[00:00:08.24] I get asked a lot 'Why did you start drinking? Did something terrible happen to you when you were fifteen? Because terrible things do happen to fifteen-year-old girls, I get that.
[00:00:17.13] And the scary thing is that no, nothing happened. I had a really nice family. I had amazing parents, I still do. I had great friends. I was never particularly confident, I was never particularly attractive. I was always one of the really awkward teenagers. I just loved it. 
[00:00:39.15] I just felt like I fitted in my own skin, if that makes sense. It was such an amazing feeling. It kind of felt like a big quilt, like a big quilt being wrapped around you, where you didn't worry about anything, where you couldn't really feel anything. And I don't even know why I didn't want to feel anything at fifteen. I can't even tell you. It was like being in love.
[00:01:03.07] I knew something was wrong. Because sometimes... you know, like one of those kaleidoscopes, where you're looking through it and everything clicks into place. Sometimes, very occasionally, the kaleidoscope would click into place, just for a split second, and you'd know what was wrong. You'd know something was terribly wrong, and you didn't know quite why it was alcohol. But it was.
[00:01:26.23] Every time the kaleidoscope clicked into place, and all the colours made sense, I'd go off again and there'd be an excuse for a drink. Because there's always someone who drinks more than you. There's always someone a little bit more messed up than you. So it was always ok.
[00:01:42.07] I've never had enough to drink. Never in my life have I had enough to drink. And thank god really because then I would be dead.
[00:02:53.08] [TITLE] A ROYAL HANGOVER
[00:03:12.08] This is me.
[00:03:14.15] This is actually the only photo of me holding a can of beer.
[00:03:17.20] My name is Arthur Cauty, and I am one of the few people in Britain who don't drink.
[00:03:23.17] That's how it feels anyway.
[00:03:25.05] That's not to say I've never tried it. I have. I just never liked it.
[00:03:30.15] Even as a teenager when all my friends where out drinking, I always preferred to be out shooting silly films.
[00:03:36.21] Making music. 
[00:03:39.07] Or sitting in my bedroom trying to save humanity from the latest threat of Armageddon.
[00:03:45.00] I even tried my hand at pro wrestling. 
[00:03:49.14] I always had something more interesting to do. Alcohol just didn't stand a chance. 
[00:03:55.08] But I saw the affects of it all around me; at home, on the streets...
[00:03:56.07] [TITLE] MY BROTHERS
[00:04:06.10] On TV. 
[00:04:09.07] In the news.
[00:04:21.15] Wherever I looked, people were getting pissed. 
[00:04:29.21] So why do we do it?
[00:04:31.00] The British drink more than any other culture because they can handle it. And because we know how to have fun.
[00:04:37.21] Yeah it doesn't look that fun. But maybe it's just me.
[00:04:42.09] Alcohol is a potential menace to community safety as well as to his personal health.
[00:04:48.24] Absolutely, we should ban it entirely. The only obvious thing to do is to get rid of this scourge completely. 
[00:04:54.02] Well that sounds like a terrible idea. 
[00:05:01.18] I think we can all agree we've built up a pretty bad reputation for ourselves when it comes to drinking, but this obsession with alcohol is nothing new. It's something that has been around for hundreds of years. 
[00:05:13.22] For most of human history, and certainly until the late nineteenth century, water was basically unsafe to drink. 
[00:05:24.11] In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, tea, coffee and soft drinks were all unavailable, so you'd find that old, young and even children were drinking beer. They were drinking a variety of beer called small beer, perhaps a little bit stronger than modern day Shandy. Working men felt that it gave them health and strength ''Beer gives you muscle''. Men in hard physical jobs particularly would be drinking vast amounts. They would be drinking up to three gallons of beer a day. 
[00:06:00.17] In the early eighteenth century, gin drinking reached what people have seen as an epidemic or a craze. Of course it's epitomized most famously in Hogarth's depiction of Gin Lane. Basically you could produce it and sell it more or less anywhere. So not only public houses sold gin, but grocery shops and general stores also sold gin. You could go in and buy some basic items and have a shot of gin on the side. They also used to sell the stuff on the streets; people would go around selling gin to the spectators at public executions. 
[00:06:37.16] And then the First World War had a big impact. The government, and particularly the Ministry of Munitions and later Prime Minister Lloyd George identified drink as a real threat to the war effort. Famously he said 'we are fighting Germany, Austria and drink, but the greatest enemy is drink.'
[00:06:57.12] In the Second World War, the Government saw drink and pubs as essential to maintaining morale. It was thought important to keep up a reasonable supply of beer to the troops. 
[00:07:08.11] There used to be a phrase 'beer and Britannia'. The French were identified with wine, so the English were identified with beer. 
[00:07:18.22] In more modern times, from the nineteen-fifties and sixties, alcohol consumption continued to rise.
[00:07:26.13] From the nineteen-eighties it became a particular concern - the eighties associated with football hooliganism or the 'lager lout' phenomenon. 
[00:07:35.00] All we are going for is a good game of football, a good punch-up, and a good piss up. 
[00:07:41.15] And then in the later twentieth-century, the binge drinking phenomenon.
[00:07:45.22] One of the Government's aims in the 2003 licensing act was to try and persuade us to adopt a more... what they like to think of as 'continental style' of drinking, where we drink sensibly as they do allegedly in French cafes, having cultural conversations, rather than binge drinking and falling out of pub doorways as allegedly we are doing here. 
[00:08:07.12] I don't drink a lot of alcohol; I drink sometimes once a week. And only if I am in a restaurant. I never drink alone, in my home or if I am alone with my kids or family, I never drink. 
[00:08:24.15] The last time I drank was last Saturday, 
[00:08:26.16] 'Did it go well?' 
[00:08:28.24] Yes, very well. We drank two or three glasses and took a taxi home. It was a good night. 
[00:08:35.17] We don't drink to be drunk, we drink to appreciate the wine or the alcohol. 
[00:08:45.04] My opinion about the British? The first thing I would think about them, is binge drinking. 
[00:08:50.19] We French people drink during special occasions, parties, or in the evening. It seems like English people can drink any time of the day. They can drink at 10am. 
[00:09:07.08] They drink a lot because it is cold there. No, I don't know. 
[00:09:13.23] I think they don't know what to do, and there is no interest in their lives, and maybe they think that the only way to have fun is to drink. 
[00:09:24.09] We see English people as heavy drinkers. There is this TV series 'Skins' which also shows the drug culture, it might be slightly exaggerated but they are more relaxed than the French, regarding alcohol, parties and clubbing. It is less restrained in England. 
[00:09:42.18] I think the first time I had alcohol it was for my birthday when I was thirteen, just one drink. 
[00:09:50.00] My daughter is fifteen and she doesn't drink alcohol. For their birthday they have the right to put a finger in the glass and to taste it, normally they hate it and I am very happy about that. 
[00:10:06.21] Quite famously people know that in France and Italy for example, quite young children are allowed or encouraged to have a bit of wine with dinner with their parents. In the UK, young people tend to have fewer meals with adults than they do in other countries and to spend more time with their friends. We tend to eat earlier in the UK and that means that parents often are not home from work. On the continent they eat dinner later, it sounds like a small thing but it completely changes the dynamic of the family environment. 
[00:10:36.17] In this country there has not been a culture of respecting alcohol or respecting the manufacture of alcohol or the produce of wine or things like that; we have never had that culture. 
[00:10:54.06] You can be on the continent - France, Spain for example, and observe people in their late teens or early twenties happily socialising over a coffee or a milkshake, and alcohol isn't the point of purchase, it's the social contact with each other. Whereas it's quite unusual to find that phenomena in the UK in the early evening, that young people would be socializing in a non-alcohol environment in that way. 
