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George Best was a professional footballer and is considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. However, he was also a chronic alcoholic. His son, Calum, discusses his experience of growing up with an alcoholic parent and travels throughout the United Kingdom to meet with other children of addiction to hear their stories as well. Calum wants to find out how parental drinking is affecting their lives and confront the impact that his father’s addiction still has on him today.

Published in 2017

Viewing Time: 58 minutes


“Thinking about growing up, one of my strongest memories was coming to Manchester with dad when I was 11. We stayed here at my dad’s favourite hotel. Coming back, I’m reminded of how unpredictable and confusing being around an alcoholic can really be … I was left overnight not knowing where my dad had gone.”

“Understanding what adults do when they’re drunk is tough when you’re a kid. The girls I’m meeting at London Zoo have all had an alcoholic parent or relative. They have support through a self-help group called Alateen.”

“As soon as I started to get older, I was going to friend’s houses and I’d see that none of them were making their own dinner. None of them were making sure that their mom or dad was in from the pub and in bed or somewhere safe. I think it started to click with me then that there’s something wrong, but because I idolized my dad, I didn’t want to admit it.

Screenshot from Brought Up By Booze: Growing Up With an Alcoholic Parent; Children of Addiction

“Early on I found out there was a problem. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what it was called. I knew it was the drinking, but I didn’t know it was called ‘alcoholic’.”


“I actually walked into my mom’s room and found about 20-30 empty bottles of vodka just laying across the side of the bed. It scared me because I thought ‘how can anyone drink that much?’

“You say ‘Dont let me drink’, but what can I do? I am a child so I depend on you. You can only stop yourself, so what can I do? I’m sorry now I can’t help you, I don’t know how to. You say ‘Don’t let me drink’, but what can I do?”

“It’s still hard for me to accept that alcohol took my father’s life. But some children have to say goodbye while their parents are still alive. Danielle is getting married next year but her mother won’t be there. Her mother’s drinking got out of control when Danielle was just 11 and she still drinks heavily today.”

“Over half of the people here will have children at home who have been directly affected by their addiction. For every one person addicted there’s going to be at least 3-4 people connected to them who are affected by addiction on very much the same levels as the addict.”

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