Why England's New Archbishop Won't Drink Alone

Why England's New Archbishop Won't Drink Alone

By McCarton Ackerman 03/18/13

The new head of the Church of England fears ending up like his alcoholic father.

Image: 
v2-Bishop-of-Durham_0.jpg
Like father, like son? Photo via

The painful memories of having an alcoholic father still resonate deeply with Justin Welby, 57, the new senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury confesses that he has his wife Caroline closely monitor his alcohol intake and refuses to drink alone for fear of ending up like his father Gavin. He describes the former bootlegger, who died in 1977, as “very erratic...very irrational...then, of course, one worries how much of this is how one’s going to behave oneself," and he adds: "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." Welby says he is far from a teetotaler and will "very much enjoy a drink." But he asks his wife Caroline to tell him if he's had one too many, because “the children of alcoholics have a much better chance themselves of having a dependency problem.” In an interview last November, Welby spoke in-depth about his father and how he bootlegged whiskey in the US with his "Italian friends" during the Prohibition years. “I lived with him but I didn’t know him very well,” said Welby. “He told lots of stories but one was never really sure what was true and what wasn’t. He drank quite heavily and, you know, he would say things sometimes when he had been drinking and you did not know what was true or not.” Welby is slated to be enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury on Thursday.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
McCarton.JPG

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

Disqus comments