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AIBU?

Friend Drinking In Excess of At Least 150 units of Alcohol A Week - AIBU to leave her to it?

133 replies

Prangie · 13/10/2022 19:53

She has drunk heavily for a long time.

I know she has hidden bottles that her ex husband found, and I suspect she hides it to an extent to her current partner. I called yesterday morning and she was pissed, it was 10.30am. I have brought it up and she lies and says she has cut back, or wasn't drinking, or only had one etc etc. I have told her I know she isn't being truthful and she lies again. She also works shifts (midwife) and uses the excuse she's been working nights when she has clearly been drinking in the morning - I know one of her colleagues and know she isn't on nights as often as she claims. (I am not sure how often she drinks in the morning, but she certainly drinks heavily every night she is not at work.)

I have also told her that this isn't sustainable. I am her daughters godmother, btw (that is possibly irrelevant, I'm not sure!) She clearly doesn't feel able to stop and, despite necking at least 2 but usually three (or one box) of wine a night (and possibly now in the day) she has a remarkable tolerance. How long can someone continue like this before the health problems are irreversible?

AIBU to not mention it again as it makes no difference and the only person who can change it is her? Or AINBU to keep trying due to her daughter?

I have a feeling it's the former, but would like some other views as I am getting too frustrated to think rationally any more.

OP posts:
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Am I being unreasonable?

218 votes. Final results.

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You are being unreasonable
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You are NOT being unreasonable
72%
cushioncovers · 14/10/2022 11:03

If she's drinking at work she will likely be chewing gum, constantly using alcohol gel and smell strongly of perfume to try to hide the smell of alcohol.

Is there any of her immediate family you can talk to about your concerns op?

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Badger1970 · 14/10/2022 11:05

From personal experience, the Police take reports of drink driving very seriously. You can report her car registration number via Crimestoppers.

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Prangie · 14/10/2022 11:09

I spoke to her mother a while back, she was dismissive and annoyed at me.

She genuinely didn't seem to be believe there was an issue. In retrospect I handled it wrong; I had met my friend for a drink and we went through 4 bottles of wine - I had about 3/4 of one, she had the rest. Not only that but she didn't appear absolutely hammered, more like a bit tipsy. That was one of the times she let her guard down and told me it's 'normal but I know I need to knock it on the head.'

I used this example to her mother who snapped that if I was really that concerned then I'd not be meeting her in pubs, and there is no way she'd be able to drink that much and hold down her job. This was about 18 months ago, in one of the lockdown gaps anyway!

I don't think it'll go better if I try and bring it up a second time either.

OP posts:
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MarsRoverMind · 14/10/2022 11:10

I've been your friend. I did not have a physical dependence on alcohol, but I had a psychological one. I also didn't drink every day (maybe every 2 - 3 days), and I don't drive or have children to be responsible for.

Therapy is what helped. Actually, after several years of therapy a different therapist picked something up that no one else had - that is what helped. I found the underlying cause of why I was drinking. This was coupled with another therapist showing care and compassion.

I stopped cold turkey (not advisable), but I had all of the vitamins that I would have had in an inpatient programme. I was lucky that apart from feeling physically and emotionally horrific I didn't have any life-threatening symptoms.

If she is drinking heavily, she should be taking B Vitmains for starts (and a good multi vitamin). What is her eating like? Starting by eating in the evening really helped me. I used to always have a milky drink too (in fact I still do). So I will have a protein and veg meal and then I will have a smoothie say with banana, peanut butter, and milk. Caffeine was an absolute trigger. In fact even now if I drink a coffee it is the only time my cravings come back. That and when my mental health / anxiety spiral.

If people had reported me to work, the police, social services etc. it would have just made me feel much worse, and ultimately made the problem much worse. Personally, I would not advice this route unless there are concerns (like immediate, life-threatening concerns for her daughter). I can't speak on the driving thing as as much i would like to think no one drink drives I've worked in a rural pub and know that she is not the only one doing it. In terms of her daughter, is her other parent aware? Is her other parent supportive? She will already by aware of what is happening, and as long as she is safe (minus the emotional harm) then this will have been the same situation that has been ongoing in her life for a while.

Our local alcohol services wouldn't take me as I have a mental health diagnosis - I had tried to reach out several times, it was very, very stigmatising and very, very upsetting.

