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September 8, 2011

Living with an Alcoholic – follow up story

by Val Reynolds
Alcoholism affects everyone in a family

Alcoholism affects everyone in a family

We have had several readers writing in following our feature Living with an Alcoholic published in May this year and here is another account we have received

When I heard about the death of the husband of a dear friend of mine I was shocked. Stewart was a charming, very active and creative man. He had suffered a massive heart attack. He was 70 years old.

Born in India to English parents he and his siblings were sent to what are referred to as lesser public schools when the family returned to England.

Stewart served in the British army in the Far East, he was caught and interned by the Japanese.

When he returned home the three children were away at school and his wife had become a well known architect.

Not unusually, Stewart was a drinker, which became heavier as time passed. He travelled to London three times a week by train from Gloucestershire. His behaviour was such that he used to be taken to Paddington station and put on the train by the taxi driver. He would be met by another taxi driver in deepest Gloucestershire who would drive him home and help him into the house.

He usually managed the stairs  but if not his wife would cover him with a blanket and leave him there, after all she couldn’t move him.

He had promised over and over to stop drinking, but his wife knew he hadn’t stopped as she found bottles hidden all over the house, even finding one in his dressing gown that hung on the bathroom door.

She often spoke of the stress of living with an alcoholic and said her doctor had warned that her her blood pressure was sky high. He told her if Stewart hadn’t died when he did, she wouldn’t have lived much longer.

As it was she lived for another 15 years but always felt guilty for not being able to help him stop drinking even though she did accept he alone was responsible for his behaviour.

Jean Jarvis, contributing author

Some websites offering support:

NHS Support
Support for Families and Friends

If you would like to send in an account of a personal experience that you feel might help others, do get in touch. I can assure you of complete confidentiality.

Val Reynolds Brown, Editor

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