Alastair Campbell blames himself for his son’s alcoholism as he tells of the agonising time he shut his drunk 21-year-old child out of the family home.
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor says turning his son Calum, the middle of three children he has with partner Fiona, away was the hardest decision of his life.
Calum, now 31, had gradually descended into alcoholism but had spurned his family’s repeated pleas to curb his excessive drinking.
Mr Campbell said: ‘It was a very, very horrible thing to have to do. If anything had happened to him I would never have forgiven myself.
‘After Calum staggered off into the night, I slid down the door and put my head in my hands, rocking like a child, weeping.
‘We spent the whole night not knowing where he was, if he’d got into trouble, fallen into the canal… and the worry that this had created a thing between us.
‘That was very, very painful. I felt helpless.’
Alastair Campbell has revealed that he blames himself for his son’s alcoholism as he tells of the time he shut his drunk 21-year-old out of the family home
Tony Blair’s former spin doctor says turning his son Calum (pictured), the middle of three children he has with partner Fiona, away was the hardest decision of his life
The ex-No10 communications chief said Calum’s drinking started while he worked for Mr Blair and escalated after he left Downing Street in 2007.
He fears that his own battle with depression, which took a drastic turn after he quit frontline politics, contributed to his son’s alcoholism.
‘I worried I was possibly contributing to it or making it worse, that who I am and what I do made Calum drink,’ Mr Campbell told The Mirror.
‘I was around much less for Calum than my other two… He became a teen while I was working with Tony Blair. Fiona would say that I wasn’t always there when I should have been and even when I was there I wasn’t really there.
‘I hadn’t even been aware that he had been drinking as much as he was.
‘I’d also had a problem with alcohol in my 20s, and I felt I ought to have been able to do more to help him, but I didn’t handle it well at all.
‘I saw myself making the same mistakes as people made with me back then, just getting angry and telling him to stop, which doesn’t help.
Calum, now 31, had gradually descended into alcoholism but had spurned his family’s repeated pleas to curb his excessive drinking
Calum (right) insists that his own alcoholism had nothing to do with his father’s intense work ethic as Tony Blair’s right-hand man or his mood swings
‘My own depression was getting worse, and worrying about him didn’t help.
‘There were nights we lay worrying the next knock on the door would be the police telling us he was dead.’
Calum insists that his own alcoholism had nothing to do with his father’s intense work ethic as Tony Blair’s right-hand man or his mood swings.
But he recalls: ‘I didn’t have a normal childhood. I would be hanging around on street corners at 4pm and in Downing St at 6pm.
‘You couldn’t really get much of my dad’s attention much of the time, back then he was constantly paging, not tweeting. I remember the mood swings’.
The ex-No10 communications chief (pictured: in 2005) said Calum’s drinking started while he worked for Mr Blair and escalated after he left Downing Street in 2007
In his new book Living Better: How I Learned To Survive Depression, Mr Campbell opens up about his own struggle with alcoholism and depression.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said he tried to help former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, who died in 2015 of a haemorrhage linked to alcoholism, and booked him in to Castle Craig rehab clinic in Scotland, where Calum finally beat his addiction.
The former spin doctor also revealed he has been secretly helping others in politics suffering, adding: ‘Westminster is like a laboratory for mental health problems.
‘A lot of MPs could do with having proper psychological help, but very few of them do. I totally get why they don’t want to be open, but I don’t think it helps anyone.
‘One thing about me coming out about my depression is that I get a lot of MPs coming to be asking for help.
‘More people in politics would benefit from being honest.’
Pictured: Fiona Millar (left) and Alastair Campbell attend the launch of new book ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ by Tom Baldwin at Ink 84 on July 12, 2018 in London