Using SHARE to Change Your Situation

When you have compiled a comprehensive list of the ways that alcohol is affecting your life then it is time to prioritise.  Look at each category Safety, Health, Ambition, Relationships and Environment in turn.  Score each issue on the list on a 1-10 scale where 1 is a small problem (more of an irritation) to 10 a big problem, life or relationship threatening.  As before, there is no right answer to this, remember this is your life and your judgement.

When you have scored each of the items on each of the categories, select the 3 problems with the highest scores, in any category.  These are the problems that you are going to tackle first.  If there is a tie between 2 issues and you cannot decide which is more important, always give preference to the issue that most affects your Safety.

You are going to tackle these problems in a systematic manner but in manageable chunks.  To attempt to tackle all of the problems at once is a step too far.  It would overwhelm both you and the drinker and the process would get swallowed up in too much detail about too many things.

It is far better to keep this first discussion limited to only a few problems but agree that you will attend to each in turn.  When you have your three issues, set up a meeting with your drinker to discuss these issues and attempt to resolve or reduce their impact on your life.

Setting up the Meeting

  • When setting up the meeting you should try and ensure a number of conditions.
  • Arrange the meeting at a place and time when there will be no interruptions
  • Meet at a place that you feel comfortable
  • Make sure that you have at least an hour
  • Decide beforehand whether to involve the family or not (they could be supportive and help to present a united front) but be careful of not dividing family loyalties
  • Switch off mobile phones, TVs, radios, computers, music or any distractions
  • Take any notes or reminders of the issues that you may need with you for reference

By this time you will have noticed that there are no ‘rules’ in Bottled-up.  However, this meeting is the exception so you should read this bit very carefully before trying to set up a meeting with your drinker.

  • Do NOT set up the meeting when the drinker is drunk or has been drinking!
  • Do NOT set up the meeting when the drinker has a hangover
  • Do NOT set up the meeting if the drinker is being aggressive or hostile
  • Do NOT set up the meeting if you have had an argument
  1. Not a Do NOT, more a note of a caution, try not to corner the drinker with a hangover. He may agree to anything but it probably will not last. If however she drinks all the time then it will be really difficult to find a suitable time to talk, afternoons when he has not been drinking may be a good time, or maybe a Saturday or Sunday morning.

The Meeting

In the meeting try to stay very calm, if you possibly can.  Keep in mind that this meeting is NOT about punishing the drinker or venting your feelings.  It is about making your life more comfortable and you are more likely to get a good result by being calm.

Start by saying that the intention is not to challenge his/her drinking but rather to discuss your issues

You can point out that his/her drinking has consequences for you (and if appropriate the family)

You should talk about LOVE at this stage.

You can discuss it anyway that you want or feel comfortable with, however you should tell him/her the 4 elements below.

Tell him/her that you intend to

  • let him/her sort out his/her own drinking
  • try and optimise your time together when he/she is not drinking
  • try to value the good points about him
  • will encourage any positive changes he/she makes

You should then ask if they have any reaction to what you have just said.  Hopefully they will respond positively, or at least not negatively, to the explanation of LOVE.  You could explain at this point that they can make their own decision about drinking but from now on you are going to make your own decisions about how you live your life.  However in order to do that you need their help and that involves not them stopping or even reducing drinking but instead modifying their drinking behaviour.

Introduce the first issue at this stage.  This issue should be the one that is most important to you, that is the one that you scored highest in SHARE.

Tell them about the issue and why it is important to you.  Do not be aggressive or confrontational when you discuss it.  Instead be calm and clear about your issue.  You have got them to the meeting don’t spoil it now by turning it into an argument.

Say what you feel about the issue for example if he smoked in bed when drinking.

“I get really frightened when you are drinking, you come to bed and smoke.  I just can’t sleep while you are awake.  I just lie there scared that you are going to fall asleep and set fire to the bed and the house”


“I am beginning to feel that I have almost no social life anymore.  Alice and David phoned to ask us to dinner but I felt that I had to say no.  Every time we go there we have an argument about how much you drink. “

How can we change ………….. (whatever the issue is)?

Listen respectfully to any suggestions that are put forward.  There just may be a few good ideas and workable solutions.  However if there are no solutions forthcoming then you should have a couple of your own ready.

Listen to the audios and familiarise yourself with the possible strategies you could adopt.  Also read the Forum and some of the older posts as they also have some excellent advice.