Am I An Alcoholic?

Posted on by Dr Khan

If you have asked yourself this question, it is enough to suggest you have a problem with your drinking. Is this the first time you have asked yourself the question or has it been nagging you for some time? Try Our The Alcohol Demotivator Tool

If the question won’t go away, what does that tell you? 

In the simplest sense, being an alcoholic means you have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol. You know you drink more than is good for you. You know that alcohol is liable to cause you trouble and waste your time.

You know you often drink when there’s no reason to. Your drinking makes you uncomfortable so sometimes you stop for a while, just to make sure you don’t have a problem. Still, it irritates you when family or friends comment on your drinking.

Most folks don’t bother to check whether they have a problem with alcohol, probably because they don’t. They drink alcohol when there’s a good reason, and keep away from the stuff otherwise.

They rarely drink alone.

They stop when they’ve had enough because feeling ill has taught them a lesson about the effects of alcohol. Or they drink more than usual and get drunk as a result. Next day, they put up with the hangover – they don’t pour themselves ‘a hair of the dog’.

Why not just give it up?

Alternatively, why not take a drink and stop worrying about it. If you can’t do either of these things, then you may well be an alcoholic.

That’s who alcoholics really are: people whose drinking causes them real worry, but they still believe that alcohol is their friend.

It’s not your fault: lots of people drink, but some of us pay a terrible price for doing so, if only we could admit it.

You don’t need to be falling down drunk every day, or living on the streets to be an alcoholic. Or will it have to get that bad before you admit you have a problem? Remember alcoholism knows no bounds, socially, financially or demographically.

Alcohol does not discriminate by class, race, or gender.

If you are an alcoholic – or you worry that you are – then there are two sobering (no pun intended) facts you have to know. Firstly, your drinking is bound to get worse and worse until you stop for good. If not halted, it will consume all. Secondly, you probably won’t be able to quit drinking for good without help no matter how determined you are. Or who you are.

You can get help now and no need to keep worrying? 

Contact us now for advice about your own situation. Remember, if you think you are an alcoholic, you probably are. Why else would you think it?

Alcoholic Who Missed Treatment Jailed For Four Months

Posted on by Dr Khan

An alcoholic who missed an alcohol treatment appointment ordered by a court in Plymouth has been jailed for not attending an appointment because he was in the pub.

The 54 year old man, who was initially spared a twelve-month jailed sentence on the condition he attended an Alcohol Treatment Programme for six months,  was ordered to appear before magistrates after missing or being late for four appointments at the treatment centre.

The court in Plymouth heard that on one occasion he did not turn up because: “he was on the way to the pub”.

The prosecutor added: “The view of the service is that he fails to take responsibility for his offence and there is no evidence he is reducing his drinking.”

As well as four months in custody, the man was also banned from driving for five years.

Wales Urged To Accept That Alcohol Is Everyone’s Problem

Posted on by Dr Khan

A new report into the state of alcohol abuse in Wales has asked for people to realise that alcohol is everyone’s problem and not to distance themselves from this ever-increasing issue.

The report suggests that the stigma surrounding alcohol consumption means that too many people are still not honest about the problem and its role and impact on in society.

The report, called ‘Everyone’s Problem’, has been published by Alcohol Concern Cymru and specifically asks Welsh ministers to pour more cash into alcohol treatment services.

The Welsh Government said it has requested more powers from the UK government to tackle alcohol problems, including licensing as well as minimum pricing.

“We would like to see a minimum price per unit of alcohol introduced in Wales but the power to do this currently lies with the UK government,” said the spokesperson.

“We have also requested power to legislate on alcohol licensing but this was rejected by the UK government.

“At a time when the UK government is cutting many budgets, the Welsh Government has demonstrated its commitment to substance misuse services by protecting levels of investment.”

Andrew Misell, manager of Alcohol Concern Cymru, said: “We need to be honest with ourselves, and recognise that whilst alcohol is a familiar part of most of our social lives, it is also a toxic and addictive substance.”

“This is not to excuse individual drinkers from personal responsibility, but we have to recognise that a society that uses alcohol will face a certain level of alcohol-related problems, and these must be dealt with appropriately and sympathetically.”

Denial And Addiction

Posted on by Dr Khan

The term denial is often used and associated with alcohol, substance and behavioural addictions.

The reason it is used when referring to individual’s addiction is that addicts use it consciously and unconsciously in order to protect themselves from the reality of their addiction and its consequences.