[00:11:20.09] We are well known as a nation of boozers really. In Britain there really isn't any stigma about being seen drunk in public. I think that's quite surprising for people from other countries.
[00:11:39.07] In the US, I don't think you see that kind of binge drinking public drunkenness culture in quite the same way. 
[00:11:47.02] There is obviously the kind of Spring Break culture of going out and getting absolutely wrecked for about three or four weeks.
[00:11:53.10] [CAPTION] The Lonely Island: Spring Break Anthem, Republic Records
[00:11:56.03] But outside of Spring Break I think they are quite a bit more disapproving of drunken behaviour. I don't think Americans tolerate drunkenness anything like the extent that we do. 
[00:12:10.23] So the French seem to think we are a bunch of piss heads, but what do the Americans think?
[00:12:16.21] So when you think about Britain and British culture what comes to mind?
[00:12:22.09] Err... Bangers and mash, fish and chips, pubs. 
[00:12:25.04] Urm, soccer, drinking games, 
[00:12:29.06] Tea and crumpets and bad teeth... sorry. Urm Guinness! 
[00:12:34.16] The British like to drink; I mean they love to drink. They wake up in the morning and first thing out of the fridge, they're grabbing a beer. 
[00:12:42.00] When I was living in London. I drank every day, seven days a week and it was definitely way more than I ever drink in America. 
[00:12:51.18] It's like when you are there at five o'clock everyday, every businessperson goes to the pub. I think its kind of ingrained in their culture that you go to work, you go to the pub, and then you go home. 
[00:13:02.10] When I was in London, I was amazed by the fact that there were no open container laws, and that everyone was in the streets drinking, it seemed like such a communal activity that everyone could do together out in the streets. And I definitely think there's not as much of a stigma as there is in the United States. 
[00:13:22.22] I don't think anyone gives a crap in the UK when you go out and drink. It's a lot more acceptable.
[00:13:30.20] I watched this documentary and they had an ambulance that drives around, I think it's London, and picks up drunk people and hooks them up to an IV so that they don't die at night. It's crazy. 
[00:13:47.08] The age limit. It's twenty-one here and eighteen over there. That has a lot to do with it. 
[00:13:52.12] So much more of being young is drinking. That's how they have fun. 
[00:13:57.24] I've talked to people who are British and they are like, 'my brother brought a keg at fifteen' so I really think they are just very relaxed about it. 
[00:14:10.01] As you get older here, you drink a lot less, but there, even if it's just one drink you kind of just have a drink every day. 
[00:14:19.15] So, Yeah... pretty much the same as the French. 
[00:14:24.07] You may see a certain similarity, at least on the surface, between the famous pub, and the corner bar in the cities of America. 
[00:14:32.07] The pub which is practically an institution in Britain is something like the state-side corner bar only more so. It's more like a friendly club, a neighbourhood gathering place, where men can meet to share the quiet pleasures of a glass of beer and conversation. Where nothing is hurried. A little world all on it's own. 
[00:14:56.14] It's changed completely. I mean it's happened slowly and fairly insidiously and I think when things happen so slowly, you don't really notice until you turn around one day and think ' Oh my God, things have really changed'. 
[00:15:10.02] All I have to say to someone is 'look outside your front door, walk down the street. What building do you come to first, which is a public service, for the public?'. And often it's a public house. It's a place to consume alcohol. 
[00:15:25.20] If you look at a typical city centre or town centre in the UK, It tends to be populated by lots of pubs and clubs, which has been brilliant because it's spawned a great music culture here. 
[00:15:34.08] [CAPTION] Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains The Same (1976), Warner Bros.
[00:15:38.04] [CAPTION] Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (1972), Universal Pictures
[00:15:42.04] But what it doesn't have is a lot of outside space for socialising. On the continent you tend to see big open town squares where adults and young people socialise in close proximity and there seems to be an association between that kind of socialising and a healthier attitude towards alcohol for obvious reasons, because you see parents and adults consuming alcohol over dinner in a more responsible normal way. So there's kind of these countervailing, very deep-rooted forces at work which prevent young people from having the exposure to responsible adult drinking that you see they have on the continent. 
[00:16:16.15] Out of the slime and darkness it comes to inflict its life destroying poison on the careless, the unwary, the unprotected. No sane person would deliberately expose themselves to its venom. No intelligent person would come within striking distance of its fangs. Yet today, young people are flirting with a poison every bit is deadly as that of the snake. 
[00:16:46.13] Thank you children, now lets get back to work. 
[00:16:54.17] I think it all starts with people being influenced by either their parents, or older brothers or sisters, or your mate's older brother and sisters. You see them having a good time, you see them getting drunk. That's where it starts. 
[00:16:54.21] [TITLE] ALCOHOL
[00:17:09.22] I'd say its more a cultural thing now, it's something that we have all sort of been brought up with. It's something that when you go out, you automatically start drinking alcohol now with your mates. 
[00:17:19.16] Drinking becomes almost associated with having fun, and people think to have a good time you have to drink and so they get into a cycle like that. 
[00:17:25.24] We had the school nurse come in, she showed us different bottles of alcohol and said 'Don't drink this, it's bad for you'. 
[00:17:32.07] Alcohol is bad, you shouldn't drink alcohol, and as for drugs well, drugs are bad, you shouldn't do drugs. 
[00:17:33.07] [CAPTION] South Park, Season 2 Episode 4 'Ike's Wee Wee', Comedy Central, South Park Studios
[00:17:40.04] And telling you that you can't do something as a young person doesn't that make you want to do it?
[00:17:43.14] Can do yeah. 
[00:17:44.17] That first drink isn't very enjoyable I can tell you. It burns your insides and its makes your eyes water. 
[00:17:50.23] We had more education on how not to climb up on an electric pylon than we did on alcohol. We didn't get anything on alcohol until we were about sixteen, in our last years of school, and by that time everybody had already done it so it was like 'why are you telling us now?'. 
[00:18:05.00] My children at the age of eight to ten haven't had any tuition in that and I think 'why not?'. School isn't just academic ability, it's about social integration as well, and I think that is weak in this country. 
[00:18:22.00] It's not even mandatory; it's an absolute disgrace. We'll just give them all the academic stuff, we'll have our league tables, but when it comes to actually doing practical work in schools around health of young people and wellbeing, for their potential that can actually fuel the rest of the work that they do, it doesn't happen.
[00:18:38.06] They ask you a few questions, it's like an hour in a year.
[00:18:41.06] I don't know if we did have any talks about alcohol, I can't remember them.
[00:18:44.16] Sixty percent of schools are only giving one lesson a year, if that. And what they are using in the classroom is not evidence based. 
[00:18:52.11] At high school age, even though your mind seems mature, your body isn't and alcohol is a violent narcotic. 
[00:18:59.24] I just question putting all the responsibility on schools because it's not like the other stuff you learn in school, like maths - it's not factual, it's an attitude. Whatever they say in a lesson can't really fight against everything else around you in the world that you are learning. 
[00:19:17.11] I believe it's parents and generally the way you are brought up at home. 
[00:19:21.00] Parents obviously play a massive part in how their children grow up. 
[00:19:24.08] This is a middle class problem that is done behind closed doors, where the way in which we behave around drink, the way we talk about it, and the way we use it can impact on the behaviour of our children without realising it.
[00:19:35.24] When a man can't or thinks he can't measure up, he looks for a crutch, something to help him, he takes a drink.
[00:19:42.24] Don't look at your children's behaviour, look at your own. Thank you.