How much support can you offer her? If she went into a treatment programme would you be able to support her through it? Would you be able to go and cook her a meal in the evenings for instance and just be with her during the first few weeks?

Re. being a midwife, I would be very surprised if her workplace were not aware of this - firstly the smell, secondly, the physical symptoms. I'm not sure what I would advise here - again losing her career may have a massive impact on her, but there could also be a huge risk to others depending on whether she is going in drunk. Can you call the NMC for advice? Or a nurses support line who maybe able to tell you what will happen and whether there's support specifically for nurses outside of the NHS support lines? It's unlikely she will want this on her nhs record which may also be preventing her asking for help.

Things can get better, you sound like a lovely friend.

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Cantthinkofanewnameatm · 14/10/2022 11:16

MrsTerryPratchett · 13/10/2022 20:21

Drinking that much means she's a clinical alcoholic and will be under the influence all the time, including at work and driving. You need to report, to her professional body and social services.

She will only seek help when she decides to.

True. Her body won’t clear the alcohol, she’s constantly topping up.
She’s a danger to herself, other road users if she’s driving and her patients.
Only she can choose to get help for her drinking, only she can choose to stop.
But there are people who need protecting —- her children and the public. I think you have to be the strong one here and report her to SS and her hospital / ruling body. I’d go as far as to give her car number to the police, they’ll stop and breathalyse. I know it sounds harsh but with her job alcoholism is so dangerous.

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VapeVamp12 · 14/10/2022 11:17

If you get rid of the people who work for the NHS who have drinking problems, we genuinely wouldn't have an NHS left.

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Prangie · 14/10/2022 11:17

Everyone; I have made the first move and filled in a form about the drink driving. My heart is racing!

I now need to psyche myself up to speak to her work - its not as easy to know who you need to get through to (and, OMG, imagine if she answered the phone!) and I don't know precisely which midwife dept she is in as it's a big hospital with a midwife led part and the other, er, part.

OP posts:
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Cantthinkofanewnameatm · 14/10/2022 11:20

Prangie · 14/10/2022 11:09

I spoke to her mother a while back, she was dismissive and annoyed at me.

She genuinely didn't seem to be believe there was an issue. In retrospect I handled it wrong; I had met my friend for a drink and we went through 4 bottles of wine - I had about 3/4 of one, she had the rest. Not only that but she didn't appear absolutely hammered, more like a bit tipsy. That was one of the times she let her guard down and told me it's 'normal but I know I need to knock it on the head.'

I used this example to her mother who snapped that if I was really that concerned then I'd not be meeting her in pubs, and there is no way she'd be able to drink that much and hold down her job. This was about 18 months ago, in one of the lockdown gaps anyway!

I don't think it'll go better if I try and bring it up a second time either.

Re her mother: my exh parents didn’t want to know either. They knew he was an alcoholic, they knew how awful his behaviour could be but they’d colluded with him to keep a pattern of contact going where they didn’t have to see it. They actually told me, when I called begging for help, that they didn’t want to witness his drinking. I think if they pretended it didn’t happen they could imagine it didn’t exist.
Theres no point in arguing with her mum, trying to get her to see sense. Took me a while to realise that!

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GiggleWhale · 14/10/2022 11:21

@Prangie Seriously do not phone up like this to report her to work.

Get the appropriate contact or go through NMC. Don't let her become hospital gossip for fuck's sake. And also they are unlikely to listen to you and take it as malicious.

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Prangie · 14/10/2022 11:23

I just want all posters to know I am really grateful for all the advice and replies, even if I don't respond to each and every one I am certainly reading them all!

OP posts:
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Herja · 14/10/2022 11:25

My dad and my late partner both recieved enormous amounts of support and compassion - didn't stop either of them dying from the drink. In fact, I'd go as far as to say the compassion was a large factor in their deaths.

Compassion and support kept them in work and as functional alcoholics for a decade.
The same compassion cared for them when they stopped functioning, kept them alive when they refused rehab. When they did agree to (multiple) rehab attempts, it turned out they were both taking booze to rehab (easy to hide a
bottles of vodka in the grounds while you enter, it turns out) - all that compassion and support in setting it up meant neither took it seriously. But that was ok, because compassion picked up the pieces each time they failed.

