Labor Senator Doug Cameron has detailed his battle with alcoholism in an opinion piece published by The Guardian Australia.
Cameron explains his father, a returned solider, was a heavy drinker, and that his younger years in Scotland were often heavily influenced by alcohol.
Growing up, I was simply surrounded by alcohol. It was part of the culture of where I came from. I began drinking when I was about 14 thanks to easy access to my father’s home brew. I started to build my life around alcohol and couldn’t understand how anyone could enjoy themselves without a drink.
He moved to Australia with his family, hoping to break his drinking habit. He worked as a tradesman to support his family, though a lot of his money was spent on alcohol.
I worked as a tradesman when I first arrived. We had very little money so I would turn up at work every day, even if I was drunk or hungover – I had no choice. A large proportion of my wages were spent on drink.
His wife eventually helped him join an Alcoholics Anonymous program, which Cameron says saved his life. The piece argues for a national summit on alcohol, a proposal supported by Labor, and explains that Australia’s drinking culture is so ingrained the country needs a serious debate in order to tackle the issue with any real success.
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