MP reveals he almost died twice in emotional speech about his own alcohol abuse

·3 min read

Watch: MP reveals he almost died twice from alcohol addiction

An MP has revealed he almost died twice from alcoholism in his twenties during an emotional speech in the House of Commons.

Dan Carden, Labour MP for Liverpool Walton, told MPs: "Only looking back now have I been able to accept that in my twenties I twice nearly lost my life to alcohol, saved only by the reactions of others."

While holding back tears Carden spoke during the Commons Pride debate saying he hoped his "openness today can help challenge the stigma that stops so many people asking for help".

He spoke of the "daily denials" and "constant fear of being found out" when growing up LGBT, and warned this can cause a "deep trauma".

Alcohol-related deaths soared in 2020. (PA)
Alcohol-related deaths soared in 2020. (PA)

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He detailed his struggle saying: "Drinking was destroying my body it was damaging my relationships in so many other ways because alcohol addiction isn't about drinking every day or drunkenness for me it was about losing who I was over a long period of time.

"It was desperate isolation, it was shutting down my personal life, using a drug - alcohol - to feel better but ultimately to escape and giving up on living."

He praised his family and friends who "quite literally saved my life".

Carden revealed he was in his third year of recovery and was now living a happy life, but said it took "AA meetings, psychotherapy and counseling to get here, and honestly to stay here takes commitment and daily determination".

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He used the speech to highlight "addiction is killing more people and ruining more lives than ever, it's killed members of this house and yet we would still rather hide its ugly reality".

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in May alcohol-related deaths jumped by a fifth last year and are at their highest level for 20 years.

The rise of almost 20% in 2020 was a giant jump compared to 2019 where alcohol-related deaths only rose by 1%.

The data showed deaths among men were 4.2 times higher in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived, jumping from 8.1 deaths per 100,000 to 34.1 per 100,000.

The rise began in March 2020 at the start of the first lockdown as people were forced to spend more time at home and many suffered difficult personal and economic circumstances as a result of the pandemic.

Carden ended his speech with: "Pride is about celebrating who we are without shame, in the end, it's a simple choice: choose to hide or choose to live. My advice is choose to live."

Conservative former minister David Mundell said Carden had made a "hugely impressive, moving" contribution to the debate.

He added: "A really, really brave thing to do but important because I think lots of people outside this place don’t think that people within it actually address and deal with these issues themselves."

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