Sigmund Freud first touted the concept of denial in a recognised psychological way and explained it as an “a defence mechanism by which a person’s own mind would subconsciously hide the facts of reality from them as a way to perhaps protect their ego, or avoid necessary but painful realizations and/or life changes”.

Denial is a way of lying to one’s self in order to protect us from reality. Addicts often use it as a means to continue drinking or using to shield themselves from the outcomes of their substance abuse. All too often alcoholics and drug users blame everyone else for their addiction or deny the very existence of it, as it is extremely hard to come to terms with the fact they are addicts.

Sigmund Freud said that denial is actively used when “a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.”

In a way, it’s as if a person in denial is lying to themselves, but according to the concept, when we are in denial we’re pathologically rejecting reality.  That is to say, a person who is in denial isn’t consciously lying because they don’t even know the truth as their own mind has hidden it from them.

The ability to deny allows addicts to continue their behaviour and somehow justify it in their own brain that they are ‘okay’ and can control their addict, despite massive and overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Breaking denial is one of the hardest mental obstacles to do, hence why addiction is such a difficult thing to overcome.

Often, denial in addicts can often be broken down during intervention where friends and family’s persuasive words and actions can cause full realisation in the addict and reduce or eliminate denial all together.

The twelve-step program used firstly by Alcoholics Anonymous  – and now adopted by other recovery groups associated with addictive and compulsive behaviour – uses a system where addicts need to address their denial and the program is designed in order to do this.

Indeed, the very first step in the programme which is: 

“We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable” focuses on the addict eliminating denial and accepting their addiction.

Acceptance and therefore the lifting of denial that the person has an addiction is necessary in order for treatment of the addictive behaviour and recovery.

Denial gets stronger the longer the addiction and the greater the likelihood that residential rehab is needed for the individual to come to terms with their addiction and then start the process of recovery.

Often, many people are still in denial EVEN WHEN THEY ENTER REHAB because they have done so in order to allay family or friends fears. Any good rehab will recognise this, treat accordingly and the client will accept their addiction during their time in rehab.

Leading Addictions Expert Slams Russian Gay Rehab

Posted on by Dr Khan

A leading drug and alcohol rehabilitation expert has expressed his dismay and shock and questioned the professionalism of some of the world’s most famous rehabs in treating ‘addictions’ and changing people’s behaviour in light of the recent story about a dad putting his son in to rehab to stop him being gay.

Mr McLean’s comments come after the breaking story of a 16-year-old boy from Moscow who has been medicated against his will at a drug rehab clinic – for being gay.

Addictions expert John McLean, head of Abbeycare Foundation, a rehab based in Scotland, said: “I feel sorry for this boy and outraged that this rehab has even considered yet attempted to treat this boy for a so-called ‘addiction’. The gay community – as well as many other right-minded people – are outraged by this and I condemn the father’s behaviour too. Being gay is not an addiction and to try and treat it as if is in an addiction using drugs and therapy is nothing short of lunacy and barbaric.”

The incident happened when the boy told his friends and family that he was gay. The boy’s father reacted furiously and sent him to the clinic where he hoped it would change his son’s mind – or least force him into changing his mind.

The story has caused wide outrage in the Russia with human rights activists campaigning outside the clinic.

Mr McLean is a leading interventionalist, therapist and addictions expert and has been working in the field for over 25 years, treating people at his addictions clinic in Ayrshire as well as travelling the world training other rehabs in alcohol and drug treatment.

“Psycho-social interventions only work to changed either learned-behaviour or addictive illnesses as they are cognitive in terms of compulsive and obsessive behaviour. You sexual orientation is not a compulsion, addiction or something that can be treated. I’m disgusted by the clinic for even taking the boy in never mind giving him medications to treat this. It’s nothing short of an ill-attempt at brain-washing and the rehab should be investigated and disciplined for this. Too many rehabs out there are just fancy hotels and holiday retreats and are simply in it for money. Proper rehabs such as Abbeycare would never even consider this and in fact, would report such behaviour by parents as neglect and abuse should it occur in the UK.

Does Eastenders’ Lauren Branning Need Rehab?

Posted on by Dr Khan

Need Help? Call 24/7: 01603 513 091


Eastenders character Lauren Branning has been battling the booze for some time now and things are coming to a head. Her alcoholic behaviour has got her it to tons of bother and, like a lot of teenagers, things will only get worse unless something or someone intervenes.

Jacqueline Jossa 2016 (Lauren_Branning)
Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning Character in Eastenders)

To beat the booze, a rehab has outlined Lauren’s life if she chooses to get help now and how her life can change for the better.

