The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast

Ep 1: Drinkers like us? In conversation with Adrian Chiles

October 27, 2020 James Morris Season 1 Episode 1
The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast
Ep 1: Drinkers like us? In conversation with Adrian Chiles
Chapters
0:00
Introduction
0:57
Reflections on 'Drinkers like me'
3:55
Moderation! really?
6:57
Guidelines?
11:00
Drinking for oblivion and release?
13:23
Drinking the drinks you want
17:28
Drinking and mental health
21:24
Strategies for moderation
23:17
Drinking in perspective
28:35
A bit of alcohol is a good thing?
28:49
Recognising a problem?
The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast
Ep 1: Drinkers like us? In conversation with Adrian Chiles
Oct 27, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
James Morris

In this episode I talk to journalist and TV broadcaster Adrian Chiles, the man behind the widely applauded 2018 BBC documentary, ‘Drinkers Like Me’. The programme has been credited with prompting a national conversation about alcohol use, and Adrian has continued to explore the subject and is writing a book about how to drink less. I spoke to Adrian about his journey and key questions relating to drinking and moderation.

Please note: this episode explores moderation as a route to addressing potentially problematic/harmful drinking. This is not to negate abstinence related goals rather than to present and explore moderation in the context of the host guest's experiences. Anyone with physical alcohol dependence should seek medical advice before making changes to their drinking.

For information or support relating to help with your or someone else's drinking please see here

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode I talk to journalist and TV broadcaster Adrian Chiles, the man behind the widely applauded 2018 BBC documentary, ‘Drinkers Like Me’. The programme has been credited with prompting a national conversation about alcohol use, and Adrian has continued to explore the subject and is writing a book about how to drink less. I spoke to Adrian about his journey and key questions relating to drinking and moderation.

Please note: this episode explores moderation as a route to addressing potentially problematic/harmful drinking. This is not to negate abstinence related goals rather than to present and explore moderation in the context of the host guest's experiences. Anyone with physical alcohol dependence should seek medical advice before making changes to their drinking.

For information or support relating to help with your or someone else's drinking please see here

James Morris:

Thanks so much for joining me, Adrian. As you know, I contacted you after the drink because like me documentary, which is just a thought was fantastic, really just showed that alcohol problems are not just confined to the, you know, the stereotypes of alcoholics as it is. And you may have heard about the Adrian Charles effect in which a lot of alcohol support services and apps reported a spike in in use and visits after the documentary ad can tell me a bit about the story behind the drink is like a documentary. And do you have any main sort of reflections on it a year or so on?

Adrian Chiles:

I've got plenty. But the main thing is that in the street, there's three things that I've been badgered about over the years, and I get recognised for people. For a long Well, firstly, a long time about The One Show, then it was all anybody ever want to talk about was whether West Brom, we're going to get relegated. Then the next thing was when I lost my job at ITV was, Oh, it's you, you're not on the telly anymore. I'm gonna write that that drove me mad. And then now it is, as the drinking going, oh, I've had a problem. Thanks for the programme. I mean, I've just had, you know, I've just been a lot of one person focus group, but I think for people's drinking problems, and explain sort of how to win and fascinating and encouraging, you know, and I remember when I first it was my psychologist, I used to see who first sent me the link to the article that you wrote about having changed the conversation. And that and that was a big moment for me, I thought, well, you know, perhaps I had sort of blundered onto something here with just reflections on my drinking. So, so yeah, so that's, so overwhelmingly, it sort of feels something like pride for the fact that I did it. The Genesis was for me, you know, I just, you know, I just, I just saw that so many people, not least me, weren't classically, alcoholics, whatever that means, you know, didn't conform to the stereotype of, you know, drinking, Pernod in the morning, or wetting the bed or waking up at a shop doorway. So therefore, they thought they were fine. But in fact, well, on any level, I am not fine. If I can't imagine life without alcohol, you know, so even if it's not doing me any harm, there's something not quite right there. So I just, I just sort of went on from there. And that's, and that seemed to resonate with a lot of people. Absolutely. And I think you know, what was so great about the show in in many ways, and I think you should feel pride about about getting kind of cringy or anything about it. But it really does fundamentally challenge that false binary between being alcoholics and everyone else. And it does so in a way that just shows this is just about people in our lives. And alcohol was a very culturally normalised drug in society. You know, I just, you know, enjoy, I just enjoy talking about something sort of meaningful like that. And it's interesting to what extent that people see me with a drink in my hand, and people are just totally, what's the word, totally operate on this assumption of this binary thing? either an alcoholic, or you're not. So they they can't compute with me that I just wanted to moderate and cut down. They see me with a drink in hand. It's like, Oh, you're right. You know, I'm sorry about your struggle. You know, my story isn't quite like that. I'm not saying I didn't have a problem. But you know, just because I've got a drink in my hand, doesn't mean I'm going to wake up. But I'm going to skip that morning. The people just can't compute to this idea of moderation, because, you know, it is so complex.

