Ant's addiction is an illness and shame is the symptom
Society's attitude to alcohol and addiction has not moved with the times, writes Anne Marie Scanlon
Ant McPartlin? Of Ant and Dec? He can't be an alcoholic - he presents Saturday night television for God's sake. And he's so nice!
That was the shocked reaction of many people on hearing that McPartlin was going to a long-term rehab for treatment for alcohol and drugs. McPartlin doesn't fit into any of the alcoholic/drug addict/rehab stereotypes - he's not a raddled rock star and nor is he a celebutante. The 41-year-old is happily married, has a very successful career and has maintained what is probably the most successful double-act in history with Declan Donnelly since the pair appeared as teenagers in the TV show Byker Grove.
As a society, both Britain and Ireland have a troubled relationship with alcohol. On the one hand we mock those that 'can't hold their drink'; we scorn the sloppy drinker (especially if they are female) and we denigrate habitual drunks. At the same time our social lives are marinated in booze and the person who doesn't drink is viewed at best with suspicion, and at worst, with hostility.