Working Through Alcohol Dependency

Not every alcoholic has trouble holding down a job. In fact, high-functioning alcoholics often appear successful on the outside. But upon closer inspection, it’s evident that a problem exists as many of these individuals can’t make it through the day without a drink. Like a trusty friend, they rely on alcohol to help them function, and the drug starts to occupy a central role in their day-to-day life.

Retired British footballer star Paul Gascoigne  is one of the more recent public figures to struggle with the disease. While on stage at a recent Northampton charity event, Gascoigne was seen shaking and fumbling over words in an apparent alcohol relapse. Terry Baker, his agent, confessed his fear that alcohol was putting his client’s life in jeopardy.

According to a BBC News article, estimates show alcohol addiction affects nine out of every 100 males and four of every 100 females in the U.K.  People drink for different reasons, but the common denominator in dependency is the fulfillment of a void or a lack of coping skills.

Experts agree that both environmental and innate factors can contribute to the development of addiction. For instance, drinking may be brought on by situational anxiety or a stressful life event. For Gascoigne, the moment of truth came when he was admitted for treatment shortly after he and wife, Sheryl, divorced in 1998. This initiated addiction struggles that continued for over a decade.

To overcome the cycle of dependency, addiction specialist Julie Rogers says that those affected must first recognize a problem and have a willingness to address it. Loved ones, friends, and the family doctor can all be sources of help. Relapse, she adds, is often part of the process, but the important thing is to not give up.