Alcoholic Friend drinking again - help needed!

Some of you may remember a few years ago I posted about my friend (and former colleague) who is an alcoholic. At that time, he had been in serious shit with his hospital and the GMC as well as a drink driving matter. He was sober for about 3 years, but I am now aware he is drinking again. 

I, and other friends, are naturally very worried about him and want to do anything we can to help. I really fear that if he turns up to work pissed again the hospital will fire him. They were really good last time, even redeploying him to a new role in a less stressful department and he was actually promoted last year. I am certain that if he is caught drink driving again, he will be jailed. The Magistrate actually said this last time (when he was given a curfew). If he is jailed, I am certain the GMC will strike him off. 

It seems that whenever a “punitive” framework is taken away he drifts back to booze. For the last few years, he had to do breath tests before starting work (every day) and provide regular samples to the GMC for testing to ensure he was abstinent. That all stopped last year, and he has started drinking in the last few months. He used to drink whisky but now it is beer. 

Is there anything we can do? We wondered about suggesting he gets one of those breath immobiliser things for his car so at least he can’t drink drive? Or maybe even discuss with his head of department going back to the breath tests? Clearly, he needs to go back to AA. 

We are all certain that if he gets fired, he will suicide. 

Any advice welcome… 

This is super tough.

When he's sober, have the chat with him.  He might want help but doesn't know who/what/how.

Alcoholism is a disease, and it's fooking dreadful.  Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to sort it out.

I wouldn't go to his HOD without his knowledge.  

This won't be helpful I'm afraid but there really isn't much you can do.  He really needs to figure it out himself and if you try to intervene he'll just push you away and avoid you.

One of my friends lives in a rural spot, she and her mum needed to stop the father from going to the pub so they removed the battery from the car and hid it.  He quietly pushed the (ride on) lawnmower up the drive and drove it to the pub.  He would keep drinking until he'd spent every penny and they couldn't cover the mortgage.

I'm sorry but an alcoholic really needs to hit their lowest point before they seek help (and their lowest point is well below yours or mine).

My ex hit that point after flipping her car and almost killing her kids.  Thankfully this was in a remote place so no cops involved but she learned fast to clean up.

Alcoholism is destructive and it's almost impossible for outsiders to get through to them.

If punitive measures work, do you and your mates have access to a breathalyser? You could say to him that he needs to do it everyday with you guys or you’ll be forced to make it official and go to the HOD. You are unlikely to be popular but it could work.

I think the first thing to do is to cut funding for health and social services as much as possible and to make it as difficult as possible for people to access support

Very tough Crypto, jim's idea might work, loathsome as it is to threaten to shop him.

Is the circumstances of his life any different?  Has he been through any particular therapy?  Addiction is a reactive disease, it usually feeds off an underlying issue or issues.  If nothing has changed its hard to see why there would be a different result this time round.

If you want to see him avoid suicide, and you are convinced he will top himself if he's struck off, whatever decisive step you need to take it has to be before he deteriorates enough to get in trouble.  It's bound to be easier the earlier you do it too  

Thanks, everyone. 

His life is better than it was. He has a dog which he loves dearly and has been a major stabilising force for him. Nothing has gone wrong to my knowledge and work wise he got the promotion and seems to be enjoying and doing well in his new role. I can't think of a trigger for why is he drinking now. 

He certainly seems to be getting worse with the drinking and I fear he will go back to spirits. He has been having the beer for a few months now and initially seemed to limit it to a few on a Friday night. However, he has been intoxicated on weekday evenings now and called another friend up last week (again on a work night) talking shite but also mentioned about topping himself. 

I don't know if any of us could go through with shopping him but maybe the fear may be enough to make him start to put things in place? He has a breathalyser from last time - work gave it to him for use at home before coming in and then they had another one he had to use when he arrived. They were really good with him - it surprised me. The driving does scare me - like I said the Magistrate told him that it would be jail if it happened again (I was in the court supporting him). 

Jim we don't work in the same hospital but we do live nearby so I could potentially see him in the mornings on the way to work for a test but how sustainable that is long term I don't know. 

It’s a really hard position to be in Crypto. It’s especially hard if he’s having suicidal thoughts. You must have a confidential employee helpline you can call for advice without giving details of who you’re talking about, they might be better placed to advise than a fat and bearded ageing copper!

I know no one wants to be a grass but in your days on A&E you must have seen the consequences of drink driving. I would say if there is any suggestion he is doing this you have to do something about it as you’d never forgive yourself if he killed someone while under the influence.

Call me heartless but I’d shop my own brother in those circs if necessary (if he nothing else would stop it obvs).

Hopefully it doesn’t get to that stage for your friend. Have you been able to have a frank discussion with him about it?

I hate to agree with the wooden top, but if hes got form for drink driving in the past, he will likely do it again. 

He needs having words with.  You might not be legally culpable if he takes out a queue at a bus stop, but you would be morally culpable knowing this could be likely but doing nothign aside from hand wringing to stop him. 


People that drink drive are cvnts. No ifs no buts.

maybe he's started back on beer because he thinks he can manage it and/or thinks he can get away with it.  

Have you read Muttley's thread about his son, Crypto? Much of the advice/discussion there would apply. Essentially, what Eddie said.  Your friend has to want to stop. 

Be ready to adopt his dog. 

I’m an ‘’alcoholic’ and managed to get it under control through a combination of 1-2-1 counselling, Naltrexone and SMART recovery.  


You’re not supposed to knock it, but AA is no good for most people.  The 12 step model was perhaps better than nothing - when nothing else was available 100 years ago but the science behind it is just non-existent.  

Sending your friend back there is no good.


He needs to get onto a combination of naltrexone and talking therapy.

An update on this. 

We all sat down with him a few weeks ago and expressed our concern and said that we felt it would be better for him to stop all alcohol for ever. Not even one beer on a Friday.

He was clearly in denial about his drinking (for example saying he only had a few beers on a Saturday). We knew this was BS but didn't push it. 

Made it clear we are just a phone call away (I live not too far). One of us is going to try to meet him weekly. 

We also said that he must not under any circumstances drive any motor vehicle unless his BAC is 0. He has a breathalyzer so he can check. 

A return to AA was suggested.