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Four Corners -

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Program Transcript

Reporter: Janine Cohen

Date: 19/02/2007

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): He knew he was killing himself. He would sob and say, "I don't
want to die." He'd sit there with his head in his hands and be sobbing out loud like a child. And
say... "It's such a waste."

JANINE COHEN: Largely forgotten and off the political agenda, alcohol abuse destroys many
Australian lives. 70,000 people are hospitalised each year because of it. The damage alcohol causes
far outweighs the combined effects of all illicit drugs, including ice, heroin and cannabis.

any part of you that's not chrome-plated. So if your liver isn't 100 per cent, it gets at your
liver. If it's your brain that's not quite resistant to alcohol, then you get brain damage. If it's
your heart, it can damage your heart. It can damage your bones. It can damage every single cell in
your body.

JANINE COHEN: Four Corners has been following three problem drinkers trying to stay sober. We first
met them in November last year - about nine weeks into their abstinence.

IAN DICKSON: I'm not proud of myself. How can I be proud of the fact that I've spent most of my
adult life pissed as a fart? I can't be proud of that, but at the same time, I can't change it
either. I can't change the past, I can only change the way I'm living my life now. And
know, I've done drunk, I want to try sober for a bit.

JANINE COHEN: What chance, if you were a gambling man, would you give yourself of being sober in
the new year sometime?

PHILIP MEESE: 100 per cent. Fully confident.

NATALIE CAUDREC: If I hadn't started facing my demons, I don't think I'd be alive now, because I've
seriously started to think that in the last's do or die. It's do or die. Just do it.

JANINE COHEN: So four months on, how have they all fared? Tonight on Four Corners, three people's
compelling battles with booze. Television personality Ian Dickson started drinking at the age of
13. It seemed he'd inherited a taste for it.

IAN DICKSON: My dad is an alcoholic. He hit the booze seriously when I was a toddler, and went in
to dry out into a mental institution.

MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): I think his worst fear is actually being more like his father. And I
think he does everything to try and combat that.

JANINE COHEN: Studies show that the sons of alcoholic fathers have as much as a five times higher
chance of developing the addiction.

IAN DICKSON: I got into a stage pretty recently where I was drinking to an unhealthy level. That's
no one's fault but my own.

JANINE COHEN: What's an unhealthy level?

IAN DICKSON: An unhealthy level for me was three bottles of wine a night plus beers, plus the
occasional short.

JANINE COHEN: The occasional...?

IAN DICKSON: Plus the occasional mixer drink - gin and tonic or Bacardi or whatever.

JANINE COHEN: Dickson's drinking escalated four years ago when at the age of 40, he suddenly shot
to fame as a television personality.

IAN DICKSON: I don't want to make it the sole excuse, but I know after a while I'd walk into a
function or a place, and all heads would turn round 'cause I was on telly, and I'd immediately head
for the bar and throw down three drinks really quickly, just to power down my emotions and power
down my fear, really.

MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): People tend to think he's, you know, public property and think they
can come up and say absolutely anything to his face.

JANINE COHEN: Dickson started to feel depressed. Some days he didn't want to leave the house. He
was drinking a lot, and nearly every day. Mostly he's a happy drunk, but there's a dark side.

IAN DICKSON: I'm ashamed to admit, I've been in a couple of fistfights in pubs, you know, over
being hassled by people.

JANINE COHEN: What have you seen?

MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): Shouting at the neighbours, um, having a bit of a rant, getting into
arguments with people. Punch-ups, trying to stop punch-ups. Shouting at the kids. Just being
totally unreasonable.

IAN DICKSON: I don't want to end up, you know, a shabby deluded alcoholic.

MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): It's taken him away from us. Just...just... It's almost like he's
not here half the time, and not conscious when he's in the house.

JANINE COHEN: Last year, Ian Dickson decided to face his demons and seek help. A psychologist he
was seeing suggested he stop drinking.

IAN DICKSON: I actually stopped drinking about two months ago. It took me a whole month to actually
pluck up the courage. I was...and probably still am terrified of the idea of never having another
drink. I'm terrified of not standing with my mates at a footy match, having...a beer, I'm terrified
of having a dinner party and spending four hours preparing a fantastic dinner and not pouring a
glass of wine to go with it and enjoying that.

JANINE COHEN: What's so terrifying?

IAN DICKSON: Well, because I'm terrified of it because I enjoy it. I actually really do enjoy the
social aspect of drinking. I hadn't reached rock bottom, you know, I was keeping my job and my
career together, you know. I was functioning absolutely fine and, you know, I was even training and
keeping the weight off, but I know it's not really been making me feel terribly fulfilled, and I've
just been getting really, really depressed with it frankly. I think the cumulative effects of years
and years of alcohol abuse has just made me feel and look really old and feel depressed, basically.
And I just figured I like to try and be a husband and a dad and a friend and a colleague - and
celebrity - without alcohol.

MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): We'd have to pick up the pieces, really. He's the life and the soul
of the party when he's out. And everyone thinks, "What a great bloke, fantastic, just a great mate
and everything," and then he comes home. And the next day, they would not want to see that. Huxley
novel - 1 across.

IAN DICKSON: I've just started waking up to myself, to my surroundings and to other people's
feelings, really, and other people's lives. I'm absolutely convinced I'm a lot more considerate
when I'm away from alcohol then when I'm drinking. Mel always says when I've stopped drinking that
she's got a new husband. She's got this bright shiny character around the house who's far more
loving, far more considerate, far more awake and conscious, and also she says the sex is better as
well. I would hate, even within that space of time, for alcohol to come between me being a good
father and not. That's my greatest fear, is that I wouldn't be there for the girls when they needed
me. I just find myself interacting with my kids a lot more consciously and lovingly when I'm not
drinking, and I think they've responded well to that. I think they acknowledge that. You go with
your friends...

JANINE COHEN: But not everyone is happy about Ian Dickson's decision to try to stop drinking.
Abstinence can affect friendships.

WAYNE ROLLEY (IAN DICKSON'S FRIEND): Yee-ha! You play much better when you're pissed, though, I
tell ya, mate. Are your ribs still sore?

IAN DICKSON: Go and get me another water. I've got a close friend, my mate Wayne, we're drinking
buddies, and we've been to some of the best, you know, sporting events in the world. We've been to
Japan to the World Cup, we've been to, you know, the Australian Open, we've, you know, the Grand
Final, and alcohol's always played such a big part of that enjoyment.

WAYNE ROLLEY (IAN DICKSON'S FRIEND): Ian and I have been known to hit it pretty hard, but it all
comes back to if you're having a good time, you know, we're here for a good time, not a long time,
so, you know, get amongst it.

JANINE COHEN: Six bottles of red were often consumed by the two friends over lunch. But then things

IAN DICKSON: I did hide from my mate Wayne when I stopped drinking.

WAYNE ROLLEY (IAN DICKSON'S FRIEND): Dicko's a big boy, and I know that when he's not ringing me,
I'm sort of going, "Why isn't he ringing me? I'm feeling rejected here and I'm a mate, can't you
sort of ring me up and say, Look, buddy, I'm having a break for a few weeks." And I'll go, "Fine,
have a break, mate, but we can still see each other. I'm not going to shovel one down your throat."

IAN DICKSON: I was trying to, you know, get some sort of strength so that, you know, I could be his
friend, even if I decided I wasn't going to drink.

JANINE COHEN: In November last year, Ian Dickson wasn't sure if he was an alcoholic, and those
close to him were divided on the issue.

MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): I think he's an alcoholic. Mmm.


MEL BELL (IAN DICKSON'S WIFE): Because he can't just have one drink.

WAYNE ROLLEY (IAN DICKSON'S FRIEND): I don't think Dicko's got a drinking problem. I think he's
just one of the lads, and that's why we sort of connect.

JANINE COHEN: Ian's friend Wayne doesn't think his mate has a drinking problem. Is that usual for
mates not to acknowledge or realise what is happening?

of silence, "We won't tell." And so...and if you're an alcoholic, my God, I must be, too. And so
it's a mutual bond that says, you know, "We're not that bad."

IAN DICKSON: Wayne doesn't think I have a problem with alcohol. Then why did he say if I've got a
problem, he does too? Wayne, come and join me on the wagon, mate.

WAYNE ROLLEY (IAN DICKSON'S FRIEND): Am I in denial about his drinking? Possibly, because it will
probably reflect on me as well. If he's got a drinking problem, obviously I'll start thinking I've
got a drinking problem. But as I said, we could both have a lot worse problems than we have if
drinking is our biggest problem, believe me.

IAN DICKSON: After seven weeks of abstinence, Ian Dickson busted and went on a short bender with
Wayne Rolley. In early November, he went back on the wagon.

IAN DICKSON: I don't know what sort of a drinker or non-drinker I'm going to become. The jury is
still out.

JANINE COHEN: Philip Meese, a call-centre manager, turned 40 last year, and after more than two
decades of heavy social drinking, he wanted to stop. Always the last man standing at a party with a
glass in his hand, his tolerance started to slip.

PHILIP MEESE: For most of those years, I just considered myself pretty much a heavy social drinker,
you know, the average Aussie guy type thing, you know, pub culture.

JANINE COHEN: Then two years ago, Philip Meese was told to leave a bar on New Year's Eve.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): He was kicked out of the bar because he was too trashed,
And I went with him primarily just to check that he didn't do anything stupid, because he was
staggering around.

PHILIP MEESE: I guess my system wasn't able to cope with the alcohol in the same way that it was
when I was a younger guy, so I was getting messier and visibly more drunk, and it would creep up on
me. I honestly wouldn't notice myself getting to that stage.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): I just thought he was a social drinker that, particularly
in the party scene in Sydney - you know, you meet people in a bar and you know that they're going
to be drinking, so you just think, well, everybody is entitled to have a big night.

