There are limits on what you can do biographical reconstruction by those bereaved by alcohol-related deaths

Christine Valentine, Lorna Templeton, Richard Velleman

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Drawing on interview narratives from family members bereaved following a death associated with serious alcohol problems , this chapter examines the experiences of a group largely hidden and neglected in research, policy and practice. These experiences provide a different and important perspective on alcohol use in contemporary Britain, yet those grieving a substance-related death have been largely ignored both in debates about alcohol or drug use, and in policy decisions around alcohol or drugs control. In analysing data from ongoing research which has interviewed 106 adults, including six couples, bereaved following a drug and/or alcohol related death, we have found that these deaths can be particularly difficult to grieve, due to: 1) the pressures of coping with the person’s substance use while they were alive; 2) the circumstances surrounding the person’s death; 3) a culture that may stigmatise such deaths and pathologise the families, devaluing their grief and depriving them of social support; and, 4) remembering and memorialising a life and death defined by alcohol and/or drugs and that the bereaved and/or others, may consider unfulfilled.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDrinking Dilemmas
Subtitle of host publicationSpace, Culture and Identity
EditorsT. Thurnell_Read
Place of PublicationLondon, U. K.
ISBN (Print)9781138931145
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2015

Publication series

NameSociological Futures


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