HOPE is an acronym (a word made up from the initial letters of other words).  However it was not an acronym that was chosen at random, quite the reverse.  It was an acronym that was chosen to encapsulate the message that Bottled-up aims to spread.  There is hope in drinking relationships, it does not always need to be negative.  In this section we introduce the strategy we call HOPE.  Like many useful things in life it is quite simple but very powerful if properly applied.

HOPE stands for

Assess the Harm

Survey the Options

 Promote change

Evaluate your progress

This is a process that should be carried out in sequence (see the diagram on this page).  First assess the Harm, Second survey the Options, Third Promote change, Fourth Evaluate your progress and if you have achieved the desired effect then stop.  If not continue round the process again.

The elements of this strategy are explained below.

Assess The Harm

Possibly you don’t think that you need to do an assessment of the harm that alcohol is doing in your life.  After all, you have lived with it and it has caused severe disruption, heartache and pain in your home. and you know the problems only too well.  We would certainly not suggest that you are unaware of the problems however we would argue that you DO need to make an assessment.

The process of HOPE requires you to carry out a systematic assessment, that is to look at the problems in a structured and unemotional way.  That assessment will lead to an array of options about how you deal with the issue.  To carry out the assessment we will introduce you to the tool that will help you focus on all aspects of your life.  That tool is SHARE and we will lead you through its use in later pages.

Promote Change

In this part of the cycle you will start to promote change.  The direct goal of the change is NOT to get him/her to stop drinking, or even to cut down their drinking.  It is entirely possible that these may be the indirect effects of your actions.

The focus of your change is to make your home and your life safer and more comfortable for your family and yourself.  It is not to wait for or on the drinker.

Some of these changes may mean setting boundaries and negotiating limits.  However we will discuss these issues in much more detail at the appropriate point.

Survey the Options

For any problem there are a number of possible options that can be applied.  The option chosen generally depends on a number of factors.  It would obviously depend on the nature of the problem, the severity of the problem, the urgency for a resolution, what you are capable of doing and what is actually acceptable to you.

We believe in the need to be realistic rather than prescriptive.  We don’t believe that there are any set solutions that can be trotted out any time a particular problem arises.  That is a dangerous and superficial approach that is at odds with the Bottled-up approach encapsulated in the goals which are presented in this website.

Evaluate your Progress

To know whether your strategies are working and if your circumstances are improving, you will need to carry out an evaluation.  This will mean going back to the SHARE assessment and comparing where you are now with how you were when you made it.

Possible outcomes are that things have improved, in which case your strategies are working and you should keep doing what you are doing.  Or things may be much the same or even worse in which case you need to rethink what you are doing.

Another, not uncommon, outcome is that things are much the same but YOU have improved.  Having a perception of control over the situation can make a huge difference. (look back at the discussion on Learned Helplessness.)