Bottled Up

Help and Support for people living with an alcoholicProfessional therapists bringing you their 
unique experience of both sides of the problem.

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A new series of videos

13 May 2013 6:40 PM | John McMahon (Administrator)
This is the beginning of a new series of videos called Burning Questions You Want to Ask Your Drinker.

In this series Lou will put some burning questions to John who will try and shed some light on the questions that you wish you could ask your own drinker.  The first two are called Introduction to Burning Questions and How Can He Say He Loves Me and Drink the Way He Does?

Introduction to Burning Questions

How Can He Say He Loves Me and Drink the Way He Does?

Leave us a comment.  We would love to hear from you.


  • 14 May 2013 10:19 AM | Kate
    John, what made you finally stop drinking?
    Lou, why didn't you leave your drinker (sooner) when it became untenable to live/run a family home any more?
    Both, I (finally) told my husband to leave and to not come back 18 months ago when he drank himself into oblivion, once again, on Boxing Day 2011. The house has been peaceful and happy since, but I still miss the 'sober' side of my erstwhile partner and the children miss their father ... nothing will impact on him on the cost of his drinking .. and I know I did the right thing after 18 years of endurance .. so why can I not move on and stop the 'dialogue' that circulates in my head constantly and especially at night. How can I finally get proper, mental, settlement, peace, resolution now that we both have what we ultimately want most, (beyond my desire for a 100% safe, sober existence).
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  • 14 May 2013 10:45 AM | Kate
    I do like the videos and Lou is an incredibly gentle, empathetic person but I wonder whether she still has others she has to think of, protect and act on behalf of, when considering her partner's drinking issues? I have three children and their father's drinking was destroying our home, our peace and my ability to sustain family life. I really tried hard and stuck at it for 17 years, (my eldest was 15, youngest was 7, when I finally told him to leave and not come back 18 months ago. John's comments on 'why drink if you love someone' just make me angry (sorry John). It is a supremely selfish viewpoint to consider and 'treat' your own pain at the expense of causing pain in others, especially small children over Christmas (when I finally told my drinker to leave, take his drinking elsewhere (to the flat I had already provided him with and was paying for) and this time, to NOT COME BACK. How many (more) children would fail to make it to adulthood if their mother had put her own 'pain' or 'need' before theirs and simply strangled their little necks into silence, when she finally needed some rest and respite and to 'find' herself again .. that is what John is offering up as an excuse .. his pain over the pain he causes others .. as an excuse to allow/explain/justify drinking .. and it is simply not good enough. I/anyone who has to support a drinker needs a better explanation/excuse .. have you anything else to offer?
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    • 14 May 2013 2:01 PM | John McMahon (Administrator)
      Kate, Thanks for your comment, lovely to hear from you. We think that your comment may be echoing what a lot of people will feel when they watch this particular video, so we feel that we need to respond personally.

      Can we start by saying that much of what we share in our videos, audios and articles tends to be our personal experiences rather than our opinion. This is particularly true for this series of videos where John is sharing honestly and deeply about his journey. It is the unvarnished truth of what he experienced and he is ABSOLUTELY not trying to excuse or condone his, or any other addict's, behaviour. We fully agree that the alcoholic's behaviour is selfish and self centered, in fact John wrote an article about this ( However this self-absorption is a well-recognised part of the condition. The point we are trying to make is that it is much more complex than mere self-centeredness. (Although that does not make it any easier to live with!)

      You asked if we have anything else to offer. We are pleased to say, of course we have. In the Bottled Up members' section we extensively cover all of the questions you ask and many, many others. These videos are only a taster of the materials that address the numerous issues around this painful subject.

      We suspect that you are not a member of Bottled Up, but would warmly welcome you to come and join us where you may get some answers to the issues that you still seem to be wrestling with. We recognise that living with, and loving, a problem drinker leaves a painful legacy and we salute your courage in this difficult journey.
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      • 23 May 2013 2:15 PM | Kate
        Thanks Lou, John. So caring ... I must try and let some of my own anger go .. but I've suppressed it for so long, now that the 'cat is out of the bag' so to speak it just wells up uncontrollably at times and I want to SCREAM .. but I don't and I don't talk to friends either .. so the vent online is a great release. It really helps me to release before the kids come in from school so that I can be 'normal' Mum again and not all angry and tense about the past, my drinker's drinking, the collapse of my family life etc. .

