A leading Labour politician says he dreads becoming an alcoholic like his father who drank himself to death.
Tomorrow Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth runs the London Marathon in his memory.
Sharing a fear that drink could destroy him as he had seen it destroy his casino worker dad,
he said: “I think every child who has grown up in that situation will always have that in the back of their mind.”
Asked if he had worried about his own drinking, Mr Ashworth replied: “I think about that a lot.
“I do ask questions of myself. I do have a drink but I can easily go without a drink for months.”
He told how his father would drop him off and pick him up from school while drunk.
“I didn’t know where to turn,” the dad-of-two explained. “I suffered in silence and I didn’t realise there were so many children in similar circumstances. The key thing is giving support.”
It’s this vital need that has made the Leicester MP deeply angry that the Tories have slashed addiction services.
He vows to reverse these cuts and wants a roll-out of phone support lines for children with addicted parents.
Mr Ashworth, who grew up in Bury, Grt Manchester, found out after his dad’s death in 2010, that he didn’t show up at his wedding as he had feared being drunk.
The 40-year-old will run the 26-mile route listening to songs to remind him of his daughters, aged seven and five – and his dad.
“At about mile 16 or 17 every step becomes more painful, but I’m doing it for my dad,” he said.
He stressed: “I’m not stopping people enjoying themselves but I want people to get specialist help when they have a problem.”
The MP will raise money for The National Association for Children of Alcoholics. It is thought up to two million in the UK have an alcoholic parent.