James Morris:

Yeah, I'd agree. And I think, you know, we've discussed this quite a bit to what extent is moderation possible or not? And if so, for who? and under what circumstances? And certainly that was my experience as well. I didn't drink for most of my 20s. And, you know, I've been drinking for about 10 years now without any problems. But I do remember that similar sort of things that when I told one friend, I was thinking about trying to drink moderately, you know, she was just absolutely horrified with a thought. She said, that's a slippery slope. Why would you Why would you want to even do that, but it is possible for some people. And it's it's that tricky issue, isn't it of, you know, you don't want to advise people who might have found abstinence or might want to aim for abstinence, when that might be a better option for them. But there are certainly people out there like you and I who can moderate I suppose.

Adrian Chiles:

Yes. I think one of the issues with moderation is that it is impossible to define. There's no end point to it. You know, it is always a work in progress. And this this came home to me when I did an interview the podcast with a therapist called john macchia. And he does a podcast with a woman called Frankie Williams, who's an actress who's had you know, a great number of issues with alcohol and now she's on the waggon. I talked to them and she said that night she was off to celebrate the third anniversary of her sobriety, and I thought occurred to me and I said to her, so well, at least you've got an anniversary. You know, you and I couldn't celebrate sort of 10 years of moderation, you know, you couldn't have that kind of get together. Like it. Yeah. Well, when does it start? When does it start? But also, how much do you drink on a moderation celebration party? You know, it says, so, you know, that kind of gets to the that kind of gets to the root of it? Yeah. And I think that's the big issue. And certainly, I think when a lot of people start a process of changing or reflection, or recognition of having an alcohol problem, and abstinence makes a lot more sense, because that boundary is so clear, the goal is not and there's no kind of negotiating that, or is it?

James Morris:

Absolutely, as you say, moderation can mean anything to all sorts of people, including very heavy drinking. For me, it's pretty much sticking to the recommended guidelines, which, you know, there could be a bit more and that would still be so much less than than what it was that got me into trouble in the first place.

Adrian Chiles:

Well, I'm the guidelines, what I'd say is two things. were two things on guidelines. Firstly, the 14 units is that most people, most drinkers go, That's ridiculous. I'll come to that in a sec. I mean, the first thing I'd say to them is, is what? Okay, if you can't get down that low, the difference between drinking 50 units a week to 30 units is massive. Just because you can't get it down to 14 is what I'm saying. Then don't give up on the whole bloody thing. Because you'll be doing such benefit getting from 50 to 30, that that kind of gets lost. I mean, it's a much more of a benefit getting from 50 to 30. Then there is from getting from 30 to 10.

James Morris:

Absolutely, all the graphs show that that the more you go up, the more there's risk of liver disease and all the other things really go through the roof.

Adrian Chiles:

So tread and also the other massive, massive Miss misapprehension, misunderstanding people have concerns the 14 units you ask any drinker, and eco committee drinker, so drinker like me, I've asked this to 100 people, I've asked all manner of people of all drinkers, right? What percentage are drinking 14 units or less? Right? You will not get a percentage in double figures. Even when you ask a drinker that question, they will say hardly anybody. Right? In fact, it's 70%. Right now, even allowing for a great margin of error, and the fact that it's self reporting, but even if it wildly apt, you can still say that more drinkers are drinking within the guidelines than art. Now, this is that's so important, because that's the public health message should be. And this is embracing the kind of social norm that the industry uses to shift more products. What we should be saying is, most people are drinking most drinkers are drinking within the guidelines, not be one of them?

