Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 26 May 2016

Archbishop's home truths on family booze battle are real tonic

By Gail Walker

Published 20/03/2013

The painfully honest Anglican minister is a stock in trade of bankrupt humorists.

But new Archbishop of Canterbury (right) the Most Rev Justin Welby's confession of his fear of developing his father's alcoholism was deeply moving.

Recalling his dad – "very erratic behaviour, very irrational, dishonesty, shouting" – he freely admits "one worries how much of this is how one's going to behave oneself".

Consequently, now while "enjoying a drink" he never drinks alone; his wife Caroline keeps an eye on him and will "say if I am going over". Of course, his is a fear shared by thousands who are the children of alcoholics.

Yet in a society awash with booze and enforced bonhomie their concerns are often swept under the carpet. We're meant to pretend alcoholics arrive from another planet, have nothing to do with us or our "socialising" habits.

The forthright candour of the archbishop's remarks will surprise many but help more to realise their worry about booze is not irrational.

So much for the ineffectual fuddy duddy bishop...

Well done Your Grace. And good luck.

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