Problem is, compassion doesn't stop liver cirrhosis, nor smashing your own head in after falling drunk over a bottle of your own piss, there because you were to drunk to get to the loo... Indeed, it enables these things.

Compasionate TREATMENT is important. Outside of that, constant compassion makes things worse for all involved. Alcoholics not interested in recovery need a massive boot up the arse and tough love, not compassion. Or it destroys the lives of those around them. Addict parents have ruined my adult (and teen) mental health by destroying my childhood. I wish they had been shown less compassion and that I, as a child, had recieved even a tenth of that compassion...

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MatildaTheCat · 14/10/2022 11:42

Prangie · 14/10/2022 11:17

Everyone; I have made the first move and filled in a form about the drink driving. My heart is racing!

I now need to psyche myself up to speak to her work - its not as easy to know who you need to get through to (and, OMG, imagine if she answered the phone!) and I don't know precisely which midwife dept she is in as it's a big hospital with a midwife led part and the other, er, part.

I suggest getting the email address of the Director of midwifery. Also sometimes known as Head of midwifery. Should be available on their website.

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WireSkills · 14/10/2022 11:45

Well done on reporting the potential drink driving. I would imagine that the police will log her registration number on their ANPR system and if she passes a police car with ANPR equipment, it will flag up and they'll follow her and stop her for a check.

I'm not sure how you should approach it with her work, but hopefully a PP for future poster will work for the NHS and suggest who you can speak with. If there's a chance your friend could answer the phone, withhold your number beforehand and put on a fake accent saying "Oh dear - I seem to have dialled the wrong department - terribly sorry".

You're absolutely doing the right thing. There are so many people's lives that could be affected by her actions and maybe a sharp shock will make her realise she needs to change.

If she discovers it's come from you, you may lose the friendship, but you'd be doing so in the knowledge that you did absolutely the right thing.

If she doesn't change, then that's on her, but at least you'll have done what you can to protect those around her.

At the age of 11 her DD will be attuned to what's happening and growing up with an alcoholic DM will stay with her for the rest of her life.

Good luck OP.

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Faciadipasta · 14/10/2022 11:47

@Herja agree with you totally. Sorry to hear you've been through this as well.
Honestly cannot believe that because someone works with alcoholics they think they know them best!
And yes compassion should be first and foremost for the people around the alcoholic who they are bringing down with them, especially vulnerable people like their children or in this particular case yhe women and babies she works with.
Compassion is obviously needed in treatment. But addicts have a choice.

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EddieHowesBlackandWhiteArmy · 14/10/2022 11:52

Google the Head of Midwifery at her trust, they will almost always have a public email address. If you prefer you can set up an anonymous email address and then you can outline everything you know in an email explaining you wish to keep your anonymity as you would like to continue supporting your friend but know that she potentially poses an issue in the workplace which you felt duty bound to report.

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CustardySergeant · 14/10/2022 12:10

I am so relieved that you have reported the drink driving, OP. It was really worrying me that she could kill or injure an innocent person.

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Faciadipasta · 14/10/2022 12:28

I just wanted to say that what you're doing is very brave OP. Well done. Even if your friend can't see it you really are doing the right thing by her and everyone around her ----

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nevernevermind · 14/10/2022 14:37

MarsRoverMind · 14/10/2022 11:10

I've been your friend. I did not have a physical dependence on alcohol, but I had a psychological one. I also didn't drink every day (maybe every 2 - 3 days), and I don't drive or have children to be responsible for.

Therapy is what helped. Actually, after several years of therapy a different therapist picked something up that no one else had - that is what helped. I found the underlying cause of why I was drinking. This was coupled with another therapist showing care and compassion.

I stopped cold turkey (not advisable), but I had all of the vitamins that I would have had in an inpatient programme. I was lucky that apart from feeling physically and emotionally horrific I didn't have any life-threatening symptoms.

If she is drinking heavily, she should be taking B Vitmains for starts (and a good multi vitamin). What is her eating like? Starting by eating in the evening really helped me. I used to always have a milky drink too (in fact I still do). So I will have a protein and veg meal and then I will have a smoothie say with banana, peanut butter, and milk. Caffeine was an absolute trigger. In fact even now if I drink a coffee it is the only time my cravings come back. That and when my mental health / anxiety spiral.

