Mrs McGillicuddy had been impressed by Lucy. She had not really understood until now what her job entailed, but she had discovered her niece spoke with knowledge and impressively about the problem with Jane and how to deal with it.
The book was making sense as well – Jane had, she realised, changed as a person the more she had immersed herself in this culture of drinking. She was in an ‘addiction – denying’ group – they all managed to hide the fact that having a drink was not an incidental addition to their social intercourse, but the main reason for it. She was a woman of standing in the community, and she could ‘hustle’ – manipulating people into supplying her with drink. She was skilled at explaining lapses away – digestive problems were attributed to ‘something she ate’; she fell asleep at Dolly’s house one afternoon and this was explained by the fire there being ‘far too hot’; a morning headache would be blamed on some villager who had ‘insisted that she take another gin and tonic….. “and I didn’t want it, you know”. Funnily enough , the morning headache did not seem to stop Jane from taking a ‘small sherry’ well before lunch. A near accident when she was driving close to the village was the fault of some young man who was ‘driving far too fast’, and so on….
Mrs McGillicuddy thought that she had now spent enough time trying to understand the problem – it was time to act. But how?