Detach with love

The story of a son’s spiralling descent into alcohol addiction and the effects on one ordinary family and their fight to save him.


  • Detach with love is pleased to support the Brighton Housing Trust. Brighton held a special place in David's heart and he is buried there. It seemed apt that we should support a charity in the City.

    BHT is a local housing and homelessness charity offering support and assistance to those in society with the greatest need. It does far more than house people though. Last year BHT provided services to over 11,000 vulnerable men and women across East Sussex, including people who are homeless and insecurely housed, people with mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, disadvantaged young people, long-term unemployed people, ex-offenders and people currently in contact with the criminal justice system and those who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse. We like the way that they aim to provide specialist, person-centred services that empowers people to live out their aspirations independently, and to prevent people from reaching crises.

Since the death of her son, Margaret has written this book giving a graphic insight into her family’s experience of alcoholism in the hope that it will help others in a similar predicament and perhaps will kick start and underline the need for more help by the authorities in this area. She also hopes her book will give a different and more understanding perspective of the alcoholic.

“It took just nine short years for David’s life to escalate from that of a happy carefree undergraduate, where a drink was an enjoyable part of student life, to someone whose actions were often unrecognisable as those of the son we knew and loved.

How could alcohol be such a powerful agent? How could it have controlled and persuaded him, even though he knew death would ultimately be its tragic consequence? It all seems so crazy and wasteful

Detach with Love could be described as a tragic true life story told by his mother and written using testimony taken from the diaries he wrote whilst in rehab.

But it goes further than that. This is the story of a family fighting for their son’s life, against those in society who should have been there to help vulnerable people like David - social services, the medical profession and the local authorities. They all failed him in the end.

This book not only challenges a rethink on the accepted wisdom of non- intervention, but also society’s view of addicts, not dropouts but seeing them as people who are ill, perhaps someone’s child, needing help and understanding.

In the last month of David’s life he became a missing person, walking out of his home and out of the lives of all who loved him.


Author of Detach with love. Margret SearleMargaret Searle originally trained as a home economist and food chemist working for major food companies, where she successfully developed new recipes for production. She left work to have her first child, loving motherhood so much that she decided to be a home-maker rather than a working mum.

Whilst expecting her fourth child she began studying for her degree, majoring on English literature and the social study and history of Society, gaining her B.A. in 1992. She has been director of a property management company and run a successful genealogical research service.

She and her husband Keith live in East Sussex.