[00:19:47.18] We probably haven't with our parents spoken about drinking a lot, other than maybe we've come home after a party and been vomiting everywhere and they've just said 'You really shouldn't drink so much' but actually we're not dealing with the 'why?'. Why did you absolutely get off your face? 
[00:20:03.07] When I was nineteen, twenty or twenty-one, and it was all kicking off and going a bit mad, I didn't really understand that I could do anything differently because everyone that I saw around me was in the madness as well. 
[00:20:14.02] I think we could do with educating our teens in Britain, before they head off into the madness.
[00:20:37.00] As the sun goes down, society fades away, and what emerges from the shadows is a monster of low inhibitions, aggression, and casual chaos. 
[00:20:49.17] It's almost like every night we go to war. With ourselves. 
[00:20:56.08] On one side you've got the police, the emergency services, the council and various groups of volunteers. 
[00:21:03.11] And on the other side you got, well... everyone else. 
[00:21:09.03] Are you fucking videoing this?! Fuck your mum bruv. 
[00:21:12.11] We fight and we fight, it's just that nobody ever wins. 
[00:21:21.01] You go out to get off your face, you go out and drink a load - that's what most people understand by binge drinking. Some countries will define that as having six units of alcohol, but that's only two thirds of a bottle of wine. That doesn't feel like a binge to most British people. It might to people in other countries, but to a lot of British people that doesn't feel like a binge.
[00:21:45.22] I drank a lot in the early days when I first started - ten, twelve pints a day. Every day. 
[00:21:51.23] I could go out and drink twenty pints of lager and walk home okay. 
[00:21:56.05] I see people who are drinking a bottle and half of vodka a day, I mean, that's a lot. If you drank that right now, you might die. But to them they are just maintaining an equilibrium.
[00:22:08.04] We have this phrase 'binge drinking', making out that in between these mad sessions of alcohol, people aren't using anything at all, but that's not what's happening. People are drinking all the time. 
[00:22:20.12] I binge drink like hell, I'm not going to lie. I drink everyday, I'm going to die soon (laughs), but it's not too bad, I live my life. If we had no alcohol, no cigarettes, if we had none of that, this place would be so boring. It's like fast food. If we had no fast food what would we eat? We'd eat nothing. It would be horrible. 
[00:22:44.17] If anyone makes a statement that in Europe it's better, I say 'well where's the evidence?'. I think that in Europe, as opposed to Britain, Europe is different. 
[00:22:54.06] Well there is evidence, because liver disease is going up here and in most of Europe is going down so surely that suggests that it is worse here? 
[00:23:01.24] That's possible. 
[00:23:08.22] In the past ten years, the number of people under thirty who are going to hospital for liver problems cause by alcohol has gone up by one hundred and seventeen percent and in particular regions of the country it is even higher. In the north east of England, it's gone up by four hundred percent.
[00:23:26.20] I mean these are catastrophic levels of liver damage taking place. It's really unusual in the rest of Europe to see people in their twenties or thirties with liver disease, but it is something that is happening to a whole generation of people in Britain.
[00:24:17.24] Oi mate, you left some of your Chinese on the floor (laughing). 
[00:24:24.12] You will always see people joking about a drunk and thinking that's great, and I laugh at that as well and I think it's very funny but actually it's rather sad. 
[00:24:32.21] Right dude, I called you an ambulance yeah? I called you an ambulance. 
[00:24:40.02] I'm not sure there are many responsible drinkers in this world; I certainly can't claim to be a responsible drinker. 
[00:24:55.19] The medics told us to stop filming while they help this guy covered in sick. Then they turned around and started laughing at us. They accused us of wasting their time because this guy was only 'pissed' and the fact that we were concerned for his health was apparently really funny. 
[00:25:14.07] It just goes to show how normalised scenes like this are on our streets and how we've all essentially become numb to it.
[00:25:26.17] Their ethos is "we could be attending an incident that could be far more serious, but we've got to be here with you, and you have put yourself in that condition", and I totally agree with them. 
[00:25:41.08] Go to any hospital any night and it is full of people who have broken things, or have blood everywhere, or who are completely disorientated, somebody's attacked them or they've attacked somebody and the person's hit back. And they don't really know how they've got there... because they're drunk. 
[00:26:04.03] As a GP a huge proportion of my time is spent dealing with people with alcohol problems and it's not just dealing with the patients, it's dealing with their families, it's dealing with the social, psychological wreck that results from one member of the family having alcohol problems. I've seen patients where I've gone in to talk to them and made it perfectly clear to them that they are going to kill themselves if they don't stop drinking. And their response is 'if those are my choices, I'm ready to die.'
[00:26:42.02] Violence is a significant challenge for us. Fifty percent of that violence we know to be fuelled by alcohol. 
[00:26:51.07] It impacts families and children, it puts a load on hospitals and a huge load on policing, and where would people want their police - not policing bars and clubs at three or four o'clock in the morning, but to actually be available during the day to reassure people and be solving crimes and doing the sort of things that police do. So if fifty percent of violent crime with all the damage that it does is alcohol related, there is no case. We must do something about this. 
[00:27:27.06] So in terms of economic costs, what are we looking at here?
[00:27:30.13] Alcohol costs this country twenty-one billion pounds every year.
[00:27:35.12] That's the best estimate we have - it's the one that has the clearest evidence base behind it, but it's not perfect, and other people have estimated that it's higher.
[00:27:42.04] And that's broken down into the cost of crime itself, lack of productivity and NHS costs. 
[00:27:50.03] In 2011, we had 1.2 million hospital admissions related directly to alcohol in the UK and that's an increase in the last ten years of about a hundred and thirty five percent. 
[00:28:02.02] I mean, this situation that we are in at the moment is absolutely horrendous. If we don't literally address this right now, I wouldn't like to think of where we are going to be. 
[00:28:19.00] Whenever a person in the public eye come out and tells the world they are in recovery, it inspires thousands of people to try and do the same thing. I am therefore delighted to nervously introduce Russell Brand to you.
[00:28:44.19] Hello Everyone, I'm Russell and I'm an addict. I did that to weed out other addicts. Who here is prepared to admit to having a drug or alcohol problem? Oh fucking hell, I'm gonna rinse this. It will be a doddle.
[00:29:02.01] I'm not here as a famous person or a celebrity or anything, I am here as a drug addict. As a famous drug addict I can raise attention - I'm a professional attention seeker, I do it to a professional standard. I've been highly paid for attention seeking.
[00:29:18.07] Chip never fails to remind me that I am a bog standard drug addict. Nothing special, unusual, different, or unique about my drug addiction. I'm a very ordinary drug addict. In fact when I first met Chip, about eleven and a half years ago now - I'm about eleven years clean. I remember his words. He was very condemnatory and casually callous and I remember being sort of vaguely offended. He said 'oh, you're a complete garbage-head. If you don't stop taking drugs now, you'll be dead, in prison, or in a lunatic asylum, within six months'. 
[00:29:52.13] I thought, 'fuck me that's a heavy verdict from this guy'. But I still didn't think 'oh I'd better stop then'. I just thought 'Oh no.' I just felt a bit desperate. I was hoping to go on holiday (laughs).
[00:30:13.16] I drank initially because I used to feel nervous. I didn't like the taste of booze when I first had it. Then I realised, 'oh my god it makes me super confident' - It sort of gave me another identity. I've never been any good at modulating, moderating or controlling things, so I'd drink real cheap booze from the off license, like a seven quid bottle of white rum or some dodgy tequila, and sip it throughout the day and once in a while if I had a particularly challenging obstacle ahead of me, I would drink a whole bottle of it in a kind of stupor.
