Alistair Campbell became a household name due to his success as a spin-doctor for the Labour Party. He became highly respected in his field, and there is no doubt that he played a huge role in getting Tony Blair into office and keeping him there. Alistair Campbell managed to overcome a severe alcohol problem before working for the labour party. He managed to stay sober for many years, but now he believes it is safe for him to drink again.
Has Alistair Campbell Recovered from Alcoholism?
Alistair Campbell hit rock bottom in addiction during the mid-eighties. He admits to drinking as many as 32 pints a day as well as shots of whisky. He ended up a complete wreck but managed to escape his problems with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. He believed that the only solution to his alcohol problem was complete abstinence, managing to stick to this until recently. Last week in an interview with the Guardian, he admitted that he has been managing to drink the occasional glass of wine since 1999 without reverting to alcoholism.
The news that Alistair Campbell seems to have returned to controlled drinking after being an alcoholic has generated a great deal of controversy. There is no spokesperson for AA, but there are members that wonder if he is hiding the extent of his drinking or even if he was ever an alcoholic to begin with. Many people have developed severe drinking problems in the past but were then able to regain some control. This usually happens because the person has not crossed the line into addiction. A very small number of alcoholics do seem to be able to control their intake when they return to drinking; the problem is that there is no way to tell who can do this before they do it. It is also important to keep in mind that even those who do manage to regain some control end up returning to full-blown alcoholism later on.
Should People in Recovery Follow the Example of Alistair Campbell?
The likelihood is that any recovering alcoholic who drinks again is going to end up back in trouble. Why would they even want to risk it? The person who has developed an addiction to alcohol probably has a much better chance of winning the lottery than they do of learning to drink socially. It is also important to keep in mind the great benefits of being sober; those who enjoy sobriety are able to get the most from life.
Just because Alistair Campbell is able to drink safely again now does not mean that he will be able to keep this up indefinitely. In the interview with the Guardian, he says that he only drinks in front of his wife and she keeps him under control. If drinking is no problem for him now, why does he need this wife to monitor him? This seems to be a lot of hard work just to have an occasional glass of wine.
Unfortunately, some people out there will probably see the example of Alistair Campbell as a green light to return to alcohol. This is not the fault of Alistair as some people are just looking for any justification to relapse. There are always going to be stories of people who seem to be able to return to safe drinking after being sober for many years – historically, most of these stories end badly with the person once again losing control. Nobody is suggesting that this is going to be the case with Alistair Campbell, but it has to be at least a possibility.