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Eamonn Holmes recalls clash with Anne Robinson

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Making history as the first trainee reporter at the Daily Mail, Anne’s future as a journalist was off to a flying start. However, Anne began to drum up a reputation for being a heavy drinker, something that overshadowed her journalism. According to the Guardian on one occasion she arrived at the pub wearing nothing but a pair of high heels. She poured a pint over her boyfriend’s head and then attacked his car with her shoe. Reckless behaviour such as this was just the start of the future BBC quiz-show presenters’ alcoholism.

On another occasion when she had moved to The Sunday Times she was reported for interviewing someone drunk, and after failing to hand-in a story on time she was sacked.

Looking after her young daughter Emma at the time, she would reportedly drink gin at home which not only made her daughter vulnerable, but Anne herself was putting her health in serious risk.

Talking to her former paper the Mail she said: “By my mid-30s, I got to the point where I probably had about six weeks to live.

“I suffered from a really bad drink problem and my weight dropped down to about six stone.”

Growing up Anne’s mother was also an alcoholic. Anne herself describes her as “part-monster, aciclovir pastiglie e pillola part-magic.”

In fact she describes her whole family ancestry as “a long line of wild, Irish, Catholic, alcoholic wolves.”

Being surrounded by big-drinkers all her life, then being thrust into the male-dominated and also alcohol-influenced industry of newspaper journalism in the 1970s, Anne’s addiction to some would be unsurprising.

But it didn’t come without its repercussions. After a fierce custody battle with ex-husband and fellow journalist Charles Wilson, Anne lost joint custody of daughter Emma, aged just two.

Losing her daughter and only being able to spend 24-hours at a time with her took its toll on the presenter and her drinking escalated extremely quickly. Although she did not consider sucidie at any point Anne admitted to The Independent that she was “constantly of the belief that I’d had enough of life”.
Eventually Anne decided to get help and attended Alcoholics Anonymous. In 2014 Anne was still attending meetings and her relationship with Emma has got back on track since she has grown older.

How to recognise signs of alcoholism

According to Drinkaware alcoholism is the most serious form of problem drinking, and describes a strong, often uncontrollable, desire to drink.

The condition is often referred to as alcohol addiction or alcohol dependence and is slightly different to “harmful drinking” which is an occasional pattern of drinking which can cause damage to your health.

Due to this it can be tricky to spot the signs of alcoholism as alcoholics can be extremely secretive or become angered if they are confronted.

Drinkaware recommends that if you notice any of these signs, or you find yourself suffering with these early stages of alcoholism then it may be wise to talk to a GP.

  • A lack of interest in previously normal activities
  • Appearing intoxicated more regularly
  • Needing to drink more in order to achieve the same effects
  • Appearing tired, unwell or irritable
  • An inability to say no to alcohol
  • Anxiety, depression or other mental health problems
  • Becoming secretive or dishonest.

Having more than 15 drinks per week for a male and more than 12 drinks per week for a female puts you at a much greater risk of becoming an alcoholic.

Some of the long-term health conditions that can be caused by heavy drinking and alcoholism include brain defects, liver disease, heart problems, cancer, vision loss and bone loss.

As with many addictions, the first step of treatment is to admit that there is a problem. Attending sessions such as Alcoholics Anonymous provides techniques to help you adjust to life without alcohol.

Alcohol treatment is broken into three sections, consisting of:

  • Detoxification
  • Rehabilitation
  • Maintenance.

These three stages together help individuals through therapy and medication to alleviate the sometimes painful side effects of withdrawal. Alcoholics Anonymous have a free helpline on 0800 9177 650.

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