The actress who plays Lauren, Jacqueline Jossa, told the Sun recently:

“I am loving the drinking storyline. It is fun to play around with. You can take what your friends are like drunk and what you are like drunk and then just what you would imagine Lauren is like drunk and add it all together.”

However, the actress knows when to stop drinking in real life unlike her onscreen character.

“You do not drink just for the sake of drinking, whereas with Lauren she needs to have another… and then another and another.” Jacqueline told the Sun.

“I love Lauren, bless her. Sometimes I wish she would just have a lovely day or go for a holiday.

“Lauren is starting to realise she might have a problem, so hopefully when she does, things might change.”

Abbeycare Foundation rehab has simulated what life will be like for the character if she continues on the road she is on, and also what life could be like if she gets help now.

Addictions expert Liam Mehigan, service manager of Abbeycare rehab, said: “It’s a very strong storyline and the fact it is gripping the nation is that it is based in real life. Many parents struggle with teen drinking and many teenagers just don’t know the road they could be going down.

“Naturally, a lot of teenagers drink too much and then as they mature return to a healthy normal relationship with booze.  However, there are tens of thousands of teenagers who are just beginning a life of addiction and heartbreak for themselves and their parents. Ultimately, if nothing is done about it, their lives will become a complete mess, unmanageable and spiral out of control.”

The rehab has created a timeline of what will happen to Laura if she remains drinking and how she can get help to overcome her addiction and get well. Liam said: “The main way to help Laura is to make sure she understands that she is not alone, help is available, and that she can and will get better if she attends to her problem – a problem unattended will always remain a problem. With alcohol, it is a progressive downward spiral problem.”

Although all alcoholics can get better with help, many nosedive before any help is sought.

Here is how Laura’s alcoholism might pan out:

  • Feelings of guilt and remorse increase leading to shame
  • Secret drinking increases
  • Relationship with mother breaks down – blames the mother for all faults whether true or not
  • Relationship with friends breaks down due to impaired thinking, resentments and irrational jealousy
  • Low self-esteem, self confidence and self worth manifest
  • Drink binges length increases to 4 to 5 days
  • Aggressive behaviour leads to more trouble with friends and family and law
  • Tries a geographical escape to Scotland
  • Neglects eating properly
  • School and money worries increase
  • Loses interest in all other activities
  • Tremors, shaking and ‘DTs’ start becoming normal practice
  • Fully avoids family and friends
  • Decrease in tolerance of alcohol, i.e. gets drunk easier
  • All alibis and excuses for drinking are exhausted
  • Completely defeated


Liam said: “Once Laura gets to this point then there are two options really. One is to get help and begin treatment to turn her life around. The other is not hard to imagine: illness, insanity and death are the main outcomes.

“There is another way that’s proven to work. If she gets to rehab and gets the correct treatment, she can beat the demon drink. Change and understanding has to occur. Understand how she thinks, why she thinks it and then get the tools and techniques to not only quit drinking but to change the way she thinks and then feels and acts in order to live a positive, happy and meaningful life.”

And, here’s how Lauren’s life can turn around if she entered rehab:

  • Begins a medical detox to help with withdrawals
  • Therapy begins, starting with one-to-one counselling
  • Learns that alcoholism is an illness and can be treated
  • She learns that she can control her addiction and gets new hope
  • Feels better physically
  • Starts group therapy and meets likeminded people
  • Family and friends notice a change
  • Begins a journey of self-discovery
  • Doesn’t want to run away from The Square
  • Changes way of thinking about addiction and self-esteem returns
  • Continues therapy
  • Natural sleep returns
  • Employment and career opportunities open up
  • Head-in-sand feelings go away
  • Appreciates hope of new way of life
  • Develops new interest and a new circle of friends
  • Group therapy continues
  • Starts to face all life obstacles with courage
  • Steps to economic stability taken
  • Increase in emotional control
  • Ideals reborn and real values installed again
  • Contentment begins and starts to flourish
  • Branning family and friends notice an improved Lauren
  • Interesting, new way of life opens up
  • Higher levels of contentment than ever before
  • Back in Eastenders as one of the more positive characters


Let’s hope that Lauren can get the help she needs and stay in the soap a bit longer!

If you need any information on teenage alcohol problems or would like to speak to someone about your own levels of drinking or find out how we can help a family member detox from alcohol, please contact us at Abbeycare Foundation –  Call 24/7: 01603 513 091

What Is A Home Alcohol Detox Treatment?