James Morris:

Well, there's certainly a huge problem with you know, as you say, normative misperception I mean, we like to hang around with people that do the things that we do. So we kind of judge ourselves by the people that we tend to drink with. I mean, the guidelines are a public health failure in that exactly as you say, most people who drink above them just instantly dismiss them, either because they think no one sticks to them, or it's an impossible target. So yeah, I'm certainly of the view that we really want to communicate this, this kind of more continuum type thing where it's not a threshold. And, you know, the basis for the guidelines really is if you drink 14 units a week, you don't increase your lifetime risk of an alcohol related death by more than 1%. I mean, that's arbitrary to most people that that that's not a persuasive message, is it? So it goes back to the documentary for me really, it's, you need a kind of more complex and more personal story to communicate the nuance of it, rather than these statistics and sort of failed public health messages.

Adrian Chiles:

The statistics, they do need to state look, marginal gains are available here. And they're not even marginal. Now I want to go go browse photos, I'm sure you know, is the you know, the Svengali figure behind the success of British cycling. And he was his doctrine of marginal gains, you know, in terms of, you know, what you can do to get that much more out of an athlete. And I was asked during an interview, if you could, you know, apply that to public health or real life, that doctrine of marginal gain. I said, so if you're trying to give up smoking, what would you say? And he said, Well, I'm trying to give him so I give you smoking 30 a day, smoked 29 instead, that's a module game. Now, obviously, I mean, I wouldn't argue with him but smoking is different, because I don't think anyone thinks a level of smoking is good for you. But in thinking it's different. There is a key hurt, there is a marginal gain, and they go from 40 to 30. But they're squeamish about about going there. I think with the presentation, the guidelines now doesn't work.

James Morris:

Yeah, I agree. I suppose the challenge is that you know, we need better messaging around it that takes accounts of those kind of social norms, etc, as we're just talking about, I suppose the challenge is that, you know, these issues are so complex. So if you drink if you have a drink problem, however you want to define it, there's such a complex multiple set of factors that might be contributing to that, including, you know, common things like mental health problems or issues. So for some people, alcohol is a coping mechanism. And that's what leads or is connected to the development of drinking problems. So I suppose the messaging side is always going to be a bit blunted by some of the complicating reasons behind drinking and dependancy.

Adrian Chiles:

That's true, but I think, even as a coping mechanism, if it's in control, then that's fine. I mean, something I do suffer from depression every now and then. And I'm you know, I have a quite a significant ADHD diagnosis recently, which has, you know, um, we've been pretty life changing really, although I've got I'm still remain slightly cynical about it at the same time, but you know, I find sometimes if I absolutely hit the bottom, you know, sometimes a drink, gotta have a drink, we'll just kill it for the evening, it might kick the can down the road. But again, even the this idea about self medication is wrong. It depends To what extent you self medicate. Now, if to self medicate me if it required me to go out and just render myself unconscious with 12 pints of lager plus chasis. You know, fair enough, you know, that's wrong. But if I can, you know, if I can just sort of readjust myself with a with a pint, you know, an early mean pie just to breathe a little bit, then, you know, why not?

James Morris:

I agree, I think it's an another issue where we just can't draw a line between something being used in what might arguably be a positive way. I mean, we drink because essentially, it makes us feel good. That's why most people start off drinking, let's be honest. And you know, I drink having had passed drink problems and a long period of abstinence, because yeah, one or two drinks gives me a more pleasurable feeling and does alleviate a sort of mild level of anxiety that I have. So I suppose the complicated question is when To what extent is that a good thing to be able to use alcohol to have a drink to alleviate a bit of anxiety or relax myself after a busy day? And kind of measuring the line between the risks and potential for harm, especially when you have a kind of background like maybe you are I do in terms of alcohol use and problems?

Adrian Chiles:

