Support for families hit by alcohol

Brendan and Elaine Delaney
Brendan and Elaine Delaney
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THE harsh affects of alcoholism are not only felt by those suffering with the condition but also by the people supporting the individual.

Elaine Delaney knows only too well how alcohol abuse can affect people and their families.

The 49-year-old met her ex-husband Brendan when they were 13.

As he grew up, his social drinking progressed to total dependency and ultimately led to a chaotic life.

Elaine said: “Our daily life was ruled by alcohol, getting money to buy it, drinking it, sleeping it off and the moods it created.

“Everyone assumed it was only Brendan that had a problem but in fact it was the whole family and we never openly spoke about it.

“Brendan and I continued to spiral downwards over time.

“We borrowed money, built up debts, broke the law, paid fines, fought with neighbours and mixed with people we wouldn’t normally be friendly with and lost jobs.

“Alcohol misuse has a ripple effect on families.

“For each drinker there are at least three people who suffer from the direct consequences of the actions brought about by drink, for example partners, parents and children.”

Brendan quit the bottle at the age of 35 after suffering from liver failure.

In 2004, Brendan who is now 48, founded BRAG, an alcohol support group.

After meeting other alcoholics and their families at the group, Elaine established Famfair, a support group for affected others – what she became.

Elaine said: “Affected others usually spend most of the time looking for a cure for the person with an alcohol problem.

“They become carers without the benefits of allowances or respite.

“Famfair can’t provide magic solutions but we can provide a place were clients can talk to others who share similar circumstances. We know how angry, frustrated and anxious members can feel and sometimes talking can release the emotions that can build up.

“Being able to rebuild confidence helps members see their situation in a new light and eventually regain the strength to make decisions that at one time were too hard to make.

“We can offer support on your terms and if need be step back without feeling guilty.

“And while the Government have issued new guidelines about the amount people should drink, I don’t think anyone addresses them.

“If you drink on a regular basis, to analysis the amount you drink is too scary.

“Drinkers go into denial.

“These guidelines don’t shock people who drink seriously.

Famfair holds a drop-in session at Tudor House, Liverpool Road, Hindley, every Wednesday 7pm until 9pm and Thursday 10am until 2pm.

Famfair can be reached on 07772 833 544.