Your partner gets drunk with colleagues several times a week, manages to upset friends, family and you when he's tipsy and you hate the way he never seems to know when to stop drinking-if you've found yourself asking questions like this-you're not alone.
In a new book, Bottled Up, Lou Lewis-who lived with an alcoholic husband for 20 years, until his death from cancer in 2007-and her partner and co-author John McMahon-himself a recovering alcoholic who gave up drinking in 1984 after a serious health scare-explain how you can pinpoint when a partner, friend or family member's drinking is becoming a serious problem and how you can tackle it.
Lewis and McMahon devised their approach as a result of years of experience on both sides of alcohol abuse, reports the Daily Star.
It suggests that a gentle, positive attitude is always going to work better than bullying or browbeating.
You need LOVE and according to the book it stands for:
Let the drinker experience the negative consequences of drinking
Watching someone struggle or suffer is difficult for most people. However, protecting your loved one from any or all negative outcomes means they do not learn the consequences of their actions.
Optimise your time together when the drinker is sober
Although leaving him to experience the negatives of drinking should encourage change, it is also true that a drinker is more likely to be persuaded to change his behaviour if there is a positive incentive.
By offering alternatives to drinking, you are showing him that life can be good when he's sober, that you care - and that he does have a definite choice: it's his responsibility if he chooses to drink.
Value the drinker as the person you love(d)
At some stage you are going to have to have a discussion with your drinker about his problem. But be wary of what psychologists call the 'self-fulfilling prophecy', which says that people often behave in a way that is consistent with your beliefs about them.
In this part of the strategy, we suggest you try to rekindle the love you once felt (and perhaps still do) for each other.
The last part is to encourage and support any move toward change, such as cutting down alcohol consumption or a visit to the doctor or even rehab.