CASE STUDY: Robyn and Noah in West Yorkshire
“I’ve got to hand it to my husband, Noah,” explains Robyn, a 34-year-old hospital play specialist in Calderdale. “To hide his drinking the way he did – prior to seeking help for his addiction – required real ingenuity and invention. He was found out in the end, of course, as most closet alcoholics are. But he certainly had me fooled for a while. I thought he was only drinking about a third of the amount that he actually was on a day-to-day basis.”
Like thousands of other secret drinkers, perhaps Noah employed typical clandestine tactics and techniques like these:
- Hiding bottles around the house – under the bed, in a sock drawer, or in a cupboard for when a couple of covert swigs is simply too hard to resist
- Placing a bottle or two at the back of the cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink. Who really wants to look there every day? Taking out all those bleach bottles, aerosol cans and other cleaning materials would be too much hassle, wouldn’t it?
- Getting rid of the evidence (before their partner returns home from work, from the shops, from visiting friends…). Yep, the problem with being a secret drinker is that, as well as hiding your purchases from the off licence, you have to hide the empties afterwards
- Drinking while at work, as well as on the way there and on the way back
- Making a special trip to the supermarket at the oddest of times, to “buy milk” or something that could wait until the next day, and/or to fill up on petrol “while the roads are quiet”
- Spending hours-on-end outside “clearing out the shed”, or being alone in the garage “tinkering with the car engine” (“it’s the sort of thing I need to do on my own”)
And here’s a particularly sneaky modus operandi:
- Dropping off a few extra (secret) bottles at the recycling bank en route to work (rather than putting them outside the house in the recycling box), so that no one knows exactly what you drink each week
What most secret drinkers fail to realise, of course, is that their alcohol abuse is common knowledge! The only person they have been fooling is themselves.
Why being sober is best
If you are struggling with alcoholism, and you are in denial, the sooner you admit to your addiction and seek help, the better off you will be. Across the UK there are some excellent private rehab clinics that offer Outpatient Care, Day Care, Residential Care and Extended Residential Care. And, once your course of treatment is complete, you will still be supported by your chosen rehab clinic’s Aftercare programme.
As you progress towards the end of your rehab treatment period, the focus of care and treatment planning will shift to an ongoing support strategy, designed to enable you to prepare efficiently for your post-rehab life.
Reintegrating back into mainstream life is something that so many alcoholics say they fear most (when considering tackling their addiction by going to rehab), but you won’t be simply thrown to the wolves, so to speak, when your time at your chosen clinic concludes. Your support plan will be in place to offer you exactly that: professional support in the form of a personally-tailored Aftercare arrangement formulated to assist you in achieving lasting lifestyle changes – changes that will help you feel better about yourself, about the future, and about life itself.
Set yourself free
Once you’re home and sober, resisting the temptation to drink will take mental strength. But you’ll soon find that the benefits of adopting a sober lifestyle are enormous (and well worth giving up alcohol for):
- No more hiding, no more living a secret lifestyle, which most reformed alcoholics will testify can be absolutely exhausting
- If you have been drinking excessively for a number of years, you will probably have put on weight over that time – weight that is hard to shift. Adopting a new healthy lifestyle that includes enjoying a balanced diet as well as taking regular exercise (keep things gentle at first), is the best way to gradually lose weight. The benefits of this are almost too numerous to list. Importantly, you’ll find your self-esteem and self-confidence increases, and you’ll have much more energy
- Feeling more energised will help you get more things done, and to do them quicker each day, releasing more leisure time
We’ll let Robyn have the last word:
“Since returning from rehab, Noah has been like a totally different person. Now he lives life in a much more honest and open way. Not having to hide his drinking any longer (through finally beating the booze after a period of treatment at a rehab clinic in Lancashire) has set him free, if you see what I mean.
When it comes to honesty’s power in liberating a person, I think Mark Twain’s famous quote captures it all perfectly: ’The great thing about always being honest is that you never have to remember anything!’”
Note: All (Case Study) names have been changed