Radio review: Poignant and moving exploration of alcohol addiction

Nuala McCann

Stories in Sound: Under the Influence, BBC Sounds

The “why” questions may never be answered.

Why was I not good enough? Why are you doing this? Why did you choose drink over everything else?

“In my head, my dad chose alcohol over living or me,” said Richard Morgan.

He may never find the answers to his questions about why, but he keeps asking.

This poignant documentary began in the cemetery where Richard visited the grave of his father, David Morgan – a respected and loved journalist just like Richard - who died three years ago, aged just 56. He was addicted to alcohol.

''I never really come down here. I prefer to remember things the way they were before this,” Richard said at his father's grave. “The reason I don't like coming here is I was very angry at my dad.”

This was a very personal story about a father and son who dearly loved each other. But sometimes the addiction is too much.

Richard's journey included meetings with other children of those who are alcohol dependent.

Catherine talked about her years of hurt, upset and fear.

Elizabeth remembered, as a child, how she tiptoed around her mother, walking on egg shells, was she in a good mood or bad?

She remembered her mother's “holy water”... the vodka that made her float across the floor.

She remembered sitting as a child on Christmas Eve, wrapping her own present to put under the tree.

Richard remembers finding his father lying on the floor and how, in his anger and embarrassment, he felt that he almost lost a bit of his own humanity.

Most people's lives have been touched in some way by alcoholism – this was a very powerful and intimate account of how alcohol dependency damages lives.

But perhaps just talking openly about it eases the anguish.

Richard Morgan's story, produced by Grania McFadden, was tender and beautiful – a testimony to how love and suffering walk hand-in-hand.

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