Liverpool MP reveals alcohol addiction nearly killed him twice as he came to terms with being gay

An MP has revealed how an alcohol addiction nearly killed him twice as he told parliament "my advice is choose to live."

Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton, was speaking about the mental health battles he faced as he came to terms with his sexuality as a young man.

The Labour MP made the comments during a Commons debate on Pride Month, and advised young people to be "proud of who you are" and who "you choose to love".

He fought back tears on several occasions as he spoke of the "daily denials" and "constant fear of being found out" when growing up LGBT, and warned this can cause a "deep trauma".

The 34-year-old, who is now in his third year of recovery, highlighted high rates of depression, loneliness, substance abuse and suicide among gay men.

Mr Carden added: "It took me a long time to admit that I was struggling with my mental health and alcohol addiction. Actually it took repeated interventions from the people that really loved me.

"I denied I had a problem, I suppressed my emotions as I had learnt to do as a kid and I told myself I was fine.

"Only looking back now have I been able to accept that in my 20s I nearly lost my life to alcohol twice.

"I was saved only by the actions of others. Drinking was destroying my body and damaging me and my relationships in so many other ways.

"Alcohol addiction isn't about drinking every day or drunkenness, for me it was about losing who I was over a long period of time."

Fellow MPs listened on in silence as Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden made his emotive speech on addiction.

Mr Carden, who went to AA meetings, had psychotherapy and counselling, said his family and friends "quite literally, saved my life".

He added that addiction is "killing more people and ruining more lives than ever".

The MP says he is determined to use his own experiences with alcohol and mental ill health to inform his work in Parliament and bring about meaningful change.

He is now Vice Chair of the APPG for Alcohol Harm, a Commissioner on the Commission on Alcohol Harm and a Patron of the AdFam Charity.

He has called on the Government to develop a new national strategy to tackle alcohol harm.

In his speech to parliament he added: "It's killed members of this House and yet we would still rather hide its ugly reality.

"I hope my openness today can help challenge the stigma that stops so many people asking for help and nothing would mean more to me than to turn the pain I've been through, that I put my family and loved ones through, into meaningful change."

He added: "Pride is about celebrating who we are without shame. In the end it's a simple choice: choose to hide or choose to live. My advice is choose to live."

Conservative former minister David Mundell said Mr Carden had made a "hugely impressive, moving" contribution to the debate.

He added: "A really, really brave thing to do but important because I think lots of people outside this place don't think that people within it actually address and deal with these issues themselves."

Crispin Blunt, another Conservative former minister, also said: "[Mr Carden] has been very brave about the journey he has been on in order to manage that addiction."

Sally Benton, from The Forward Trust, an addiction charity that works in Liverpool called the Forward Trust who she said it was important for people of all ages to speak out on addiction.

For help and advice on alcohol addiction you can go to:

Action on Addiction - 0300 3300659

The Brink, an alcohol-free bar in Liverpool.

Alcoholics Anonymous - 0800 9177 650