.

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Frownette Thu 27-Aug-20 01:38:18

Ok, so you talking to them doesn't help.

They need to take thiamine, for starters.

Are they able to talk to their doctor? Would you feel comfortable contacting their doctor with concerns or adult social services?

Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 01:41:06

They don’t think they have a problem with alcohol. Ok not really concerned so much for their well-being as their children’s to be honest.

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pinkpetal2 Thu 27-Aug-20 01:48:37

I can relate to this my parents are both alcoholics but don't care and happily admit it. Nothing will change them unless they want help and they don't. All I can offer you to do is just support the kids. It's sad but don't let it bring you down because once they are that deep in to the cycle of drinking, ive found nothing actually makes them want to stop.

Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 01:53:19

Oh really? That’s so sad. The eldest child is only 13 and I feel as though there must be some help available. I see the children suffer in silence and it hurts my heart. I can’t talk directly to the children about it either. You don’t wish someone has done something more to help you? Spoken to your school or something?

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FredAstaireAteMyHamSandwich Thu 27-Aug-20 02:11:12

If you believe the children’s well-being is compromised, then you have a duty to contact social services, maybe this may make your friend assess her priorities.

Anordinarymum Thu 27-Aug-20 02:34:18

Don't these people have relatives you could speak to with regard to the welfare of the children?

If you are truly a friend do not contact the school and embarrass the children.

They are not breaking any laws by drinking, unless they drive whilst under the influence. I had a friend who is a functioning alcoholic and the children were always dirty and badly fed, but they went to school and managed to survive even though there was never any money for nice things.
Just be there for the children as a support and don't be a busybody. I don't mean to sound horrible here

Tavannach Thu 27-Aug-20 03:05:35

The children are already embarassed, and at risk. There is a real danger they will develop substance abuse issues themselves when older.
If you know someone at their school adk if you can speak to them off the record. Al-anon might be able to give you advice on how to best help the children.
Child neglect is a crime in this country.

Tavannach Thu 27-Aug-20 03:49:59

This might be helpful
NSPCC

BritInAus Thu 27-Aug-20 04:14:43

An alcoholic will not change until they want to. Even they, they may not be able to sustain change long term. I say this as someone who recently ended a 11 year relationship with a functioning alcoholic who, over time, became non-functioning. It is very very sad but please don't waste your time or care trying to encourage someone to change - they won't unless/until they choose to. I think all you can do is tell them you're there if/when they want support to address their relationship with alcohol.

Al-Anon is an organisation that supports people affected by alcohol (not the alcoholic themselves). They may be a useful starting point for you/the kids. Good luck x

yawnsvillex Thu 27-Aug-20 05:09:25

I am the child of an alcoholic parent.

Had someone called SS many years ago I would've likely gone into care - this would've been devastating.

My parent got help in the end, but had I been taken away it would've been awful.

Be very careful about the overall impact. Do those children really want to be taken away from their parents? You could make matters worse.

Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 09:43:50

I’m not sure suggesting I’m a busybody is particularly helpful. I wish anyone would have taken some responsibility in the ten years this has been going on. I simply asked for advice.

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Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 09:44:59

I totally understand this and this is why I have not called SS in the decade it’s been going on. Thank you for making me see this is the correct decision because I’ve often doubted myself

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Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 09:46:24

Thank you and you’re correct, I have given up trying to help by talking, it’s exhausting and gets me nowhere.

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Ginfordinner Thu 27-Aug-20 09:50:15

If you believe the children’s well-being is compromised, then you have a duty to contact social services, maybe this may make your friend assess her priorities

Social services will want to support the family and keep them together. They only remove children in the most extreme circumstances. Talking to relatives and the school might be an idea as well.

Talking to the alcoholics themselves won't make any difference at all. My BIL died recently from cirrhosis of the liver. He was an alcoholic.

Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 09:55:44

I’m so sorry to hear that.
I am really torn between acting or not. Sometimes I think if I allow it to carry on further one day I will have huge regrets that I didn’t help. Other times I think if I do something it could end in disaster. Mostly I’m just angry it’s me, and not them, who is caring about their children’s mental health.

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AlternateName Thu 27-Aug-20 09:59:11

Anordinarymum

Don't these people have relatives you could speak to with regard to the welfare of the children?

If you are truly a friend do not contact the school and embarrass the children.

They are not breaking any laws by drinking, unless they drive whilst under the influence. I had a friend who is a functioning alcoholic and the children were always dirty and badly fed, but they went to school and managed to survive even though there was never any money for nice things.
Just be there for the children as a support and don't be a busybody. I don't mean to sound horrible here

You do sound horrible, actually. The children have NOTHING to be embarrassed about, they need help. The OP worrying about them and wanting to do something doesn't make her a busybody, it makes her a decent person. Unlike you.

AlternateName Thu 27-Aug-20 10:03:50

How well do you know this family, @Waypastmybedtime? Do you live nearby? How often do you see them? Do you have children at school with their DCs? Are you close enough friends to video them drunk and show them the footage when they are sober? How many other people are aware of the situation?

In addition to the impact on the children's mental health and self-esteem, if both parents are out of it from drinking then the younger children are at risk of neglect and physical harm. How old is the youngest? Do the parents drive drunk/hungover with the children? If so, you could report that anonymously to the local police. Are the children missing activities or school, or being late regularly, because the parents are too drunk/hung over to get them there?

Ginfordinner Thu 27-Aug-20 10:05:15

I was also wondering if the parents are driving the children around when drunk.

PurpleDaisies Thu 27-Aug-20 10:06:24

I am really torn between acting or not.

If you have any worry that the children are suffering, you need to call SS. They will investigate and determine what needs to be done.

Grandmi Thu 27-Aug-20 10:11:31

You really do need to contact their family if you know them well enough ,or mutual friends . Too much for a thirteen year old to deal with or comprehend. I think I would be considering social services for the wellbeing of the whole family. Imagine if there was an emergency and the parents too pissed to act quickly...doesn’t bare thinking about TBH !

ilovemydogandMrObama Thu 27-Aug-20 10:22:15

A close friend of mine is an alcoholic.

She now doesn't drink, but to get to that stage was really difficult, and I had to examine my own relationship with alcohol.

There was one evening where she was being rather dreadful, and I recorded her, with her permission, and a few days later when she was sober, I played it to her. She was horrified, although she did remember parts of the conversation.

Am not really sure what turned her around, but she at one stage have to go into hospital to come off alcohol under medical supervision.

For me what helped my friend:

1. Not drinking with her - EVER.
2. Doing other things that don't involve eating and drinking
3. Telling her that you love her, but you feel that she isn't herself when drinking.
4. Contacting AA.

But the sad thing is that she has to want to change.

Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 11:20:36

This is always my thought and I’ve often taken the children to stay with me and my family when they’re in that state, but I’m not always around. Unfortunately their family aren’t in the country.

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Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 11:23:52

She is my best friend. I see them daily, children same school. All friends are aware but look to me to do something I guess.

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Waypastmybedtime Thu 27-Aug-20 11:24:44

They do not drink and drive but definitely drive the next day.

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