Should a Pal Expect Unlimited Help?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Passed-over_Loggie, Sep 12, 2010.

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  1. I have a pal who's ex Army and suffering from depression. I've known him for over 20 years and we've climbed mountains together, trecked, travelled to numerous off the beaten track locations in various countries and had drinks and talked crap around once a week in that time Except if we've been busy or been away). He reckons I am his best pal.

    At the end of July, he resigned from his job because he felt that he couldn't carry on in his present health state. In reply to his resignation letter, his Employer said that he would have been fired anyway. As a consequence, his money is fast running out because he doesn't qualify for Job Seeker's Allowance. His Employer was also convinced that he was an alcoholic because of the amount of drink he consumed; about a bottle of red wine every evening and has done since he left the Army (2 NI tours). He can go for days without a drink and sometimes refuses it when offered.

    To give him a break, I invited him to my house last weekend to stay from PM Saturday to AM Monday. He asked if he could stay an extra day and I said yes. The closer it got to going home, though, the more agitated he seemed to get and began falling into deep sleep all the time, to the point where food was being wasted because he couldn't/wouldn't eat it. He became too tired for me to take him to appointments with his Doctor that I'd arranged for him. In desperation on Thursday, I called an ambulance because his depth of sleep and overall behaviour had become very odd. He asked me to pack his kit into his bergen and let me know that he was carrying 2 empty bottles around in it to "bulk it out" and to give it a "more familiar weight". True enough, he had 2 empty bottles; one of cheapish whisky and the other a not so cheapish brandy that's not readily available in the UK. Funnily enough, I had in the house at least 1 bottle of that whisky and and at least 1 litre of that brandy. I also found behind the bed settee a 1/4 full litre bottle of decent over-proof rum that is also not readily available over here and is expensive. Funnily enough, I have/had at least 3 bottles of that rum in the house and almost certainly not in the room where I found it.

    I would grateful for opinions on whether I should give him the benefit of the doubt? The hospital, incidentally, thought it would be a good idea for him to stay with me for a while; but I declined the invitation.
  2. Possibly not best placed to comment as I was never a spirit or wine man but I would stop drinking when I was skint, straight down the pub on payday with inevitable results.

    When I came off meds in 2001 I was straight back on the ale and the illness returned with a vengeance, finally managed to stop 3 years ago next month, have always been open and honest about my drinking problems but IMO your best mucker has not, if he is still in hospital that is the best place for him.

  3. Has he got PTSD or is he "just" an alcoholic? If it's the former then he should go and have a chat with Combat Stress.
  4. As Doc suggests speak to Combat Stress. They would be the best people for advice and help.
  5. In addition, SSAFA may also be able to help your mate, provide financial advice, or advise on other available support that he needs:


    There is a section listing local branches with contact details.
  6. Sterling_Stirling. Copied; many thanks. He's back at his home now, with about £30 remaining. Most of that will go on cigarettes, as a priority.

    Other than getting the help in place for him, my immediate worry is that the empty bottles could be a coincidence and that my suspicion about their origin could be ill-founded. As I say, should I give him the benefit of the doubt?
  7. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    If you have this man back to stay with you, YOU have to go completely dry and make him agree that you can pour down the sink any drink you find in his bedroom or anywhere else (like hidden in the lavatory cistern). His NUMBER ONE PRIORITY is getting alcohol. An alcoholic in his condition will steal any drink he can get hold of and will devote a lot of brainpower to hiding what he can obtain. Alcohol is making his depression WORSE. Once he is dried out. IF you can achieve this, get him talking. If the trust is there, get him to handover his money to you (keep an account of it) and accompany him when he goes shopping and pay the bills for him so thathe has NO MONEY to buy drink with. And get him to sign up for qualified professional help, including AA to stay dry. Otherwise he is going to die of it.

    I could go on for ages about individual alcoholics and how they wrecked their own lives and the lives of those around them.
  8. angrydoc Thanks. I've made initial contact with Combat Stress for him and I will report back on what the Hospital has told him. The next move will be for him to be in direct contact with Combat Stress; assuming that the Hospital recognise it as PTSD. Personally, I think that any alcohol dependency is a symptom of his problem and not a cause.

    TattooDog That's a good lead on the practicalities; thanks.
  9. P-o-L you have PM
  10. 21_Man. Thank you; greatly appreciated.
  11. Much as I hate to contradict Angry-Doc, Combat Stress will work with ALL ex-servicemen's mental health issues.

    Glad to see you have already been in touch with them.
  12. P-O-L
    never under estimate an alcholic.

    I have witnessed it very close and the depths they go to is unbelievable.

    May have been brought on by his leaving the forces /N.Ireland or some other reason--getting hooked on drink because he liked it maybe !
    Hooked is the operative word.

    The guy needs help but he has to do it himself and it will take LOTS of will power.
    Best people I found were AA take him along to see them soonest. They can relate his illness and give some straight talking. Then make sure he attends any other meetings they want him to attend

    Money--- make sure he your pal hasn't hidden his money for future bottles of spirits and also search his house for hidden bottles ,tins ,jugs anything that can hold liquid is suspect,Then search his garden and immediate surroundings . Check your house aswell he may have stashed some there too! Alcholics will tell as many untruths to safeguard their next drink !
    Once your happy nothing is hidden then do a deal with him like yes he can drink but its limited and on show . My own problem drinker was allowed
    one bottle per weekend Friday -Sunday then nothing all week

    Pity he gave up his job any possibility he can be given a sick line from his doctor might start a ball rolling for getting him some sort of income. SSAFA may help aswell.

    I wish your friend well and also your good self encourage him but
    always be on your guard --its his problem don't let him make it yours !!

  13. First rule of First Aid is don't become a casualty. If he starts to affect your stability/health fuck him off.
  14. I saw my pal this morning. He had a "good" result from the assessment at the Hospital and is very positive that he will likely receive the help he needs. Also, under no pressure from me, he confessed to stealing the whisky, brandy and most of my last bottle of Four Bells Navy, Overproof. He had felt bad about it all weekend, once fully sober again. I would say that took courage. I will, of course, help him all I can.

    Many thanks to you all for your kind advice. All very much appreciated. Also additional thanks to JonnoJonno and Greenie for the welcome words on self survival.
  15. Me again P-o-L
    Your empty bottles "it was me " confession suggest you tell your pal that you expect him to replace the items -it may start giving him a guilt feeling.
    It may also be a ploy to lower your defences now he's done it once next time will be same story.
    The post by seaweed has a few pointers ! Lock up your drinks or better still go dry .Go out to drink .

    As for your friend being 'sober' well if he's been on the bevvy that long
    he will have concealed any signs of drink or drinking .Could be a possibility you have never seen him sober !

    Be on your guard and do not make any excuses for him .Trust is a
    major part of any friendship and your friend needs to regain your
    trust and possibly your respect aswell.

  16. Bugger! You're right but I've already said that I'm not fussed about the cost, only the principle. I will be making it clear that he will not be invited home again until he has consistently got his poo back in one sock.

    Again, thanks.
  17. Thanks soleil; a good vector.

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