        I will read John's article and 'no' I'm not a member .. not yet anyway and I'm not quite sure why not .. but I'm sure there is some deep psychological reason for it like not wanting to formally 'admit'/join commit to anything that actually labels me as married/linked to a proper problem drinker. I don't know why but I just don't want to admit, even now, that we're not, never were, the normal happy, functioning Enid Blyton family of my dreams, but one thing that this journey has taught me is to LISTEN to my heart and if it's not right, RIGHT NOW, then do what you feel comfortable with to fix it. I don't feel comfortable yet in going public (to myself or others) with my admittance/acceptance that mine was a flawed family life.

        But I have been 'stalking' you and the site for a long time ... it's good to be able to just 'dip' in and taste something when I feel the need to release silently, a little, on line .. usually at the end of a long week and before the kids come in from school. Thank you for that and thank you too for your honesty and generosity in allowing 'tourists' and 'daytrippers' like me to drop in and 'talk'.
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  • 14 May 2013 3:45 PM | Anonymous
    Thank you John and Lou for providing a safe place to come to when everything else seems so overwhelming. You give me the courage to seek professional help with or without the problem drinker in my life.
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  • 14 May 2013 8:33 PM | Georgann
    After finding that my husband has been sneaking shots of vodka after having beer and wine, I am thankful that you posted this. I need information and this seems to be the best place to find it. Please continue and thank you for your work.
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  • 14 May 2013 9:43 PM | esther
    I like this idea very much .The fact that John is being so honest regardless of how selfish it makes him look is great, it's how he was as an alcoholic and that's what I want to understand.I know my son was never so thoughtless before alcoholism took over his life but boy he majors in selfishness now.I look forward to next video .
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    • 14 May 2013 10:25 PM | Rosy
      I tend to agree with your statement about your son. In my son's case it's a roller coaster ride of selfishness, unpredictability, thoughtlessness, abandonment, secrecy, lack of self-esteem (on his part), depression (on his part), evasiveness, ignoring, rambunctiousness, excessively loud vocally, creative to excess, demanding, controlling, belittling, embarrassing etc. I have to roll with the punches and I know this is not easy for you. I also look forward to the next video as to what makes my alcoholic tick with regards to finding out more information. As a mother I have to keep reminding myself I'm not the target and it really is not my fault in raising him as he received almost everything any normal child needed both materially, emotionally and physically from me as the mom. He never came from a broken home, he lived in a nice home, went to good schools, became well-educated to a point, was involved in sports and music, had lots of friends socially (where it all started). I really have adopted the attitude of caring for myself and my husband. I find it very satisfying when my son is sober since then he acts somewhat like my true son, but I'm also finding his personality has changed since he is a drinker and MJ user. Keep the faith and take care of yourself.
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      • 16 May 2013 6:54 PM | esther
        Most of what you say could be my son you are talking about.Like your son mine came from a happy stable home.We have 2 other adult children both happy in their lives.However i think their happy regular lives somehow makes it more difficult for my alcoholic.I still love him worry endlessly and only now feel it is time I step back and let him live his own life which is on a downward slope.So glad you are brave and putting yourself and husband first.Yes important to keep the faith where there is life there's always hope.
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  • 14 May 2013 10:37 PM | Rosy
    Thanks John and Lou. Much of what you present in these videos is both informative and genuinely helpful. If you could include the questions from the Webinar in your next upcoming videos since the answers were lost in translation due to technical difficulties they would give me as a non-drinker more insight as to various feelings that the drinker is experiencing as to the whys and reasons as well as the thinking processes and the actual cycle of denial and continued addiction. You have addressed some of these in this last few videos and I want to thank you for that sharing. It was very helpful. I'm aware that part of the Alcoholism and it's symptoms are that of selfishness or self-centeredness and I've finally come to grips with those issues and have learned to accept them although I don't agree with making myself a martyr over this fact. I genuinely have learned to love our drinker much more at the unconditional love level and always will remember our son for the way he really is. I think I've reached a turning point in this awareness.
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