Help required


A friend has just contacted me to tell me that a mutual colleague, who was in our company at Sandhurst, is in a bad way: he's lost his job as the result of alcoholism; is still drinking heavily; and, in the opinion of his girlfriend who is also an alcoholic, appears to be in such a pit of alcohol and depression that she's afraid he's going to die. I would very much welcome suggestions about what to do about this! He isn't someone that I know well, though he does live fairly close to me.

Are there any ex-services charities who would be able to intervene in this kind of situation and if so, who would be the best contacts to get in touch with? All suggestions very welcome.
All the usual 'general' organisations such as the RBL, ABF and SSAFA will have experience with this type of case and will be able to refer to other more specialist agencies. Combat Stress deal with alcohol abuse and depression as features of PTSD, and may also be helpful with information.

The place to start is usually the GP. However, many GPs are unaware of the help that ex-services organisations can provide so some background work may prove fruitful. To an extent much will depend upon how willing your colleague is to accept help; persuading people who are depressed or with alcohol problems that there is a solution can be extremely difficult.

Your colleague's local NHS Trust will also have Community Mental Health Teams who can be contacted for advice. Some offer walk-in clinics or other forms of direct access.

A useful document on alcohol and depression: Royal College of Psychiatrists
Combat stress are actially an organisation that deals with ex service personel with any menatl health problem. CPunk, one problem you may encouter is that if the person in question does not see that they have a problem then he may not see that he needs help. Therefore making it difficult to get him to appointments with GP's and Mnetal Health Services. It may be worth finding out what services are and if they would be prepared to make a home visit - I know in my local area the drug and alcohol teams do home visitis. Hope this helps, if you need anymore information please PM me.



Thanks for the suggestions. I spoke to Combat Stress this morning and they don't actually deal with alcohol problems: they need their 'patients' to be detoxed before they can get them into their programmes. They did refer me to the Ex Services Resettlement Association's Alcohol Recovery Project, so I will see how that pans out.

I think the problem here will be, as several have suggested, that the individual in question hasn't sought help himself and may not think he wants it. He lives about half a mile from me and I had no idea things had got so bad; he appears to have completely shut himself off from friends and family; and his girlfriend was only able to make contact with the guy who told me about it when she found an old mobile phone which had his number in the memory. I suppose I can understand why he's like that, but it won't make it easy to help him.


cpunk, has the guy been on any ops? Alcohol abuse is one of the recognised symptoms of PTSD. Especially if he is using it to self medicate. Not a recognised method of therapy here, but why not take him out and let him get a bit drunk, he may just be a bit more forthcoming about whats causing the drinking. One of my lads had a bit of a similar episode and I managed to salvage him. PM me if you wanna discuss in detail.


If he's in denial about the problem it is very hard for those around him especially his girlfriend. It is going to be up to her and his friends (perhaps you?) to persuade him that he has a problem.
One port of calll for him, as he is a civvy, is to get him to see his GP. He may may able to get councelling on the NHS.
As other have said getting him to recognise the problem is the start to recovery.
I've got a buy one get one free voucher for Jack Daniels at Sainsburys
MDN not clever or helpful - have you ever been in that position? No? I thought not. It's not pleasant.

CPunk - I suggest that the first port of call is the Royal British Legion. They have area welfare officers and an extensive network of agencies and contacts who should be able to help. They were outstanding in helping my mother in her final few years after my father died. They will have seen hundreds of cases such as this and will work tirelessly for as long as it takes to help the chap back onto his feet again.

I wish you luck - he's a lucky guy having someone like you who has taken the time to seek ways in trying to help him.

You have already had some responses with helpful organisations but one I dont know that has been mentioned already is Al-Anon/Alateen who are there for the family and friends of alcoholics.

All too often these people get forgotten and they too need as much help as possible. If they cannot get help then they cannot GIVE help to their loved ones.

All the best to you and I hope your friend gets the help he so needs.

Vik x


Sad to say that the person in question died last Saturday. He was James Howatson who was in Amiens Company at RMAS with me in 1985 and went on to serve with the Black Watch on a short service commission. A dreadful waste.


As you say a waste.
Sorry to hear that CPunk.

That's terrible news cpunk. RIP.

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