Yeah. And I mean, so something I've come right banged up against, and it was quite shocking to me is, and I was going to record you, for your view, anyway, is that I was talking to a therapist, she's written a book called the kindness method called Shirou. Is snap. I think a name is but she'd helped she'd helped a woman who I spoke to it was a moderator. This a woman, a journalist, called Marisa Bates is very good on the subject. I've talked to Shirou. And I was talking, we were talking about, you know, what, not why you started drinking in the first place. I know that's important. I'm less interested in that. It's kind of what you drink for. And what I was getting at was what I've said to you before, is that the message that I've managed to get across or rather when people talk to me, somebody says, I've allowed to drink whatever, I drink a lot. I say that that's fine. I'm not going to tell you not to I'm not a doctor. But you know, some guy came up to me, as I think I mentioned to you at the football and he goes, I drink 50 pints of lager are we doing that's too much. And you know, first of all, I started adopting the stupid sort of kindly GP tone of well, you know, you might consider putting down a little bit all that balls, right? And then I thought, what actually all I said to him was, well, if you enjoy every single one of those drinks, if you love the bones of everyone, from the moment you get it in the hand to the moment you've enjoyed it, if you love everyone, then crack on Who am I to tell you not to? I say, however, you know, if you don't then have a think about it. Fair point. And I think if most of us exist, you know, this is the big thing for me. As I said to you, before I worked out there, if you lined up all the drinks or drunk in my life since I was 50, it could be four miles long. I just think how many of those on the truck you get so much out of drunk all that which can't be good for you. The tragedy is that at what percentage of those do they actually want or need or enjoy? Right? And I don't think it's more than a third. Now if you can get if you can just work out which drinks you actually need, or want or enjoy and restrict it to that, then you're home and dry or not dry, if you see what I mean. But there i think i think that is the key to it. Now I sent this to this Sheree woman who agreed with me. But then as part of that conversation, I also what I think is that when you have that first drink, which is the only one really that achieves a change of stating you have that first drink, I think all subsequent drinks you have after that are basically just habits and basically they are a few tile attempt to recreate the feeling that you've got by taking that first drink? Because what you feel for the second drink, as opposed to how you felt after just the first drink is a negligible difference, right? The first drink gives you that good feeling the second drink doesn't give you that the third a bit less and less sugary. I wholeheartedly agreed with this, that, you know, you're chasing this feeling. But then she said something, which, which really hit home and I've got an answer. She said, Yeah, but what if you are just drinking for oblivion? And then I've got I've got no answers, then I don't know what you said. I think most people don't drink for actual oblivion. But I can't support that. That's my hunch. But if you are drinking for Oblivion, then I think, I don't know. I think all attempts at moderation are kind of going to fail. Because you know, you're, by definition, moderation isn't going to give you Oblivion, if you take if you enjoy drinking, and like that feeling nothing you can moderate because less is more. And that wandering will give you that feeling and you'll realise you won't need 10 but you're probably going to need 10 if oblivion is your purpose.

James Morris:

Yeah, I'd agree. And I think I can relate totally where I am now in my life to the just having the drinks that you enjoy, and so on. But yeah, my my entry to the problem drinking arena was, you know, I was I was a teenager in the 90s binge Britain, as they might call it now or peak booze. When alcopops were invented..

Adrian Chiles:

Well I was a teenager in the 80s. And before that, there were people in the 70s i don't i don't know which decades bingier..

James Morris:

Well, in terms of just pure consumption, you know, 2004 was the peak and it was all kind of rising up to them. But uh, you know, certainly when I look back on on fair, and it really was escapism oblivion. And, you know, the way I kind of make sense of it is, you know, some of the issues I experienced in childhood and finding ways to cope with that I hadn't really made sense of all that and alcohol was arrived really just it felt like letting go of all this stuff that I'd internalised It wasn't until kind of in my late 20s. And having not drunk for a while doing kind of load a psychotherapy, where I felt like I'm picked some of those past issues, it felt like I was dealing with that same sort of negative energy that drove the binge drinking. So which really was destructive and drinking to oblivion. I think what also needs mentioning though, is that that is the context that again, it's the social norms that I surrounded myself with mates who are like doing the same thing, and it was encouraged and and you know, it's normal, when you're younger, to drink more, and to be more risk taking and to have more insecurity about your life and where you're going and all that kind of stuff. But certainly, from my perspective, I feel like the more issues or insecurities or problems you have outside of alcohol, the more alcohol is going to be used destructively and problematically and the harder it be to moderate.

