Dan Carden MP
Reducing stigma of recovery
Dan Carden is Member of Parliament for Liverpool Walton. He made the media headlines this year when he gave a moving speech in Parliament that he is in recovery from addiction, helping to reduce the stigma of recovery. Addiction is “killing more people and ruining more lives than ever… I hope my openness can help challenge the stigma that stops so many people asking for help,” he said.
“It took me a long time to admit that I was struggling with my mental health and alcohol addiction – actually it took repeated interventions from the people who really loved me,” the MP said. “I denied I had a problem, I suppressed my emotions – as I’d learned to do as a kid – and I told myself things were fine.”
Carden said it was only now, in his 3rd year of recovery, he could accept that “I twice nearly lost my life to alcohol” and was saved only by the actions of others. “Drinking was destroying my body, it was damaging me and my relationships in so many other ways.” he said.
Carden said his family supported him and friends “quite literally saved my life”, but that it took Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, psychotherapy and counselling to get to the point where he was healthy, loved life and had a wonderful partner.
“I’ve gone from not recognising addiction in myself for so, so long to seeing it everywhere and doing its worst damage in the most deprived communities… Addiction is killing more people and ruining more lives than ever and had led to the deaths of several MPs – and yet many would still rather hide its ugly reality.
“Pride is about celebrating who we are without shame. In the end, it’s a simple choice: choose to hide or choose to live. My advice is choose to live.”
Dan’s mother served in the National Health Service for over 40 years on the frontline.