Step 3 – Keep your alcohol key worker in the loop

Whenever there is an incident, tell your key worker. You don’t know what your partner is telling her or him, so it’s up to you to clarify the vagaries. It’s also a way of logging a deterioration in your partner’s condition, providing further evidence and justification for their treatment to be expedited.

Again, it all depends on the key worker you’re allocated. Some are more responsive than others. If you’re not happy with the one you’ve got, request a different one – if there is another one. This is the problem. NHS drug and alcohol services are notoriously short-staffed so it’s quite possible there is only one key worker, in which case, you’re stuck.

As I said earlier, we were lucky the first time around. Ben’s key worker, Bianca, was   diligent. So, if Ben was going into frequent withdrawal, I let her know. When Ben got arrested and charged for drink driving, I told her. By that point, she had already sorted out psychological counselling (to begin to address his deep depression) and residential detox for him, as well as an aftercare programme designed to ensure he didn’t go back to drinking.

It was all achieved swiftly and in close consultation with me. It was a positive first experience.

Sadly, Ben relapsed within three weeks of leaving detox. Bianca retired about a week after Ben came out of detox. We lost our advocate. We were back to zero again.