Posted on by Dr Khan

Our Home Support Staff are Available 24/7. Call: 01603 513 091


Withdrawing from alcohol is one of the most unpleasant and toughest things an individual can undertake. The physical and mental demands of suddenly stopping drinking alcohol are hellish – as anyone who has experience them will testify – but they are also extremely dangerous.

Stopping Drinking With A Detox at Home

To help stop drinking and manage the unpleasant side effects of removing oneself from alcohol, a medical detoxification (detox) should be undertaken to ensure that the process is safe. Alcohol is the ONLY drug that people can potentially die from when withdrawing (caused by a seizure or fit), so a supervised medical detox is necessary in order to manage the withdrawals and minimise risk.

There are many ways to undertake a detox and they include residential rehab but many people look to receiving alcohol treatment at home detox – where a safe alcohol detox can take place using the services of specialist addictions prescribing nurse in your own home or safe place.

What’s Involved In A Home Alcohol Detox?

An alcohol home detox involves the prescription of a short course of medication, usually over 3 – 10 days which helps to prevent withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking alcohol. People often get shaky, sweaty and tremulous when coming off of alcohol and often have anxiety and panic.

A sedative drug such as chloradiazepoxide (also known as Librium) or diazepam is used to relieve these symptoms.  Getting a detox from alcohol at home is often suitable for those who have commitments including work and children and can’t take the time out to attend rehab. To this end, it’s a good idea to make sure that you have the correct medical attention and having a nurse supervise your detox, is the ideal way of attempting a detox at home.

The process for a good home alcohol detox should be as follows:

  • » A pre-visit telephone assessment to gather any particular special requirements.
  • » Home visitation by a prescribing RMN Addictions specialising Senior Nursing Officer who will carry out a full medical examination which includes:
  • » Blood pressure check
  • » Pulse and respiratory examination
  • » A full physical examination as necessary
  • » Bloods procedure/analysis as necessary
  • » Prescribing of all appropriate sedatives to prevent seizure and reduce withdrawal discomfort
  • » Vitamin, anti-nausea, anti-diarrhoea and gastrointestinal medication prescription as required
  • » Dietary advice and direction
  • » Strictly monitored support throughout the duration
  • » Prescribing of follow-up medication to reduce cravings (Campral) following detox – the duration and prescribing to be assessed on a personal case basis
  • » Recommendation of/an explanation of therapeutic aftercare package to remain abstinent using CBT/person?centred counselling.

Aftercare Maintenance and Abstinence

The last point above is crucial – aftercare has to be put into place. To remain abstinent, therapy should be sought in order to prevent relapse by identifying patterns of thinking and behaving that put you at risk, and by developing new ways of coping with stress and cravings.

Abbeycare Can Book A Detox For You

If you wish to find out more about a detox at home or arrange an appointment to undertake a home detox, please contact us 24/7 on 01603 513 091 or email:

Things Now Adding Up For Margaret After Stay At Abbeycare

Posted on by Dr Khan

Name: Margaret
Occupation: Maths Teacher
Age: 34 years old
Sobriety: 2 Years

Margaret had been drinking alcohol for over 10 years and when her life crumbled around her, she thought all avenues were exhausted but managed to come to Abbeycare for a month-long stay. Margaret lets us know of what happened and how she is now, after treatment with us.

Margaret said: “I committed to change at Abbeycare 2 years ago and, thankfully, the change has taken place.

“Before I reached Abbeycare, I had been to see my doctor on too many occasions to remember. I found him helpful and he had given me a few rounds of prescriptions to detox which never lasted long.  He also pointed me towards the addictions team, whom I found ineffective. Looking back now, they were completely lacking in knowledge – they really had no idea about how to get well from this illness.

“The addictions team seemed to be able to explain the symptoms of the problem, but no solutions, apart from cutting down and keep a diary. I thought, if it was that simple, my life wouldn’t have been falling apart. As a teacher, having an alcohol issue caused me all sorts of problems. The board were supportive for a while but as I never really responded to other treatments, I was getting into serious trouble. Eventually, I was recommended to Abbeycare by a friend whose father had been successfully treated there.

“My experience at Abbeycare was the turning point of my life. I learned so much about my feelings and emotions – particularly the fact I was often misunderstanding my feelings and acting out on the wrong ones.  I also learned numerous methods to control my anxieties, particularly emotional freedom technique (EFT) which is simply amazing.”

