The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says that he closely monitors his drinking habits since his father was an alcoholic. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Welby said he spent his childhood growing up with an alcoholic father he described as, “charming, volatile, unpredictable.” Welby said his father’s behavior could be erratic, irrational and dishonest.
“You never knew what was going to happen,” Welby recalled. “The experience of living with a parent who had a drink problem is … very shaping as to one’s views of what human beings are like. … It took me a long time after he died to think back over my time with him with any equanimity.”
After learning that the children of alcoholics have a greater likelihood of becoming alcoholics themselves, Welby set up drinking rules for himself and enlisted his wife, Caroline, to monitor his drinking habits. He is not a teetotaler, but he does drink carefully: “I very much enjoy a drink. … Caroline and I have an agreement that she keeps an eye on me, so she will say if I am going over … but I have rules myself. I don’t drink alone, things like that.”
Welby, a former oil industry executive turned priest, will take the office of Archbishop of Canterbury in a ceremony on March 21.
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