Adrian Chiles:

Yeah, I agree. I'm, I suppose I've got I'm looking into the reasons why you drink at your core. I'm not some less interested, I feel less qualified to look at that. But actual strategies for reduction for harm reduction. And what I've realised talking to different moderators, there is just just as people drink too much for different reasons, people successful moderators moderate in different ways. You know, the no two stories are the same. That's fine. I mean, to give it to two extremes, there's a woman I spoke to Glasgow, oh, Ben, you know, as a serious binge drinker, we just go completely mad collapse, banger in blah, blah, blah. And I think there was a bit of coke involved and whatnot. But she stopped completely, eventually. But she said she couldn't really feel as if she'd stopped until she could show that she could drink a bit. So now, she drinks a bit, but I mean, it's like four glasses a month, right? But she just, you know, she can take it or leave it. Now. That's one way to moderate but to me that is different from somebody who still has the love of drink. I mean, she she's so indifferent to it that she can drink or not. Whereas I spoke to a comedian called john Robbins. It was really interesting. Now he, he, he's drunk an awful lot in his time, and one thing led to another he thought he's got a cut down. I think his girlfriend left him he told me and then, but he did dry January one year, because I think I've just got and, and then he had this big calendar on the wall, he seemed to have with all the dates of the year, obviously been great big sort of business kind of calendar. And he'd been crossing off the days on it with a red Sharpie that he'd you know, all these alcohol free days, which obviously they were 31 in January, and then he thought I've done 31 days, I'm going to do another hundred. So he just slavish Li follows that he does. He did another hundred days. So he worked out what days he wasn't going to drink and made them alcohol free days. But you know, the planning around them, you know, was incredible. He really had to focus. You know, by the end of the year, he'd actually done 136 alcohol free days, and the following year, he did a few more than that. But he thinks about not drinking, he really tries hard. You know, he can't wait to start drinking. You know, he, you know, it's dying to go to the pub, he can't wait, he looks forward to it. Now, you know, 910 out of 10 will tell you, which is flawed, he's doomed, you know, he's, you know, he's not tackling the root causes, you know, he's putting so much energy into the into, it's putting as much energy into not drink, give as drinking, then, you know, it's never gonna work. But you know, I would just say whatever bloody works?

James Morris:

Absolutely. I mean, there's different ways to moderate and it's could be days off in the week, or it could be just, you know, how much you drink per occasion dependent on the occasion. So 100% agree, you know, less is always more if you're experiencing or drinking up levels that might be deemed problematic. So, so you're writing a book at the moment? And it's kind of focused on these strategies? I mean, don't don't give too much away before it's come out. But can you say anything more about it?

Adrian Chiles:

Well, it's a long, it's just exploring moderation. It's like looking. I mean, it's the kind of thing we've talked about. It's different strategies, people have just little thoughts people have can be so valuable. And one guy, he actually wrote to me after I've done my programme, he's in his 70s, I think you've been a he's an academic lecturer in sociology at bath University. He's a big West Brom fan, so I know. And he wrote me a really interested letter back at the time with his strategies. And one thing he said, he said, I needed to take alcohol before he moderate, I need to take alcohol off. It's on deserved pedestal in my life, you know, which is a slightly clumsy phrase, but that's so right. You know, the undeserved pedestal, it's important, it's not that important, you know, so he managed to drink less, it was just that little kind of thought he had, which turned around for him. And I have that, you know, I sort of keep that thought. I keep that thought in my mind. And, you know, I try and say that to people. I also think it's working out when you think you've got an issue. I mean, something a friend said to me was, she was a big drink. And it was one year when I wasn't drinking for Lent or something. And she said, you know, without alcohol, the worlds of any age place for me. And I had two reactions one was for Yeah, I agree. And the other one was just How shameful you know, I was walking through a park near my house and the sky was blue, the trees were green. You know, I thought I've got a lot to be grateful for. No, I'm just not having that. You know, alcohol has got me thinking the world is beige. Without it, then it's kind of got me. And I've kind of got to turn around that and show and show it who's boss, as john as john McKellen, that therapist said,but alcohol, he said, Yeah, who's the gaffer, you know, who's in charge? Are you in charge of the drink? Or is the drinking charge you? And I think that, you know, that's a good way of that's also a good way of thinking about is, you know, identifying when it's gone too far for you. I had this Marisa woman said to me, You know, I've came to think alcohol was essential in my life, not just enjoyable or, or another word like that now, essential. If you're thinking it's essential to my life, then things have gone too far. But also, I think a bit to encourage people to moderate I think the biggest, biggest motivator to moderate should be ironically, your love of drinking itself. Because one day, you're not going to be able to, if you carry on like you are either your liver or go or you will get into a state where you are totally dependent and you are pissing your paths or drinking Pono in the morning, you know, and our channel, something that channel something that Paul cook, who was the drummer in the Sex Pistols sent to me is a mate of mine are lovely guys. And he's 16 years old, he took drinks in my local, I spent quite a bit of time with him. And he was always asking me what about my drinking? Let me just I'm having a couple of pints, you know, a lot, a couple of pints that writes in May, it's fine. I'll say, Well, how come you weren't addicted to heroin? He said, I was I was addicted to heroin. But as you get out of it, and he said, I just don't know what you did. And then he said something about heroin, which I thought was interesting. He said, The tragedy of heroin is that it was wasted on young dicks like me when you really need heroin, because when you're at you totally knackered, you know, you can't call yourself down the pub, your legs are dirty. He said, when I'm at, I'll be on the gear all the time, because that's when you need it. Now, I'm not advocating that cookie, Abby's tonkinese chick, butthe point is, you know, say, you know, make sure alcohol is available to you when you do need it. You know, because when I'm in my 80s, you know, and in the twilight of my years, oh, my God, do I want to be able to go for a quiet pint may be another thing that's, that's that's the challenge, isn't it?

