There are many different reasons why people drink or take drugs. They may be out of work or experiencing money problems, suffered a loss, have relationship or family problems. But sometimes it can seem as if they are going through it alone, and nobody understands what they are feeling.
It is not uncommon for people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction to feel all alone in the world. But, as the poet John Donne famously said, “No man is an island”, and, in many cases, dependency not only touches the individual using drugs and alcohol, but their friends and family too.
It can be both heart-breaking and frustrating to see someone they love destroy themselves and wish there was something they could do to help them. They can almost be as much a victim of addiction as the person drinking too much or using drugs to excess.
It is often the family and friends of an addict who can be the most vocal, when it comes to asking for change, and demanding better services. After all, they have witnessed first-hand what drugs and alcohol can do, and do not want it to happen to another family.
Those calling for change cover a broad social spectrum, from all walks of life. Ranging from ordinary folk to famous celebrities and even Members of Parliament. People whose lives have been adversely affected, as they have seen a friend or family member fall victim to dependency, and now they want action.
A Member of Parliament, for the constituency of Bury South in Greater Manchester, has urged ministers to move ahead with a decisive, far-reaching plan to conquer alcohol
addiction, following a personal bereavement.
Mr. Christian Wakeford, speaking in the House of Commons, opened about his own experiences. Namely, the problems his family faced, trying to find care for his older brother, who battled alcoholism.
Tragically, Mr. Wakeford’s brother Mark lost his life to alcohol addiction, when he was killed in a car crash in 2015. Spurning the MP in his campaign to improve help and support for people with a drug or drinking problem.
He spoke of how difficult it was to find services to assist his brother, which he deemed a `postcode lottery`. The MP then asked Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons Leader, if it was possible to have a debate in Government time, about drug and alcohol addiction and rehab, and the necessity for a long-term plan, to address the issue.
However, Jacob Rees-Mogg maintains the UK government is committed to publishing a cross-government addiction strategy, covering the entire United Kingdom, centring on alcohol, alongside other types of dependency.
But Mr. Wakeford’s plight, alongside his pain and frustration, only sums up how alcohol or drug addiction is widely regarded a family illness, impacting on every member of the household. Be they a spouse, parent, sibling, or children of the addict. Alcoholism can have a myriad of negative, and even devastating effects on family members.
Unfortunately, living with an alcoholic can be a source of great distress, and can lead to unhappy home life.
It is not uncommon for a partner or relative to feel a sense of guilt or stress, and even depression, at the sight of someone close to them succumbing to addiction.
An alcohol problem in the home can be the source of many fights. From arguments over a loved one’s drinking or drug use, to changes in their personality and how much money they spend, leading to spiralling debt. Unfortunately, a family member falling into addiction can also result in widespread cases of domestic abuse, which can tear a home apart.
If it feels sometimes as if there is no solution, there are still options available. The UK government has announced a newly revised Drug Strategy, to provide better assistance and support to the families of a person struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
If you are concerned somebody close to you may be drinking too much or using drugs to excess, you could arrange for a family intervention. Friends and relations can play an important role in treatment, through family therapy, and visiting a residential rehab programme.
They can learn all about their loved one’s dependency, develop coping skills and know more about support groups like 12 step programmes, to aid in their relative’s recovery.
There are various avenues open for people battling addiction, to help them deal with their problems. But, at the same time, many family members are calling for more to be done. Some are still demanding better services, and for someone to come up with a plan, to help those living with dependency. All over the UK.