Today I had a consultation with someone I have previously mentioned in my blog, here

The person concerned is very ill physically. Huge swollen belly, jaundiced, stick thin apart from swollen abdomen.This is end stage alcoholic liver disease

The child protection proceedings continue.

They are slow, but inexorable. The parent has been unable to stop drinking, they have not engaged with the local alcohol support services. They remain in denial, telling everyone that they are ‘sober’ or drinking only a glass of wine a day. This persists, even when it is clear to professionals that the individual is intoxicated in meetings.

They refuse to see that there is an adverse effect on their child from being forced to live with an active alcoholic.

The family home is now for sale. If the home is not sold in a ‘reasonable time frame’ the social services will go to Court and seek an order that prevents this person from living in their home. They may remove the child since the other parent is also in denial and colluding.

The consultation was very blunt. They do not see that ALL of their misfortune; arrest, inpatient stay in a psychiatric ward, children’s social service involvement, being forced to sell the family home, being in intensive care, not allowed to spend anytime with your own child unsupervised etc etc – ALL due to alcohol. Still they will do nothing to alter the situation. …

I explained, bluntly, that it may seem as if SS have ‘backed off’ but its temporary. And they will not go away. They will ensure that the child does not continue to live with an actively alcoholic parent. Nothing will change.

Denial is a desperately powerful thing.

It’s amazing how we forget. And not in a good way. Here is an extract form a journal entry I wrote back in April 2013 after I got drunk at a family lunch that ExP  and I hosted. I don’t remember much of the later afternoon, as I was drinking from mid-day and cooking…I went to bed at about 7 – before my children – drunk – and woke at about 2 am sweating, sick and head-achy. This is what I wrote

“Sweating, Anxious, barely slept. Strong suicidal thoughts, imagining hanging myself, intrusive, persistent thoughts. desperately ashamed, amnesia, what did I do, say ? alone, isolated, twisting like a fish on a hook. fear fear fear. and stuck.”

I stopped drinking for 3 days after that. THREE days. I honestly wanted to kill myself because I was so ashamed, but THREE days later I was drinking again .

Denial is a desperately powerful thing

I don’t judge my patient above. That could have been me. I remember how difficult it was to think of a life without drinking, and I and so thankful that I had the strength and conviction to just do it anyway, and trust that it would be ok… I’m lucky; my patent is still mired in the gutter due to alcoholism .. what a bloody waste

Denial …


  1. Scary. I remember days like you wrote about. I actually think the fact I drank again after writing myself similar notes was what eventually helped.
    It crushed me. Maybe I needed that humility to drop the denial. I am always thankful I did. The alternative is not pretty.

    Hug. You are doing awesome.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had days like the one you wrote about, and I think the longest I went after days like that was 2 days without drinking again. Full of shame, remorse, disgust at myself and yet I went right back to the bottle again.
    My heart breaks for your patient. That could have been me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have an ex who is the father of our 13 yr old daughter. I saw him june 2 and he looked fairly well
    I saw him again July 1 and he is as orange as can be jaundiced and the whites of his eyes are yellow. I have talked to him briefly he said he knew. I said u have to stop drinking, I knew those were just words… but today July 7 he looks even worse. He says he’s been sick with flu or bronchitis and says he’s tired because he’s stayed up late. But I know this is due to him being alcoholic sick!!! I asked him if he is afraid his liver is damaged he said yes. I said would u consider going to the hospital and he said he doesn’t like hospitals. I am at a loss as what to do! Any advice would be appreciated!

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    • Dear Andrea, the jaundice is likely a sign of liver failure and he certainly needs to be seen by a doctor. There are many possible causes of liver failure, but if you know him to be a heavy drinker then this is obviously likely. You can’t make him get help, but I would not allow him to have unsupervised contact with a child when he is obviously very unwell. This is incase of a number of unlikely but possible quick deteriorations that could be horrible for a child to see. Sorry, I can’t give you a magic answer , but he needs to be prepared to seek help himself. You can only protect yourself and your daughter . Very best Lily 🌷


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