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My Friend Is an Alcoholic, She Is Divorced and Has Three Children

My friend has just recently admitted that she has a problem with alcohol, she lives with her three young children of which the eldest has told his friend that his mum is always drunk.

She has been to the doctors and has been given tablets to try and dry out which she did at another friends house for 1 week. She has been offered counselling but last week on three separate occasions I could smell drink on her breath.

What can we do before she destroys all their lives? She also drives with the children in the car when she has been drinking. Her marriage broke down because her ex husband was an alcoholic and I believe still is. Answer

You need to sit your friend down when she's sober and have a serious heart to heart about her drinking and the consequences thereof - e.g. damage and risk to her children. And you have to be totally, even brutally honest, so that the message somehow hits home.

Because what kind of mother can she be when she's drunk? The effects of alcoholism, especially on children are far-reaching and severe. Not to mention the danger she's putting them in by drinking and driving with them in the car, which is inexcusable.

So you are going to have to lay all these things out, but speak from a place of love and concern, while at the same time not being afraid to tell it like it is. Tell her you'll be there for her and support her in getting help. Because there is help available. And if she's serious about doing something about her alcoholism, she'll be open to receiving it.

Then try and get her into an inpatient alcohol rehab program. Or if that's absolutely not possible, then an outpatient program, but professional and specialised help has to be a non-negotiable. G.P.'s don't typically understand enough about addiction and how to treat it effectively, that's why getting specialised treatment and advice is critical.

And tell her that if Social Services found out about her behavior and the risk that places her kids under, she could end up losing them. So you really have to try and hit all the right emotional buttons for her to realise she needs to get professional help immediately. But you have to make sure you talk to her when she's sober otherwise you're just wasting your time.

It's a terrible and frightening thing to have that kind of conversation with someone you love, but because you love them, you simply have to. Possibly get other friends and family involved if you can, and do a formal alcoholism intervention if need be. But getting her into a treatment program has to be the absolute priority, especially because of her children.

Best of Luck

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