[00:30:41.15] My mates here, Sharon and Martino, both knew me at that time and I remember a journey from Martino's house in Rome to Sharon who was meeting me at Stanstead Airport that day. I nicked a litre of vodka from duty free in Rome, and drank it, and it's only a two hour flight, so by the time I arrived in London I was like a giddy delirious idiot.
[00:31:04.05] Sharon reminds me that the security guard said 'can you keep your monkey under control.' 
[00:31:09.07] I was in a right state. You can really mess yourself up with that legal drug alcohol. 
[00:31:16.04] It is a serious problem. If you're drinking excessively then it's going to create problems for yourself, in the short term, in the long term, in the medium term. It's a problematic substance, unless you got no proclivity towards addiction at all. That's something you need to be aware of. That's my experience. 
[00:31:31.04] The only community that I've ever really felt actually a part of, not outside of, is the community of drug addicts and alcoholics. When I was at school I didn't feel like I fitted in. I didn't feel like I fitted in anywhere. I'm an only child from a single mother and I didn't feel like I fitted in my family. It's only one other fucking person. It's hard to develop an identity as an outsider under those conditions. 
[00:31:54.24] I wasn't a recreational drug user, not from the get go. For me it was medicinal, from the first ever time I took drugs. I was unhappy, I was miserable, I felt lost, I felt alone and if anyone could offer me anything that would deal with that feeling I'd have it. When I was a little kid - chocolate biscuits, when I was an adolescent - pornography, when someone came along with drugs, I'd take it. I'd do it. 
[00:32:16.08] And I believe that for we drug addicts and alcoholics, we've got a spiritual craving, a yearning and we don't have the language, we don't have the code to express that in our society. But the feeling won't go away so you got to nullify it, anesthetize it somehow. I can't live with it. I can't be alive unless I'm living in love and community with other people, I can't cope with it. My only other option is to take drugs. Because the feelings behind my drug use and my alcoholism, they haven't gone nowhere.
[00:32:49.12] Some drugs are great fun, all drugs can be fun used correctly. Like booze as well - It does a lovely job on occasions, loosening people up, but when there are social conditions like we have currently, where there is a kind of an economic deprivation, and where there is no moral or spiritual centre to our life, I think it really easy for all drugs to play too a significant a role in a culture, and I think that's happened with booze in this country. 
[00:33:17.16] [CAPTION] Occupy London, 2011 - 2012
[00:33:23.09] [CAPTION] London Riots 2011
[00:33:30.03] When I see bankers taking people's money and doing exactly what they want with it, and when they are in trouble we have to help them out. Are you for real?! 
[00:33:32.24] [CAPTION] G20 March, London, 2009
[00:33:38.14] We could start by shooting all the bankers, hanging all the politicians. 
[00:33:42.09] A socialist society has got to be better than this. 
[00:33:48.24] [CAPTION] Student Protests, London, 2010
[00:34:00.23] Fuck the Tories, fuck Margret Thatcher and I look forward to her being worm food. 
[00:34:05.07] [CAPTION] Margaret Thatcher Death Party, 2013
[00:34:11.09] You are a hideous disgusting excuse for a human being and I'm so glad you're dead.... cheers. 
[00:34:18.17] In a society where people are feeling lost, hopeless, disenfranchised then they are going to turn to alternative ways of dealing with it and you can either choose drugs or you can choose alcohol. 
[00:34:34.14] So when stuff in our live get too much we just turn to alcohol because it's so easy to do that. 
[00:34:40.09] Even small amounts of alcohol may provide an illusion of relaxation, the person usually feels confident that everything is alright. 
[00:34:51.00] Our government, has done it's best to curtail people's access to other forms of drug. That's something that needs to be understood right from the beginning - alcohol is a drug, as is Marijuana, as is coffee. But it's a question of having a look at which are most constructive and which are most detrimental. 
[00:35:11.15] Most of the information and the facts that I know about alcohol have come mainly from Professor Nutt. As he said in the BBC news, alcohol is more harmful than Heroin or Crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered according to the study in the Lancet.
[00:35:29.00] So Heroin is not dangerous?
[00:35:30.20] Of course Heroin is dangerous, I wouldn't recommend anyone to take it!
[00:35:34.23] The media tend to take a very sensationalist and hysterical view about drugs. 
[00:35:40.20] You've compared the dangers of Ecstasy to horse riding. 
[00:35:44.22] Well obviously you haven't read the paper have you?
[00:35:46.12] Notorious drugs gangs.
[00:35:47.22] Ecstasy and Speed. 
[00:35:48.24] Illegal drugs. 
[00:35:49.20] Drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs.
[00:35:51.00] Shoot the drugs!
[00:35:55.11] So a few years ago I started to get interested in the relative harms of drugs. Why are some drugs legal, why are some drugs illegal? 
[00:36:02.21] And we pulled together an expert panel, and we used this new technique called Multi-criteria Decision Analysis, which looks at all the kinds of harms a drug can do - whether it can kill you when you take it, to whether it actually causes environmental problems. We discovered there were sixteen separate harms and we ranked all the drugs on those harms, and then we weighted the harms.
[00:36:25.21] And amazingly out of that, to my surprise, alcohol came top. Alcohol is the most harmful in the UK. And when you look at the reasons for that, you see that it's because of the social harms. The harms due to health costs, due to traffic accidents, due to violence in the streets, and domestic violence - those are the things that make alcohol in the UK the most harmful drug. 
[00:36:50.17] Anybody that fools around with this, adult or minor, is playing with dynamite. 
[00:36:57.11] The drug laws do not reflect the science, they do not reflect the harms. Therefore they are wrong, i.e. they are unjust. Promoting that statement to society is a necessary thing because unjust laws are bad laws. 
[00:37:13.01] What I've discovered was that the government did not want that message. 
[00:37:18.09] As I was promoting this rational approach, the politicians where saying ' this cuts right against the way we want to portray the world' and eventually they got irritated with me and sacked me. 
[00:37:30.09] Do you stand by what you said in 2009 that got you sacked?
[00:37:33.14] [CAPTION] Newsnight, 4TH November 2013, BBC
[00:37:34.01] Well yes I do. And since then I've realised there have been greater problems as a result of some of the failure to be logical about drugs. 
[00:37:42.21] It sort of implied that basically governments can do whatever they like with scientists. If they don't like the evidence that scientists come up with, they get rid of the scientists - shoot the messenger. Science is critical to defining the scale of the problem and finding solutions. So if you're going to get rid of people who are saying things you don't like, you will most certainly make the situation worse. 
[00:38:03.04] He hadn't done his homework.
[00:38:04.21] It's those same weasel words he's sticking to. 
[00:38:07.23] They even bought and paid for his leadership. 
[00:38:10.06] Once again the Prime Minister doesn't know his facts. 
[00:38:13.04] I'd suggest a different line of questioning. 
[00:38:15.18] The question has been asked. Let's hear the answer. 
[00:38:18.21] [TITLE] HOUSE OF COMMONS, 17TH JULY 2013
[00:38:19.24] Thank you Mr Speaker, I know the Prime Minister will want to thank all those fantastic NHS staff who are rolling up their sleeves and doing everything they can to reduce avoidable early deaths. They're asking the Prime Minister for Minimum Unit Pricing in order to help them do their job and stop people falling into addiction in the first place. 
[00:38:39.18] Minimum Pricing is sitting nervously on death row, will the Prime Minister give it a reprieve, at least until we know the outcome from Sheffield report and the Scottish courts? 
[00:38:50.19] What we will be able to introduce is something the last government never did, which is to say it should be illegal to sell alcohol below the price of duty plus VAT. That is something in all the binge drinking problems we had under Labour, they never managed to do. 
[00:39:10.00] My Lords, Minimum Unit Pricing will not be taken forward at present but it will remain a policy under consideration. 