James Morris:

It's kind of as humans were not the best thinking about and regulating our kind of behaviours were almost like the kind of mice at the dispenser of the kind of cocaine laced water, you know, just keep pressing. Because it feels good. And that's kind of maybe evolutionary, in its in its nature in a way. But yeah, certainly if we could get people to recognise when you know, their drinking might be heading in a problematic direction sooner, then potentially, you could allow more people to enjoy alcohol in a way that doesn't cause problems than than needing to give it up all together. At the same time. You know, we don't want to discourage suppose abstinence altogether, a lot of people are very happy with abstinence and obviously reshape the whole lives around abstinence in different ways. And some people just quietly Get on with it. But yeah, so certainly, when you're talking about the guy giving up heroin, that reminded me of how most of the Vietnam War Veterans used or addicted to heroin during the Vietnam War, and then nearly all of them when they got back home to America just stopped altogether. And that is kind of used as a powerful kind of anecdote about how often these things are within our control. And we're not bound necessarily by the beliefs of kind of total loss of control when something maybe has become a bit of a problem. And I think the other thing you're saying about moderation, I wanted to ask you about when people identify these strategies and put them into practice, do you find Did you find yourself for to the people you speak to tend to talk about it getting easier with time? Certainly, that was my experience that just sort of a saying of a day at a time works also for my duration in the sense that when you've made the decision to change and embed these strategies, the starting point can be really difficult. But just over time, it just becomes embedded as the new normal.

Adrian Chiles:

Yes, it does. It's undoubtedly does, because I just find, the less I drink, the less I want to drink. I'm starting the same with food, actually, the more I eat, the more I want to eat. And I think it can be like that we drink it, I think what's important with drinking is, look, if things go a bit wrong for an evening, or even a weekend or even a week, right? Then you know, don't despair. Don't throw the towel in you know, you can find your you can rediscover your new normal, there's too much shame associated with it, then you think, oh, I'll solve it. But you know, what we haven't talked about is counting Unix. And I still think that absolutely fundamental to every aspect of it, you absolutely have to have to have to count what you're drinking. It's boring. It's tedious. It's you know, it gets to your self esteem. It's all about good news or bad things, you know, but my god is essential, or you just don't know where you are with anything.

James Morris:

Absolutely. There's a bit in the drink is like me when you're sort of lying on the bed, the rating Yap, because then you sort of throw the phone down Mind Your Own bloody business. A

Adrian Chiles:

