As happens with most alcoholics, it starts with just one drink. And then a few drinks during a social event, and then a few more drinks at the pub with friends. And then, you’re drinking alone. Drinking to the point you don’t remember. And you don’t know how you got to where you are, literally or figuratively. Your alcohol addiction has become your entire life.

One would be inclined to think that living in the public spotlight would somehow encourage celebrities to take better care of themselves. After all, in many cases, their face, persona, and image are their livelihood. But many a celebrity has fallen to addiction. Radio and television personality Tony Wright was no exception.

“Alcohol became everything to me.” These are not the words you expect to hear from a man who had been a popular radio programme host for two decades and raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity. But they are Tony’s words. And they are the words of every alcoholic waiting for their next drink.

How Does an Alcohol Addiction Begin?

Wright’s drinking habit started off innocently enough. In his own words, “If you’ve had a bad day, you think ‘I’ll just pour myself a glass of wine, it’ll make myself feel better’.” But soon enough, that glass of wine had morphed into a daily habit with 8.00 am trips to the fridge for a nip of something to take the edge off his morning shakes. In 2009, he pleaded guilty for drink-driving and was slapped with a 12-month ban and a £600 fine.

The popular radio host who had once considered his proudest moment as, “being awarded the MBE by the Queen in 2006,” eventually sank to the depths of rock bottom. His addiction was only just getting started back then, though. Eventually, things got so bad that he had even considered suicide. “You just think, what’s the point? Why am I throwing away 20 years of hard work and hard graft, for something that’s taking away everything I’ve ever worked for? What’s the point in living? And why am I putting someone I love dearly through this?”

Wright was fortunate enough to win his battle against alcohol addiction, but many others are not so lucky.

What Are the Statistics Telling Us about Alcohol Abuse?

The statistics for alcohol addiction continue to rise throughout the UK. This same piece that highlights Wright’s plight also points out that the number of people in Wales dying from alcohol poisoning has risen 12% in the past ten years.

Surprisingly, those numbers do not only relate to students in University or the rough sleeping community on the streets. Instead, they appear to be reflections of the high-pressure stakes in professional occupations. The article references a study that found those who held positions in professional and managerial jobs reported “unhealthy alcohol consumption than those in other professions.” Additionally, 65% of all alcohol-related deaths were men, with the highest number of those being older than 55.

Alcohol consumption and subsequent addiction have been on an upward trend over the past decade. According to a National Statistics Publication distributed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, in 2014-2015 28.9 million citizens in Great Britain reported drinking in the week prior to the survey, which equates to 58% of the population. Also, in 2014 38% of secondary school pupils had already experimented with alcohol.

When Does a Drinking Habit Become a Drinking Problem?

As Tony Wright’s example illustrates, an alcoholic’s addiction often starts off innocently enough as a drink or two with dinner or socially with friends. It might even be a pint while watching a football match. But when those one or two drinks turn into one or two bottles of wine each night, the drinker’s body begins to accept such high rates of consumption as normal.

The alcoholic’s essential body systems begin to expect and eventually demand alcohol to function at their new ‘normal’. But because humans are ever-adaptive, the body builds up a tolerance toward alcohol’s effects, therefore requiring the burgeoning alcoholic to consume higher quantities to achieve the same pleasure they used to get from those two drinks at dinner.

Often, when alcohol takes over, the alcoholic doesn’t even realise. Many live in a perpetual state of denial and genuinely believe that they have everything under control. Some alcohol abusers can function highly under the influence, but they are certainly not in the majority, and their high functioning rarely lasts very long. Most times, like Wright’s story illustrates, an alcoholic ends up so deep in the bottle that they are willing to give up everything for their next drink. Even their life.

If you or your loved one struggle with alcohol addiction, Liberty House can help. We offer several treatment options that are all customisable to the individual needs of the client. Call today to find out how we can help you overcome your addiction.

Reference Links:

  1. (ITV) ‘Alcohol became everything to me’: The stark reality of life with a serious addiction‘/
  2. (Wales Online) Real Radio’s Tony Wright guilty of drink-driving
  3. (NHS) Statistics Addiction