[00:39:12.03] [TITLE] HOUSE OF LORDS, 24TH JULY 2013
[00:39:19.03] I think this Minimum Unit Pricing is a big part of the answer. 
[00:39:23.00] So said David Cameron last year, but when it comes to tackling cheap booze in England and Wales, it seems as though he doesn't have the support he thought he had. 
[00:39:33.17] It's kind of political suicide to start talking about raising alcohol prices across the board and I think when Cameron came out in favour... in fact not out in just favour but announced that this was going to happen, it was quite a surprise for a lot of people. 
[00:39:46.00] The Government's own department in two thousand and eight showed that increasing the price of alcohol led to a step decline in alcohol consumption and it was the most effective way of dealing with it. Why then has the Government changed it's mind and announced its intention to increase alcohol pricing that was widely welcomed? Why does it ignore the evidence on something which is very urgent and which can save lives, reduce hospital admissions and reduce crime?
[00:40:12.16] What's happened to it since then is a fairly familiar tale of what happens to Government policies when they run up against powerful interests that don't want them to happen. And what you have is who's got the most powerful lobbyists and how do they get their way?
[00:40:29.06] It was interesting why there was so much opposition to Minimum Pricing. 
[00:40:33.03] I feel that there's a lot more questions to be asked than just the simple thing of Minimum Pricing.
[00:40:39.05] The young people who go out on a Friday or Saturday night think nothing of spending fifty pounds or up to a hundred pounds with taxies and drink and everything else.
[00:40:46.04] This is an anti-competitive suggestion which is only going to hurt the legitimate consumers.
[00:40:50.15] There is an evidence base that Minimum Pricing works. I mean, come on! It's quite obvious. So, countries where it has happened - Canada is the most recent example - see a huge improvement. The Libertarian argument about Minimum Pricing, which is that people should be free to choose is sort of taken away, or mitigated by the fact that with alcohol, people drink and the harm they do is not just to themselves, it's to others. 
[00:41:26.16] Well, there's the result - just another victim of a drunk driver. 
[00:41:32.22] Part of the problem with alcohol is our drug policy is driving up use. Alcohol is too liberally available. And the other drugs are too constrained.
[00:41:43.10] My personal opinion on having drugs illegal at this point in history, is it's a Medieval mentality practiced by Medieval politicians to punish an entire class of people.
[00:41:53.24] I don't have a great deal of faith in Parliamentary politics, so I went to speak to the Home Office Select Committee.
[00:42:01.06] Hello.
[00:42:04.22] Good morning Mr Brand, please have a seat. 
[00:42:10.02] Whether or not it had an impact, I would doubt it. I think these sort things are more about display, than function. 
[00:42:18.22] For me, what's more significant, is the way that we socially regard the condition of addiction. It's something that I think I would consider an illness and therefore more a health matter than a criminal or judicial matter. 
[00:42:33.17] And drug addicts by the way, don't give a shit if drugs are illegal. It doesn't slow the process down. No one's ever going 'Oh No!'
[00:42:43.12] Being arrested isn't a lesson, it's just an administrative blip. You need to demonstrate an awareness of the situation otherwise you just seem as though you don't know what you're talking about. 
[00:42:51.12] But the crime, the victims...
[00:42:53.07] We've talked about them! You can tell what party they're in by their questions, innit. 'What about the victims of the crime!'.
[00:42:59.17] The Government likes alcohol. It likes the tax benefits of alcohol, it likes to essentially continue with this image that alcohol is a safe drug if used responsibly, and it likes the idea of being hard on other drugs because that fits into this sort of attitude that politicians are strong and can make hard decisions. 
[00:43:18.11] It's one of the great public health scandals of the last century, that we do not properly take account for what's happening in terms of alcohol and health damage.
[00:43:31.06] The singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead at her flat, the twenty-seven year old was discovered at her property in North London by emergency services. 
[00:43:42.17] We knew that she was an alcoholic. She's been in rehab, her family knew she had a problem - they tried to help her. Why then, did the British public refuse to believe that a women we saw as a walking train wreck for years, that she did of alcoholism, "Oh no she must have died of drugs". 
[00:43:57.16] I'd been banging on about the fact that she hadn't taken drugs for three years, and everyone thought that I was in denial. I wasn't in denial, she hadn't taken drugs.
[00:43:59.08] [CAPTION] Anderson Live, Season 1 Episode 1 'Amy WInehouse's Family', Warner Bros. 
[00:44:06.03] She was a tiny, tiny little girl who drank like George Best on a stag night every night of the week. Of course she died of alcohol poisoning, but we don't want to see it, because it's too frightening. 
[00:44:19.22] We should be telling people how dangerous alcohol is, and we should be using examples like her.
[00:44:33.11] Like they say a lot don't they, that anyone can get clean and that actually is really hard. The first time someone said to me 'try to get to bed tonight without drinking or using', I was like 'What?! What do you mean? It's seven o'clock, there's too much day left for that amount of consciousness and awakeness. 
[00:44:57.10] It's a strong drinking culture. I think it's sort of expected, it's almost a rights of passage - getting older, your first pint. I think it's something you're expected to do, and I think if you don't drink you're outside of the norm. 
[00:45:11.22] Happy New Year!
[00:45:16.06] Fucking drop it into 2k-14 in style!
[00:45:19.10] It is incredibly entrenched. The baby is born and you wet the baby's head... the eighteenth birthday party. It's part of life, it's part of everything. 
[00:45:34.00] It's so bound up. It's a bit like the nuclear bomb - we've got it, we are were we are. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't ask questions about it and ask 'why are we where we are, and is it the right place to be?'. 
[00:45:47.06] I was trying to buy an eighteenth birthday card for a relative of mine for last year, that did not mention drunkenness and alcohol, and I had to look at twenty-five cards before I eventually found one that was alcohol free. And that sums it up.
[00:46:07.11] We get wasted when we're happy, we get wasted because we are bored, we get wasted because we are excited, when we are sad, because we are celebrating, because we got married, because we got divorced, because someone was born, because someone died. 
[00:46:16.19] He turned water into wine, it was important to Jesus that the ceremony went well, and that guests had enough alcohol to drink. 
[00:46:26.00] Well these guests don't seem to be having any trouble with that. 
[00:46:30.05] This guy's got loads of alcohol. 
[00:46:33.00] The groom is drinking, and so is the bride. 
[00:46:36.08] And him. 
[00:46:37.13] And her.
[00:46:38.14] And that old man over there. 
[00:46:41.19] Oh wait, its time for the speeches! Shush be quiet.
[00:46:45.00] I think I was less successful in convincing Lucy that she wouldn't need half a bottle of champagne this morning, at home, before the church service.
[00:46:54.02] I should blame myself for turning you into something of an alchy, stumbling into the gutter on the way home from your local.
[00:47:00.17] I'm absolutely desperate for a proper drink. 
[00:47:03.03] We always get there eventually... the pub that is 
[00:47:05.14] Keep your eyes set on that goal, the great pub of life, 
[00:47:08.13] When in doubt or times of stress, find comfort in the bottom of a wine glass. 
[00:47:14.18] Yes, some real good advice there. 
[00:47:17.11] It's almost like this day was based around alcohol and get as drunk as possible. 
[00:47:22.00] Are you really going to that wedding to watch Jack and Jill get married? No, you're not. You're actually going because you think you have a free bar. It's not about the ceremony at all, it's all about what's going to happen afterwards. 
[00:47:37.20] For several millennia, the Christian church has used wine as a symbol of the blood of Christ. So it's part of what is I suppose the defining social cohesive group, the church. 