And by doing a buy in it, someone said to me, I hadn't thought of it was one of my moderators as well. Marissa said the trouble with the trouble with moderating is they so what she didn't want to miss about drinking? Is that kind of what she called the fucking thing. I fuck it. I'm just gonna go mad. Right? Now a bit of that is kind of helpful in life. And as she said, drinking is in a way, you know, one of the greatest exemplars of living in the moment. We're always told to live in the moment. Well, I would rather just show the limitation of that doctrine or that advice. Because if you truly live in the moment, you you drink 10 pints of lager of 10 whiskey chases and smoke 10 bread Marlboro because you're living in the moment, so but you know, you know, I'm reducing it to absurdity. But there is I think that's a fair point. I hadn't really thought about that, either. No, I agree. Because I often think when I'm reflecting on my relationship with alcohol, and whether it could still be deemed problematic in any way often think, well, if I had a week left to live, how much would I drink? And I'm pretty sure it would be quite a lot, not just because I only had a week to live but I'd want to just live in the moment as you say, so what do you one of the things I've been surprised how many Could I use always got alcoholic now in inverted commas, but, you know, recovering alcoholics, who are either used a, but are generally of the view, if I touch a drop, then I'm done. Right? Now. The the man I've questioned I've asked them is like, what intervention? Could that have been? That could have stopped you get in that way? Stop, you ended up where you were without God. Now, I expected all of them to say no, it was always going to happen, because you know, I've got this gene or whatever, but none of them have yet. They've all say, Well, I wish my doctrine said something a bit differently.I wish my family had sent this. Now, like, you know, I know that maybe they're kidding themselves, but I don't think they are because, you know, in other respects, they've acknowledged that yes, I did have a massive problem. And the only thing for me to do is not drink but they all do think there's a moment where they could have been stopped going down but like, it was an absolutely pre determined from the moment they had their first drink. as Susan Laurie is a woman who she wrote a book it kind of self published exclusively like from the Got to sober forever or something, you know, but she was, you know, she nearly killed herself with a drink and ruined her life. And I finally managed to get a cell back sorted. And she said to me, he said, Look, to be honest, if I'm sitting your programme, when I was in my 20s, he probably would have changed matters. Now, I was, like, flattered by that, but somewhat amazed you said it, because I just think it's interesting that people do believe there is an event intervention might have been possible, of course,

James Morris:

I mean, that's a huge question, and one that is impossible to answer. But I think my experiences I'd say are similar that most people even if they believe that it's a disease, and that they are an alcoholic, or however they interpret that it wasn't, you know, from the moment they were born pre destined. So it goes back to that earlier point, there's no one single answer for anyone. And we can never say what would have worked, and certainly for me, and for a lot of people, it's that wake up call of physical health problems that really triggers that change. And that seems to be the real powerful motivator, for obvious reasons. But But then again, it's a spectrum. There's not not everyone needs that kind of scary wake up call. And I think, again, that goes back to the power of the documentary, I think we're really did was de-stigmatise, the idea of alcohol problems in the sense of just showing it as something that affects you know, so many people in so many different ways. So it isn't about do you need to adopt this alcoholic label or not. And that just opens up a bit of a more open and non stereotypes reflection process.

Adrian Chiles:

Yeah, I think it goes and also, if you look at it, and I think the important thing to get across is that the drinkers like me and the drinkers kind of featured, okay, if I would say you have got a problem of kind, but you haven't got a serious problem yet. Even if you put the get on the end, because the gateway to end up, you know, drinky Pono in the morning, waking up in the gutter, being the cliched alcoholic all the way to the the gateway. It's the kind of drinking I do at some stage you've been through, you've been where I am, you know, you Everyone has been through that face. So the I think that's the important thing to sort of bear. That's the important thing to bear in mind. I mean, a lot of getting get that message. I mean, I've got a lot of drunks come up to me, obviously tonight. Go fucking love that programme. Fucking brilliant. I think well, good on you, mate. I mean, I, you know, if you're only getting like this once a week, then fine. But it wasn't just pure entertainment, you know, holding a mirror up to, you know, holding the mirror up to human nature makes great if he did, but the point was to do something with that information.

James Morris:

I really think it did. I mean, just looking at the YouTube version of our notes, a BBC programme. I'm not sure it's supposed to be on YouTube, but it's at 1.6 million views and counting. So yeah, I think it really caught a kind of narrative that really needs to be had. So just briefly, do you have a timeline for the book?

Adrian Chiles:

Well, it's going to be too late for this Christmas, so probably the new year, but he's quite you know, it's such a complex area. I keep learning new things and then kind of rewrite everything. I just need to sort of get it down and get in touch.

James Morris:

Thanks so much, Adrian. All the best me

Introduction
Reflections on 'Drinkers like me'
Moderation! really?
Guidelines?
Drinking for oblivion and release?
Drinking the drinks you want
Drinking and mental health
Strategies for moderation
Drinking in perspective
A bit of alcohol is a good thing?
Recognising a problem?