If people had reported me to work, the police, social services etc. it would have just made me feel much worse, and ultimately made the problem much worse. Personally, I would not advice this route unless there are concerns (like immediate, life-threatening concerns for her daughter). I can't speak on the driving thing as as much i would like to think no one drink drives I've worked in a rural pub and know that she is not the only one doing it. In terms of her daughter, is her other parent aware? Is her other parent supportive? She will already by aware of what is happening, and as long as she is safe (minus the emotional harm) then this will have been the same situation that has been ongoing in her life for a while.

Our local alcohol services wouldn't take me as I have a mental health diagnosis - I had tried to reach out several times, it was very, very stigmatising and very, very upsetting.

How much support can you offer her? If she went into a treatment programme would you be able to support her through it? Would you be able to go and cook her a meal in the evenings for instance and just be with her during the first few weeks?

Re. being a midwife, I would be very surprised if her workplace were not aware of this - firstly the smell, secondly, the physical symptoms. I'm not sure what I would advise here - again losing her career may have a massive impact on her, but there could also be a huge risk to others depending on whether she is going in drunk. Can you call the NMC for advice? Or a nurses support line who maybe able to tell you what will happen and whether there's support specifically for nurses outside of the NHS support lines? It's unlikely she will want this on her nhs record which may also be preventing her asking for help.

Things can get better, you sound like a lovely friend.

With respect, as you weren't responsible for vulnerable people during your addiction, your advice is at best misguided and at worst dangerous. People have the right to drink themselves to death if they want, UNLESS that drinking is putting others at risk, which if you drive, have children, work in a critical role, care for anyone, it is.

That mentality enables addiction. Addiction is most successfully treated by exposing addicts to the consequences of their behaviour while also treating and understanding the cause. I say this as an ex addict myself. The only thing that forced me to change was having to listen day in day out to how I was wrecking the lives of those around me. Addiction is a cushion against responsibility. You don't want to feel painful emotions so you use/drink/etc to avoid it.

The OP is doing the right thing and I am relieved most people in this thread are not using this kind of enabling logic.

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Arewerelated · 14/10/2022 14:56

My family members lived into their 50s drinking up to this amount. Is her daughter under 18? Does she have a reliable dad? I would report to children's services, as well as drink driving and NMC.
I did this with my own parent. It was soo much knowing that they could kill someone driving under the influence.
Emotionally I think you have to detach I'm afraid

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Name99 · 14/10/2022 15:22

OP.
I think there is some confusion in what another poster has explained
AA alcoholics anonymous is for the person with an alcohol problem
AA al anon is for family members/ friends affected
AA (alcoholics anonymous )can not help a person who does or can not admit they have a problem

Unless she admits there is a problem no-one can help unfortunately.
Addicts are selfish and deceitful ( I'm an alcoholic in recovery)
She is in denial about her problem.
Reporting her to her workplace and for drink driving maybe the kick she needs to address this issue

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Name99 · 14/10/2022 15:39

Both organisations are completely separate from each other
But ultimately unless she admits a problem neither can help

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VoldemortsKitten · 16/10/2022 16:48

Hope you managed to find a contact for the head of midwifery @Prangie it's a hard thing to do but it's the right decision

As pps have said, drinking at that level will mean there's always alcohol in her bloodstream even if her tolerance is super high. her brain may have adapted itself to compensate for the alcohol but it will still show up in a test. I think the rough guide is about an hour to metabolise a unit.

You friend may think she is managing to fool everyone and she has it under control. It's really sad. I hope she is ready to accept the help she will be offered ❤️

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GettingStuffed · 16/10/2022 17:01

I had an alcoholic friend who died from total organ failure. I'd known him for 40 years and he was already an alcoholic when I met him. The last time I saw him, the week before Christmas 2019 he only had one half pint and said he was cutting down. He died 6 months later. We'll never know now. Luckily he had no family to leave behind.

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Fromthedarkside · 16/10/2022 17:06

OP. this lady is a danger to herself and also her patients. You have a duty to report her to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Please do this ASAP.

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babyyodaxmas · 16/10/2022 19:01

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00793zq/rain-in-my-heart

This is a good watch about the effects of alcohol.

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