[00:47:54.21] I often wondered what happened to alcoholics who were Catholic, who had to go and have a sip of wine. There wasn't an alcohol free... (laughs), so I think there is something there.
[00:48:09.17] Alcohol is not evil which the bible doesn't teach that it is. A Christian taking some wine or alcoholic drink is quite legitimate, as long as they are moderate and self-controlled. I think religion has a very big influence over people's lives. 
[00:48:30.11] So with that in mind and all the references to alcohol in the Bible, do you think Christianity plays a role in the UK's alcohol problem?
[00:48:37.15] Yeah alcohol is a little bit of a controversial subject but I don't think it is anything to do with Christianity in the UK. You could go to America where Christianity is quite prevalent and you don't have the same problems there. It's something to do with the mind set that we have here. 
[00:48:57.15] A lot of youngsters that I talk to, especially here in our city and around our community, have no aspirations, no visions, nothing to aim for, and their lives seem hollow and empty, and they try to fill that void with all sorts and it's drugs, it's sex and it's alcohol. 
[00:49:28.01] We live in a culture now where in many other walks of life, we're expected to consume excessively. We are told the consumption is a good thing and we're supposed to desire things, especially when they're cheap and they're pleasurable.
[00:49:38.08] [TITLE] CONSUME THIS 
[00:49:42.08] There is so much evidence of the psychological effects of exposure to advertising to branded goods which give you a sense of what it is to be an adult, or a sophisticated individual. I think it really impacts on young peoples attitudes to themselves and their self-esteem. 
[00:49:57.14] I think one of the most insidious changes we've seen in the last twenty years is the way the drinks industry has tried to get to it's consumers younger and younger. 
[00:50:06.04] So the invention of alco-pops, the marketing of alco-pops by the alcohol industry to attract this new type of drinker.
[00:50:12.17] Designed specifically at getting young people, particularly girls, into alcohol in their teens. 
[00:50:20.09] It's in the streets, it's next to schools, it's on our televisions. It's advertised around sports.
[00:50:31.20] We know that it does get through to young people. We recently did a study of ten and eleven year olds and asked them to recognise different types of brands and logos, and ninety-five percent of those ten and eleven year olds recognised Fosters and Stella Artois, but they didn't recognise cake and ice cream brands. Even we our alcohol concern we're surprised by those results. 
[00:50:55.12] [CAPTION] Sourz UK Commercial
[00:50:57.06] I just see a pattern where in countries where advertising is banned and the advertising industry behaves in a more responsible way in the marketing of goods, young peoples lives are less commercialised, they're less exposed to those influences and they tend to behave in a more responsible way, with regards to alcohol, consumerism, and other products.
[00:51:21.15] In France, you're allowed to advertise alcohol products but you can't have all of the imagery and exotic nature surrounding the advert. You can advertise on the basis of what's in the product, where the product was made, and the strength of the product. But you can't have a story line and characters and they also don't have alcohol sponsors of sporting events. So the Heineken cup in France is called the 'H Cup' and we think something similar should happen in Britain. 
[00:52:13.03] Your point is to stop drugs and alcoholism by people never starting?
[00:52:15.15] You two believe in this fantasy of addiction in which people lose...
[00:52:18.13] Fantasy of addiction?
[00:52:20.13] Oh a complete fantasy, in which people lose all power of themselves and become victims of this terrible, frightening disease.
[00:52:25.00] [CAPTION] Newsnight, 16th December 2013, BBC
[00:52:29.18] I'm a person that if I have a drink I can't stop, and so if I follow your ideology, I'm choosing to do that?
[00:52:39.12] That's exactly it - it is my belief yes. You do choose. 
[00:52:43.04] It's an obsession of the mind and an allergy of the body, so this is what happens to me - if I start thinking about alcohol, I cant stop, I can't stop thinking about it. 
[00:52:52.03] What's the objective physical proof of this inability to stop?
[00:52:55.23] I think it's always very difficult for people who aren't alcoholic or who don't have a problem with alcohol to see what it's like to be an alcoholic. It just looks stupid, it looks ridiculous. It's like 'just stop it'. 
[00:53:11.22] It won't happen to everybody, it happens to a minority of people. I think that is why it's difficult for people it doesn't happen to maybe to get their heads round it. 
[00:53:21.07] I have an obsession of the mind that compels me to drink, and when I do drink I have a physical allergic reaction which manifests itself in the phenomenon of craving. I was a cheat, I was a liar, I was a thief. I was full of resentments and I was full of fear. 
[00:53:42.21] If you are the person who is dependent, who has to wake up every morning and your first thought is 'I feel ill, I feel shaky, and I know what will work is if I have some alcohol I will immediately feel better'. That's in some ways quite a simple existence, but it's really frightening. 
[00:54:09.18] People who you might imagine are pillars of society are often hiding all sorts of stories. 
[00:54:18.02] The only way we can even get a hint of that is in the kind of confessional, either of the church or the therapy room. 
[00:54:29.23] Images like this have become synonymous with our country. But there is a whole other side to alcohol abuse that we don't see. 
[00:54:41.00] Fucking hell man.
[00:54:43.02] This is my uncle John. 
[00:54:46.13] So I'm probably an alcoholic.
[00:54:53.17] Probably.
[00:54:56.01] Yeah I've got a bit here, but that's it. It's just a sip.
[00:55:07.11] What is that? Is that whisky?
[00:55:09.11] That's whisky yes. Do you want some? 
[00:55:13.07] No.
[00:55:15.10] Ok, no problem (laughs).
[00:55:22.19] I used to drink wine and beer and all kinds of fucking rubbish. But I don't anymore, I drink just a little bit of whisky, that's all. But I'm just a sipper, I'm not a swigger. I just sip, you can see I've hardly touched it.
[00:55:57.15] Whether he sips it or not, he gets through two bottles of whisky every day. This comes to about eighty units of alcohol, which is twenty-six times his recommended daily limit.
[00:56:13.00] He's been diagnosed with Wernicke's Encephalopathy, also known as 'The Disease of Alcoholics'. 
[00:56:20.16] It affects me in many ways, I haven't left the house in more than six months. I can't. I can't even get to the corner shops these days. 
[00:56:45.02] I don't wear shoes anymore, there's no point. 
[00:56:55.21] Maria, my wife has to go out and do all the shopping. And my son has to go to school by himself. But that's ok. It's working. Everything's working. 
[00:57:19.13] He's okay, sometimes when he no drink.
[00:57:29.09] What, so sometimes he's better than this, and sometimes he's worse? 
[00:57:33.21] Yes, now he's worse. 
[00:57:38.15] This is becoming like a wheelchair.
[00:57:43.03] So how long have you been like this?
[00:57:47.18] God, quite a long time. I would say about maybe a year. I just fucking lost all comprehension of everything. Maria would come in with some food, which meant nothing. I didn't understand it. I'd look at it and I'd have not a clue as to what I was supposed to do with it. 
[00:58:28.05] I could still drink some whisky, that was ok. But I couldn't understand food at all. I couldn't understand anything. 
[00:58:46.04] So you didn't eat for quite a long time?
[00:58:48.15] Yes, a very long time.
[00:58:51.18] Do you eat now?
[00:58:53.14] I'm trying. Trying to force-feed myself, trying to learn how to eat again. 
[00:59:11.03] John, are you going to come eat with us? 
[00:59:13.14] No, I'm ok. I've got some whisky.
[00:59:20.21] I couldn't fucking figure it out, I had no idea what the hell was going on, and that's when I went to the hospital. To Liverpool hospital. God it was horrible. 
[00:59:41.16] How long where you there for?
[00:59:43.15] Nine days. 
[00:59:50.18] They found a little bit of brain damage, not much. 
