Psychotherapy treatment for alcohol addiction (Chiswick Practice) 

This case study has been written with express permission from the client

BR was a 40 year old man who came to my Chiswick practice in early 2013 for help with alcohol issues.  He didn't consider himself to be an alcoholic, but still felt that his drinking was becoming out of control.  He was regularly drinking up to two bottles of wine each night of the week and this was affecting both his home and work life. 

He ran his own business and was responsible for the livelihoods of 8 employees, but his alcohol consumption meant that he was rarely able to wake up early and was often late arriving at his office.  Even when he was at work, he lacked energy.  This lead to his employees taking advantage of the situation, arriving late themselves, being demotivated and not really caring about their work.  BR was also going through a rough patch at home in his relationship with his wife of 15 years.  The only way he was able to quiet his mind and sleep was through alcohol, unfortunately this just led him into a downward spiral and ultimately the situation continued to deteriorate. 

It was then that BR turned to psychotherapy and came to see me at my Chiswick practice.  Although his focus was on his drinking, I quickly saw the alcoholism as a symptom of some deeper issue.  As the therapy sessions progressed, it became clear how much pressure was actually on him.  His business was only just keeping it's head above water and he was barely scraping by in paying the business bills each month.  He had recently had to sack two long standing employees and was having difficulty replacing them and he was under pressure from a parent company to improve his performance.  When he went out with clients and suppliers, he felt compelled to drink with them and he was always regaled with stories from friends in the same business as to how they were heavy drinkers.

The focus of the psychotherapy sessions soon turned to his home life where the pressures were just as bad.  BR had two teenage children who were both at a difficult and demanding time of their lives.  His wife had an affair five years previously and although they patched things up, he still felt a lot of resentment and anger towards her.  Their sex life suffered and they had been slowly drifting further and further apart.  Most evenings were met with some type of drama or argument and BR felt he had no way to escape.  He went to work and faced stress and anxiety and then came home to an equal amount of stress and anxiety.  The only way he felt able to cope was through alcohol to block out the thoughts in his head.

As we delved deeper, I realised his issue was further compounded by his parents.  His father had been a very successful businessman, however he also used to drink heavily at the end of each day.  His father had little time for BR, only really showing his affection through gifts.  BR gradually came to realise that he was repeating his fathers pattern.  He became aware that he liked to buy gifts for people rather than showing his feelings in other ways, e.g. by giving a hug, telling them how he felt about them or spending quality time together.  It came as quite a shock to BR to discover that he was like his father in practically every way, apart from not having a successful business.  As BR came to terms with this, he realised how he had felt around his father and how other people may then feel around him.

The sessions continued to focus on his childhood experiences and those learnt behaviours, whilst relating them to patterns in his adult life, both at home and at work.  There was a slow realisation from BR that he could choose to be different.  He could choose to go into another, less stressful form of work if he desired.  He could choose to go to relationship counselling with his wife to try and repair their marriage if he chose.  He began to think about other ways of dealing with his children and employees, all of which empowered him to make positive changes to his life.  He realised that his past had been defining his future and that realisation allowed him to now take on a different path.   

The therapy sessions were an important part of BR's support network as he made these changes to his life.  These changes were not easy for him as he had to leave behind a lot of the beliefs, thoughts and feelings he had relied on in the past and instead, embrace a new, unknown way of being which brought with it fear, anxiety and apprehension.  Gradually though, he began to see the benefits.  His relationship with his wife slowly bean to improve, he was able to tolerate his children's behaviour and found ways to understand them and communicate more effectively.  As a result of the decrease in his stress levels, he drinking began to reduce which made him more effective at work.  This reduced the pressure there which in turn allowed him to reduce his dependency on alcohol even further.

BR spent about 18 months in psychotherapy at my Chiswick practice.  By the time he left, he was now down to drinking just a few glasses of wine on a Saturday night, compared to up to 12 bottles a week as he had been previously.  There was a huge change in his appearance and interactions with me and he had a much more positive mind set.        


If you have any questions, or would like to enquire about a session, please contact us.  West London Counselling, Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy Services have practices in Acton, Chiswick, South Ealing, Ealing Broadway, Fulham and Harley Street and have a catchment area of Barnes, Brentford, Chelsea, Greenford, Grove Park, Gunnersbury, Hammersmith, Hanwell, Hounslow, Isleworth, Kew, Mortlake, Park Royal, Perivale, Putney, Richmond, Shepherds Bush, Southall, Turnham Green, Twickenham, White City and any other area in West London