I drink every night and wake up on the sofa – I’m worried for my kids

26 Feb 2024

"I drink each night and wake up on the sofa each morning.

I was in the military until a few years ago and I’m scared to stop drinking in case the lid on those experiences and my grief comes off.

Michael, 48

‘By facing what you’ve been suppressing, you can show compassion to yourself,’ says Kenny (Photo: Ray Kachatorian/Getty)

I’m sorry you’re carrying this grief. I respect your fears and admire you for getting in touch; it suggests you want your life back, rather than spending it bottling up your experiences. It’s clear you recognise your dependence on alcohol and its role in your life. 

I don’t underestimate how difficult it is to return to civilian life after the military. You might have nobody around who understands your experiences, and on some level it might feel like those experiences are still happening now – or you fear that if you sleep sober they’ll come back in dreams.

I wonder if you have mixed emotions: maybe you’re carrying guilt or shame while being hailed a hero for serving and protecting others. 


I urge you to seek help. Talk to your GP who might be able to offer support, therapy or medication. Also, Alcoholics Anonymous offers community and support: the only entry requirement is a desire to stop drinking. 

I recommend you tell your wife your intentions, so you’re on the same side as you consciously change your behaviour. Could you explain why you’ve been using alcohol, even simply telling her about present fears and past memories? I’m sure  many people who care about you have no idea why you drink or what you’re going through. Have you talked to them and asked them about the effects on them?