[00:59:58.10] Then one of the nurses said 'everything you've taken in your life has caught up with you', which I personally don't believe. It's some kind of God knows what. Urm... fucking hell... I can't remember what it's called. 
[01:00:40.24] What happened to your face?
[01:00:44.04] Last night, I had a fall in the bathroom, a bad one, fucking blood everywhere. I've broken my nose, which is ok - it's straight so that will heal by itself. So I'm not worried about that. 
[01:01:17.21] I'm starting to get a bit drunk, so that helps.
[01:01:22.24] That helps does it?
[01:01:25.11] Yes, it does.
[01:01:29.22] I spend most of my time in bed, in here. I'm living down here in bed so I can get to the bathroom, because I have to go twenty times a day.
[01:01:45.15] Sometimes it's not possible to get to the bathroom. That's pretty difficult.
[01:01:59.04] I normally wear, not jeans but... bathroom... what do you call them?
[01:02:07.06] Pyjamas?
[01:02:09.01] Pyjamas, yes. That's what I normally wear, because it can fall through onto the floor and then I can clean it up, which is not very nice. 
[01:02:29.16] You know, having to do a shit on the floor is not that easy, but I'm sort of getting used to it.
[01:02:44.12] Just poo comes down here.
[01:02:53.18] How does Patrick feel about your drinking?
[01:02:58.09] Err... nothing. I don't know, I really don't know. Ouch. This is really hurting. 
[01:03:20.02] Do you think you'll ever get better?
[01:03:23.21] I don't know, I really don't know. I have no idea. It doesn't look good. I really don't think it looks good 
[01:03:50.14] My uncle hasn't always been like this. This was the first time I'd see him in three years and it was shocking to see how much he had changed, but for me the most disturbing thing of all is the lack of treatment available for people like him.
[01:04:07.22] Access to treatment is a huge issue. Compared to drug treatment, alcohol is way down the list. 
[01:04:20.04] Well this is a political issue really. I think the Government have focused on opiate users - Heroin, Cocaine and that sort of class of drugs. 
[01:04:30.18] I think there's a real stigma still in accessing treatment for alcohol. It's something that is still perceived to be something to be ashamed of, something that people are afraid to admit to themselves and to others that they've got a problem. 
[01:04:43.06] About 1.6 million people in England are dependent on alcohol, yet only about six percent of people with an alcohol dependency problem are receiving treatment. That's not because the other ninety-four percent of people don't want to receive it - there is very little alcohol treatment available. 
[01:05:00.18] I was asking for help. I realised I was an alcoholic. I asked for rehab a year last January. And I couldn't get it so I stuck myself in prison. That's the truth. 
[01:05:12.07] In this town, and its only a small market town, there is us who deal with drug and alcohol problems. There's next door, where there's a sort of drop in, fuck about, play pool, don't change your drug use, come in and do something, load of bollocks. But there is that facility which is being funded by the Government... for drug problems. 
[01:05:34.10] There's a Methadone distribution centre, where you can get your Methadone script and various other bits and pieces, which is staffed by about twelve people, which is managed at county level by the local drug action team. For alcohol, there is one person that works up the road there. Actually, I think there's two now. And they have to deal with the entire alcohol problem of the county. It's ridiculous. 
[01:06:09.03] But for drugs, which isn't even half of the problem!
[01:06:12.08] Thousands of people die of alcoholism, thousands. Hundreds die from drug dependency but we've invested everything in drugs. 
[01:06:24.19] It's really nice to see you all here, for what is a celebration of recovery and I suppose the one reassuring thing is that we are still here. A lot of rehabs have closed - one called ARA, which has been around for twenty years closed last week, and small independent rehabs are closing very rapidly indeed. So it's getting harder and harder, and those people who have been funded through treatment you are getting luckier and luckier, because it is going to be something that's very difficult to do in the future. 
[01:07:03.17] Focus12 taught me to ask for help, and to not be ashamed. It doesn't make you a bad person, it make you a stronger person by having the strength to say 'I need help' and to be able to do that. 
[01:07:16.22] You know the last rehab I went to they were tucking me up in my bed, reading me a bed time story - it didn't make sense. But at Focus12, there is something unique about what Chip has formed in that treatment centre that just seems to work. 
[01:07:30.00] They just made me believe that I can do it. Ninety-nine percent of the counsellors have been through it themselves. There's just something about Chip - he is very persuasive. He will look you in the eyes and say 'I did it. You can do this'. 
[01:07:49.16] What you have all independently achieved is an incredible thing and the more people you tell the better. 
[01:07:55.12] Having had a previous experience of alcoholism is incredibly important in this work. This is a condition which responds very well to being treated by somebody who has had the condition. 
[01:08:10.22] I wanted to use every single day, and I don't think there was a day in eighteen years when I willingly went without a drug. There were days I did because I was locked up, either in a prison cell or police custody or something like that, but never willingly.
[01:08:28.03] Anecdotally, Chip was an armed robber, in and out of prison all the time... I hope you don't mind me telling them this! 
[01:08:34.22] What's interesting when you see Chip and Noreen, people who seem immensely capable, and who have had an incredible impact on countless drug addicts and alcoholics, is when we listen to their stories, both of them were fucking hardcore nutters weren't they? Chip sometimes, when he reminds me of his using, I always think 'remember to include that when you take his advice - that you're listening to a mad man'.
[01:09:01.13] I have been put in front of psychiatrists, psychologists, probation officers, various drug workers, alcohol workers - all these people - and there was always a part of me that felt you don't really understand what it's like to have to live on the street. You don't understand what it's like to have to find somewhere to sleep every night. You don't understand that you got to steal sometimes, you don't get that at all. So being able to talk to somebody who you knew had that experience, made being open and honest about it easier, because you knew you weren't going to get judgement back, you were going to get somebody having empathy for you. 
[01:09:41.02] You don't feel as weird or as ostracised by society when you're surrounded by like-minded junkies.
[01:09:49.01] Before I was at Focus12, my life was absolute hell. I had an awful childhood growing up. I grew up in a family full of addicts, it just seemed like the normal thing to me. 
[01:10:06.10] Focus12 has completely changed my life and I am ever so grateful. I'm grateful to Chip. Thank You.
[01:10:14.11] There is still a perception in this country that an alcoholic stereotypically sits on a park bench in a dirty mac, and just sort of mumbles hysterically into their beard. 
[01:10:27.20] [CAPTION] Back to The Future (1985), Universal Pictures
[01:10:31.15] Crazy drunk drivers. 
[01:10:34.06] I hate the term 'functioning alcoholic', but I was one. I had a good job, a lovely house, lovely kids, lovely wife... but I was an alcoholic, I couldn't do without a drink everyday. 
[01:10:53.23] Ironically, I gleamed some form of success in my career, but by that stage I was already a full-blown alcoholic. I lost everything - my marbles - everything, I ended up living in a hostel, getting this tooth knocked out by someone because I asked them to turn their music down.
[01:11:12.23] I was picking up butts off the street. I was picking some butts off the street around Oval station. I had this trick of bending down, tying up my shoelaces and picking a butt up and putting it in my pocket, and doing that same trick because everyone was passing by. I had just picked a butt up and put it in my pocket... and I was still quite presentable in a way, and somebody said 'Oh excuse me'. I went 'oh hello' and thought 'oh fuck they've seen me pick up a butt', and he went ' aren't you that guy from The Office, and I went 'oh yeah'. 
[01:11:45.23] Well if he doesn't mind us laughing at him then what harm's been done?
[01:11:46.06] [CAPTION] The Office Season 2 Episode 1 'Merger', BBC
[01:11:49.11] [CAPTION] The Office Season 2 Episode 3 'Party', BBC
[01:11:50.18] I went through this whole game of shaking his hand and I just thought 'oh my God, if he knew the truth'. 
