Years in Practice

25 years +


Exeter DEV EX4 6HU - United Kingdom



Additional Expertise

Counselor/Therapist, Pastoral Counselor, Psychologist, Relationship Coach, Speaker/Presenter, YourTango Expert Partner

I Practice in

All areas, please inquire



I Believe

Do you live with an alcoholic?  Well we can help you change your life.

We have been where you are.

About John McMahon & Lou Lewis

Do you live with an alcoholic?  We know how you feel.

Living with an alcoholic often means feeling isolated and lonely as your social life shrinks.  It can mean having no one to confide in, no one to support you.

Opening up to someone is always a risk as you will often be told to “leave him/her, get out and run.  But you still love him/her, so that just makes you feel guilty

This is why we created Bottled Up because we recognise that you love your drinker and could use a bit of guidance and support to keep the relationship alive.

At Bottled Up we don’t do guilt - guaranteed!  No one is going to tell you to leave your home or your partner – unless you are being abused and are in danger.  No one is going to tell you it’s all your fault!

At Bottled Up we don’t do opinion, we don’t need it we have the experience instead.  So what you will find is help, support and advice from people who have been there

Lou Lewis
I (Lou) was married to a drinker for 29 years till his death from cancer. During that time I ran a home and raised two children in that environment with very few people, including quite close friends, being aware of the situation.

I am a classically trained musician, a graduate of the Royal College of Music, London. For many years I was a singer / songwriter, made 7 albums and toured the UK, USA and South Africa giving concerts and workshops.  Although I still write and play, I don't have the same opportunities that I had.

My autobiography, No Easy Answers, has been described as a moving and revealing book  "Giving hope to those suffering from deep emotional problems and encouragement to friends who try to help them." and was frequently used as a reference book for counsellors.

Currently I have my own flourishing counselling practice where I see clients with a variety of issues, including relationship problems.

John McMahon
I (John) have a PhD in psychology and for years was senior lecturer on the MSc course on alcohol and drug studies. However before that I was hospitalized for alcoholism. My marriage broke up, doctors told me I had brain damage and liver damage and if I continued to drinking that I had around six months to live. I have been clean and sober now for over 28 years.

I practised as a therapist, designed and run treatment programs for addiction problems. Until recently I was lead author of and senior lecturer on the largest Master's level course on alcohol and drugs in the UK. This course was designed for addiction counsellors, psychologists and GP's.
I have carried out research, mainly on behaviour change in addictive behaviours and binge drinking, and have published widely and have been invited to speak at many conferences, both national and international.

More recently I designed and built an award winning self-help website for people with drinking problems - 24/7 Help Yourself.

We are a married couple. I married Lou (then a widow) in 2008. As you can see above we have both have experienced drinking problems in previous relationships and we bring this knowledge to the website and the associated seminars and workshops. Between us we have, if not an unique experience then certainly a highly appropriate background.

How we met is an amazing story if you are interested ask us and we may tell the story.

If you want to find out more about us and what Bottled Up can do for you then please click this link.

John McMahon & Lou Lewis Success Stories

A more meaningful dialogue with my partner

Men in complicated relationships

I have found Bottled-Up to be of great help in changing my own behaviour - I realised that if I simply kept on repeating nagging, arguing, threatening et, I would just repeat the same cycle as before.more

By staying calm and applying the principles I read about I have managed to open a more meaningful dialogue with my partner, and she has sought out therapy on her own.

I don't expect everything to be solved now, but my life - and hers - have certainly taken a big step forward.

Member of Bottled Up

Given me an avenue of release

Women in complicated relationships

I found Bottled Up by accident one night, while browsing the net and after a couple of nights of reading (and liking) the philosophy in it and behind it, I decided to become a member. Without a doubt it has helped me put things in perspective, has helped me re-evaluate my situation, has given me an avenue of release when I needed to tell someone what I was going through, but had no-one I could tell. It has allowed me to stand back from an all-consuming situation and realise that there are many others out there going through the same situation - and sometimes worse, but able to talk about it openly and frankly and get support from others who understand.more

I like the techniques described in Bottled Up... they were not the panacea for all things wrong in my life - but they were the starting point I needed - I was drowning in a whirlpool of shame and secrecy, going around in endless circles of blame, guilt, threats, hope and despair - and taking time out to sit down and work through HOPE, SHARE, LOVE helped me to focus away from the problem and start focusing on what I could take control of; It changed my attitude to our relationship - and slowly, it's having an impact on both of us - for the better. Taking that first step to open up and let some of the hurt and anger spill out in a safe and anonymous environment, lifted one of the clouds that was over me. thank you.


Life has become better, more manageable

Women in complicated relationships

I joined Bottled-up looking for solutions, ideas and coping skills to cope with living with a problem drinker in my case my husband. I have allowed his drinking let my life become unmanagable both for myself, my children and even my husband.more

Bottled-up helps in alot of ways from the information provided, sharing in the discussion forum (my favourite) and audios provided by John and Lou. All these tools,advice and comments from John and Lou help when living with a problem drinker.

When I stopped blaming the drinking for my unhappiness and started letting go of MY ANGER towards my husbands drinking things began to change slowly for me.

I started to recover from the effects drinking has had on me. I do not feel sorry for myself anymore. Since arming myself with all this information, the dipping in and out of the discussion forum, life has become better, more manageable for me.

I am extremely grateful and consider myself lucky to have found this wonderful site. Life can only get better no matter what the outcome, I now know that I can handle it.

Dee Dee, Ireland


John McMahon & Lou Lewis Articles