“I believe it was my anxieties that accelerated my use, then abuse, of alcohol. At first, alcohol changed my inner feelings of over-self-consciousness and shyness into me being extrovert and confident, but it never lasted. Before I knew it I was abusing alcohol every day, which lead to severe stress and unmanageability in every aspect of my personal and professional life.”

“That’s all in the past now and I now live a wonderful life, I really do. My life is now full of awareness and I now have the ability to live each day unchained from the bottle. My stay at Abbeycare hasn’t just sobered me up – it has transformed my life to one bursting with happiness, positivity and purpose. Going to Abbeycare has been the best decision I have or will ever make.”


Read More Success Stories: 

  1. John Reaping
  2. John M Perth 
  3. Peter’s Sober Christmas 
  4. Memories of Christmas Pasts


Client Testimonial – John M, Perth, Scotland

Posted on by Dr Khan

Get free advice. Call 24/7: 01603 513 091


I think it appropriate to record my thanks for the superb care and attention I experienced during my recent 4 week stay at Abbey Care for Detox & Rehab.

Like so many, I was in denial over my drinking problem and did not consider that I could be an alcoholic, so didn’t need help. This persisted for years until Christmas/New Year 2011/12 when family and friends plucked up the courage to address to me what was a very apparent problem to them.

I then realised how low I had sunk due to my drinking and how little I was enjoying life – in fact, I would have been happy for life to end! I realised too the stress my drinking was causing my wife and family. It was my wife who found Abbeycare on the internet and suggested I at least talked to someone there.

With great trepidation and a feeling of real shame, I phoned and talked to Liam. In minutes, I felt relaxed about my problem as I was opening up to Liam in a way I’d never done with anyone else. Twenty minutes later I was booked in for the 4 week session and I felt a lifting of worry & stress as I realised that I was doing something positive at last.

I arrived at Abbeycare not knowing what to expect but with an open mind.

Within minutes I was relaxing by the log fire as Liam took my details and formally welcomed me. I was seen by your doctor very quickly and began my detox that night. I can’t pretend that the first two days were not difficult but they passed quickly and I was then able to fully take part in the programme.

Throughout my stay the numerous members of your staff were fantastic, many of them recovering addicts and fully understanding of my problem. The professional therapists were educational, probing and inspiring and day by day I felt my ‘old self’ returning.

The set up of just eleven patients at any one time was ideal and many an hour was passed in the evenings in front of the fire talking about our lives, problems and hopes for the future, all in confidence. This was, to me, a very valuable part of my stay with you.

I returned home 8 days ago, a bit on edge about returning from the protected world of Abbeycare to real life but the transition was easy. I returned, literally, a new man. I’d learned to become less stressed, less demanding of life – just to enjoy it. My wife and daughter are delighted too, as my daughter put it ‘to have my real dad back’! I now live by the two mantras banged into me at Abbey – “Take it one day at a time” and “If you don’t take the first dring you can’t get drunk”.

I know now that alcoholism is a disease for which there is no cure, but which can be controlled. I am now 36 days sober and looking forward to hitting the 50 mark – thanks to your organisation. I know that there will be (in fact are) bad days, but I just keep busy through them and they pass. I look forward to visiting you all at your planned summer BBQ and to meeting again the patients who shared my 4 weeks.

All the best for the future, and thanks again.

John M

Read other Success Stories: 

  1. Magaret (Math Teacher)
  2. John Reaping
  3. Peter’s Sober Christmas 
  4. Memories of Christmas Pasts


Want the same results as John? Call 24/7: 01603 513 091

Is Alcoholism A Disease?

Posted on by Dr Khan

Drinking becoming a problem? Call 24/7: 01603 513 091


Lots of people think it is, some think it should be but many other people think it isn’t. We think it is a disease. Here’s a few points to add to the topic:

The American Medical Association (AMA) recognises addiction as a primary disease – one which is not caused by any other disorder. The American Psychiatric Association soon followed suit, recognizing the likelihood of relapse and the necessity of holistic treatment for addicts.

American College of Physicians, the US National Institutes for Health and the World Health Organisation classify alcoholism as a disease.

“Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking.”
American Society of Addiction Medicine

The American Medical Association declared that alcoholism was an illness in 1956. In 1991, it further endorsed the dual classification of alcoholism by the International Classification of Diseases under both psychiatric and medical sections.

“It is clear that alcohol dependence is as much a disorder of the brain as any other neurological or psychiatric illness.”
World Health Organisation

What do you think? Email us with your thoughts to:

John McLean 
Abbeycare Foundation


Concerned about a loved one? Call 24/7: 01603 513 091