[01:12:00.12] Do I look like an alcoholic? God no. Do I look like I'm recovering from alcoholism? Probably not actually, but what are we waiting for? Who the hell does? If I don't look like an alcoholic then who the hell does? Who are we waiting for? Who is it that's got the big sandwich board saying 'party time'? Nobody looks like that. It's delusions like that that we have to cut through.
[01:12:21.19] In fact we use terms like 'regular drinker' when we mean 'alcoholic', we always try to minimize the possible understanding of the harms of alcohol, whereas we maximize our perceptions of harms of other drugs. 
[01:12:36.16] When I talk about the person I was when I was an alcoholic, it feels like I am talking about a different person. 
[01:12:44.06] The life that I have now compared to the life I had when I was drinking is incomparable. 
[01:12:48.24] [TITLE] BEFORE...
[01:12:49.10] I don't look the same, I don't recognise myself when I see photos. 
[01:12:54.00] [TITLE] AFTER...
[01:12:54.15] Everything about my life has changed so much. I'm very happy now, life is bigger. I see things now, I experience things. I have interests which aren't inside of a pub. 
[01:13:05.16] The personal transformation that I've undergone from being a hopeless, hapless, ridiculous drug addict with no future, no chance, and no hope, to being an equal, valid member of this community is perhaps something we can spread. 
[01:13:18.20] You all know what it was like when you were out there using. Even those of you who aren't junkies or drunks, you know people that are, and it seems desperate, it seems hopeless. It's horrible when you've got someone in your life that is suffering from this disease, it's horrible. It doesn't seem like there's a way out. Well there is - through the practice of certain principles, and the support of other addicts, there's a way out of it. 
[01:13:41.20] I ended up coming to Alcoholics Anonymous. I saw guys in their teens, I saw girls in their teens, in their twenties, their thirties, men and women from all walks of life, and these guys seem to have a solution and I was attracted to what I saw.
[01:14:02.24] I don't know why I'm an alcoholic but it's not relevant. The thing that is relevant is that I found a solution. 
[01:14:16.08] I know that my story isn't unusual at all, because I set a website up and I talked about the really grim, horrible things that happened to me in an average day, and it went crazy. It went insane. I had emails from places I've never been, people I've never seen saying 'that's how I feel'. 
[01:14:40.16] I'm shocked by the twenty-one year old girls who email me, and boys saying 'I've been an alcoholic for five years, my parents don't know, and I live at home'. 
[01:14:48.00] I'm shocked by the twenty-two year old girl that says to me 'this is my third go in rehab. I know I'm going to die but my parents aren't taking it seriously'. I always think 'oh nothings going to shock me today', and then I hear another story. 
[01:15:00.19] We're facilitating alcoholism, we're killing our children, we're killing our young people, and it's fine because for one person to admit they have a problem, is for everyone to admit that actually we all have a little but of a problem. It's crazy that we are in that much denial when it is all around us.
[01:15:18.12] The UK is not alone when it comes to problems with alcohol. 
[01:15:22.11] But there is something about British culture that seems to foster illogical attitudes to drinking. 
[01:15:28.06] I think drinking in this country is seen as something that's very humorous.
[01:15:32.08] The first time I got drunk, I was nine years old at a new years party. My relatives just thought it was funny.
[01:15:40.10] It's become a cultural thing now you know - 'lets go out and get pissed'.
[01:15:47.13] There's a lot of pent-up aggression in people, and it's a way of releasing it isn't it?
[01:15:52.07] Oh she fell over; she's been drinking way more than us. 
[01:15:54.18] The damage alcohol does to British society is immense. 
[01:15:58.17] It's the biggest public health disaster we face. 
[01:16:04.10] I think there are a particular group of factors about the UK that aren't instantly linked, but when you put them together you can kind of understand why we are where we are. 
[01:16:12.20] A large part of it is actually to the British stiff upper-lip - not talking about our feelings. 
[01:16:19.07] We're not taught to open up and just cry... or hug your dad! Or show your emotions. It's all kept in, and the only way to release it is through drink and drugs. 
[01:16:32.10] To me I think a lot of it has a lot to do with that British attitude to life - to Britishness. And that strength and that steel.
[01:16:40.04] This is England, the mighty powerful Britannia. We're so proud, Britannia rules the waves. 
[01:16:47.02] If there's a pre-existing emotional or spiritual condition, like if you're a bit unhappy, alcohol can easily be seen as something to fill that gap. 
[01:16:54.09] I think that we're bored. I think we're depressed. I think we're scared, and I think as a nation we're medicating. 
[01:17:02.13] If you were to look at the British media you would get the impression that drunkenness is completely unacceptable. We are obsessed with how awful it is, and youth anti-social behaviour is a major focus. But I would say that by focusing on it, we have glamorised it.
[01:17:14.22] Current policy in Britain seems to be largely the strap-line 'drink responsibly'. Yet everyone knows that alcohol takes away that sense of responsibility. It's embarrassing if anyone really believes that is a policy.
[01:17:26.22] Until we take on the drinks industry and their vested interests, we will not start to see the problem resolved in the way that we need it?
[01:17:34.06] Who in this room would like to see prohibition?
[01:17:36.24] Were we suddenly to remove alcohol, there would be an awful lot of people who would be really struggling. 
[01:17:44.19] Prohibition in the United States created more death and murder in American history than at any other time than the civil war, so prohibition is certainly not the answer.
[01:17:45.19] [TITLE] U.S IS VOTED DRY
[01:17:56.19] A lot of people are just stupid you know. Put some antibiotics in the water, I don't know, get rid of it all. 
[01:18:01.17] It's not going to go away. 
[01:18:03.11] We have a love affair with alcohol.
[01:18:06.04] Alcohol is a lubricant. It's like the blood in our veins.
[01:18:09.11] Drinking is absolutely embedded in culture.
[01:18:11.24] It's kind of everywhere. It's part of our religion. 
[01:18:14.15] It sounds silly but weather. I think weather has a lot to do with it. 
[01:18:17.15] There is often bad weather and people socialise inside.
[01:18:21.01] There was a time where the pub was probably the only place on the street where it was warm... 
[01:18:25.14] ...and that had a whole load of amenities that you would associate with socialisation.
[01:18:30.15] Greater state intervention, higher taxes, more commercial restrictions - these do not address the societal attitudes that we must alter. 
[01:18:38.23] We're not teaching our children how to be responsible around alcohol, because we're not responsible around alcohol. Who's going to teach us?
[01:18:45.06] I think the way forward is one of education, to help people understand the damage caused by alcohol. 
[01:18:51.15] I think there's a lot more that we could be doing in honestly educating people about drugs. It's no good just going into schools saying 'drugs are bad, stop it'. 
[01:18:59.15] People seem to have the need to take drugs and drink one way or another. We need to provide these people the support that they need.
[01:19:07.00] It's one of the easiest areas to cut funding, and no politician is going to stand up and propose for greater care of the addicts and alcoholics in this country. 
[01:19:15.16] We can't be judgemental, we can't be pejorative, we shouldn't be punitive. Until we have a compassionate, empathetic approach we won't solve the problem. 
[01:19:24.02] That's enough, it is enough now for us to say stop.
[01:19:30.15] If anybody could come up with a solution, you'd be a millionaire.
[01:19:38.23] How many more people need to end up, like my uncle? 
[01:19:44.11] How many more people need to die?
[01:19:48.19] Britain has an alcohol problem, but what's it going to take for us to admit it? To put down that bottle, to wake up, without a hangover. 
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