01 September 2018

Denial in 3D

Wow. Did anyone see that documentary about the BBC presenter Adrian Chiles last week? If not, here is an opportunity to see it.  This man admits to drinking 25 units a day  (almost double the weekly recommended amount EACH DAY) for six of every seven days of the week. He only abstains on one day when he is working on air. He appears to think he doesn't really have a problem, but then tots up that his units are into three figures on a weekly basis. Jeez. If that's not a problem, I want to know what is. 

The programme shows him going along for a blood test which sadly shows his liver function is OK. I say "sadly" because that often supports the alcoholic's blinkered thinking that they don't have a problem. However by the time the blood test might flag up something, it is often too late.  The liver is a very forgiving organ and can take a lot of hammering, before it finally gives up the battle. However a subsequent ultrasound shows Chiles that he does in fact have fibrosis of the liver which will in turn lead to cirrhosis and death, unless he does something pretty soon about it. That is a more sobering thought for him, but even then he limits his drinking to a still deadly level compared to what is acceptable.

Denial is one of the symptoms of alcoholism.  The alcoholic thinks he is invincible. Greg thought it. After every detox in hospital he would kid himself the occasional drink wouldn't hurt and he could take it or leave it. Until it spat him out on an intensive care bed and flat-lined him on the monitor, too late to turn back.

Let's not beat about the bush. Alcohol is a poison and, like any other poison, can be deadly toxic if not consumed within safe levels. It is not something you can play Russian roulette with and hope you are the one who will be fine. Adrian Chiles should take note.


K Ville said...

I hate that liver test that says 'all is fine'. It's the green card to the dependent drinker in denial. The 'I told you so' in every conversation that comes up. It is the carers nemesis.

Shadow said...

Alcohol destroys, the drinker themselves, the people dear to them, their work, their life! I know, I did it myself, and I am glad I have escaped from that hell.

Graham Hunt said...

I watched it after a friend said to me it was "an abject demonstration in denial".

It was a bit wrenching for me as Mr Chiles drinks very similarly to myself. In a pub, Guinness it appeared to be predominantly, like me and like me had all the same excuses I tripped out in my last 10 years of drinking... "I don't drink in the mornings", "I'm still working and functioning", "I don't fall over" (Well not much)... blah blah blah.

His intake was, perhaps a bit below mine at it's height but then I feel it likely his was higher as he lied several times to others about his weekly intake - "It's about 40 - 50 units" after he's admitted it was 75 and probably that was lower then he generally drank at.

For me the saddest thing was the end shot - of a man ... alone... drinking his pint of Guinness inside in a bar on a sunny day, the light looked like it was early in the day - i.e. in the afternoon at the latest. But it was ok as he said "This is the first I've had this week" Oh that's ok then.... I wonder how many more he had before his last? As was pointed out to me in rehab - "You don't have the first you don't have to bother counting any more" .... Simple but genius and then I no longer have to fret about if alcohol is doing any more harm to my body if I drink none it clearly can't be.

Sindy said...

Hello Addy,
Thank you for sharing this sad story.
I am trying to quit drinking, but not ready to go to AA meetings yet. I found out about the method called Alcohol Free Forever, do you happen to know anything about it? This review says it's pretty, not sure if I can trust it. Can you advise?
Thanks in advance.

ADDY said...

Sindy. I am sorry I don't know anything about the Alcohol Free Forever method. My immediate reaction is that it seems rather expensive and, if it were easy enough to be done at home, then you would have probably managed it without the book. It sounds a money-making exercise. Your first step is to accept you have a problem. If it is affecting your daily life and those around you, then I guess it is a problem. Then you need to steel yourself up to doing something about it. Your liver will thank you for it. Don't be conned - you can die from alcoholism. My husband is proof of that. AA is not for everyone but try it. I can appreciate it is daunting, but it is not as bad as you think to walk through the doors. You won't be looked down on and everyone there is going through or has gone through what you are. You will find them welcoming and supportive. If AA doesn't work (it doesn't suit everyone), try something that will. It has to be worth it to get you out of that hopeless downward spiral that could cost you your life or at best your health. Take a deep breath and do it.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I did watch that documentary. I thought that Chiles recognised he has a problem and further recognised that his devil-may-care denials have been but a mask for his underlying issues. I very much doubt that he ever has entirely "alcohol free days" - even when he is "on air" - I bet he has a couple of snifters after the show. I thought he was quite brave to submit himself to such scrutiny.

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