Sharing stories for COA Week - Children of Alcoholics Week 11-17 February 2018

Added on February 10th, 2017 4:19 am

Event Info

Calum Best – model, reality TV star and fitness entrepreneur

calum bestBeing the child of an alcoholic dad was not easy. I’d come over from the States to see him at the age of 15 and I’d be thrilled to see him. He’d be at the airport. I’d run ‘dad, how are ya?’ We’d go straight to the pub and I’d spend my next two weeks there.

Alcohol was always there and over time, drinking took its toll on his health. At the hospital for a liver transplant, I remember telling him ‘It’s going to be different’ and you think to yourself, ah this is where it’s all going to change. I thought this was going to be the beginning of a new chapter… but sadly sobriety didn’t last.

After his death in 2005, I became depressed and turned to alcohol to cope. I was lost and I was in such a dark place. It was for me the loss of hope and dreams of all my youth. He was my everything. I lost him and I lost all hope.   It’s a hard one to figure out what to do when you have a relative that’s alcohol-dependent. But there is help, there are places to call, there are people to talk to. And talking I think is key.

I found Nacoa when filming for BBC Children in Need. I opened Upfest – the largest Urban Paint Festival in Europe – and spoke publicly for the first time ever about myself and my dad. Within a short time I found myself surrounded by people who understood. They said ‘me too’ – a sort of shorthand for what it’s like to live with the secrets that surround alcohol and the family.

I became a Nacoa Patron in 2009 because if I had known there was someone to listen, it would have helped me understand and cope with my dad’s illness. This is still a hidden topic and the more we reach out to children who are suffering, and provide them with help and support, the better their futures can be.

Calum is son of football legend George Best who is perhaps as famous for his drinking as his prowess on the pitch.