JANINE COHEN: About three months after moving in with his new partner, Philip Nelson started to see
the tell-tale signs of a bigger problem.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): He'd be at the fridge with a bottle of vodka in his hand,
or swigging from a bottle of wine.

JANINE COHEN: Were you surprised?


PHILIP MEESE: Phil did actually say to me, "I think you have a drinking problem. "I think you might
be an alcoholic."

JANINE COHEN: What was your reaction to that?

PHILIP MEESE: Um...I was a little bit dumbfounded. I was quite shocked, and... almost offended,
almost offended. Um...

JANINE COHEN: In denial?

PHILIP MEESE: denial, for sure.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): His drinking meant that I ended up having to stop arranging
social nights out with my friends. I was starting to become self-conscious of the fact that they
only ever saw him when he was trashed.

PHILIP MEESE: It had definitely become a crutch for me. It had definitely become a habit. I relied
on alcohol as a relaxant to reduce tension. I've never really been that comfortable in certain
types of social situations, so I always found that a little bit of a social lubricant.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): We were fighting because I was getting fed up with being
embarrassed, of having to deal with that feeling of "I want the world to swallow me up and I want
to get out of here." I would get to the point where I'd be driven to tears. I would be crying and
saying, you know, "Can't you see yourself?" It's...quite a difficult thing, just to deal with that.
I didn't, I thought I would be a lot stronger, but...I'm not.

JANINE COHEN: Philip Meese knew if he continued to drink, he would lose his partner, and maybe even
more than that. There'd been times when friends had pulled him out of the way of oncoming traffic,
and he'd woken up in parks and backyards. Yet the thought of never being able to drink again was

PHILIP MEESE: The idea of controlled drinking does appeal to me and always did, and for years that
was what I wanted for myself.

JANINE COHEN: Did you try it?

PHILIP MEESE: Yeah, I tried.

JANINE COHEN: What happened?

PHILIP MEESE: I couldn't control it, basically.

JANINE COHEN: And Philip Meese is not alone. The great majority of people who have had a serious
drinking problem cannot successfully manage controlled drinking.

JOSETTE FREEMAN (CO-ORDINATOR, SMART RECOVERY): I'd say the majority cannot control their drinking,
if they've had a drinking problem in the past.

DR IAN CHUNG (PHILIP MEESE'S DOCTOR): I would think that, in their best interests, there should be
an extended period of abstinence - a year or even more - before they try controlled drinking.


JANINE COHEN: What percentage do?


JANINE COHEN: And those 2 per cent that don't...

They've got much more robust lives. They've got many more things going for them. And they haven't
repeatedly proven that they can't control their drinking.

JANINE COHEN: On 1 September last year, Philip Meese accepted that he was drinking to dangerous
levels, and had to stop completely. Controlled drinking was no longer an option.

PHILIP MEESE: I think because I can't drink, I'd rather just stay at home. Over the past three
months, he has kept a video diary of his struggle to stay sober.

PHILIP MEESE: Yeah, Sunday afternoon, I sort of, like, just went to see a movie, but was getting
some really strong cravings for some crazy reason on my way to a movie, of all things, but it came
and went fairly quickly. Yeah, by the time I think I got to the movie, it was sort of all forgotten

JANINE COHEN: Philip Meese knew he couldn't stay sober without a comprehensive strategy. His first
step was to stop the alcohol cravings. He went to his doctor and was prescribed Campral, a drug to
help reduce those urges.

PHILIP MEESE: I do still get the cravings, not as bad as I expected, though.

JANINE COHEN: What's the benefit of Campral for Philip?

DR IAN CHUNG (PHILIP MEESE'S DOCTOR): It is an adjunct. It helps to reduce the craving, and
hopefully adds a small percentage of assistance in his fight.

JANINE COHEN: The next step was to get healthy and to remain strong about his decision not to
drink. Philip Meese knew he would also need extra support. The most traditional method is attending
Alcoholics Anonymous, which has a 12-step program and a commitment to a higher power. But Philip
Meese decided instead to try another program, Smart Recovery, which started in Australia four years

JOSETTE FREEMAN (CO-ORDINATOR, SMART RECOVERY): We don't label people alcoholics or addicts,
because we've found that people can't then move out of their labels.

PHILIP MEESE: It tends to promote more self-determination, self-management.

JOSETTE FREEMAN (CO-ORDINATOR, SMART RECOVERY): Smart Recovery doesn't view alcoholism as a
disease. We look at it more as a maladaptive behaviour, so it's how people cope in everyday
situations, whether they use drinking for their coping with stress, coping with anxiety,
loneliness, depression, all those things.

JANINE COHEN: Philip Meese is feeling strong about his decision to stop drinking but Christmas will
be a challenge.

PHILIP MEESE: Christmas is gonna be a tough time. I'm willing, yeah, aware of that. It's
traditionally the festive season. It's a time where, you know, my family gets together, the
bathtub's always full of beer.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): I'd say the future, in the short-term future it's gonna be
quite a testing time. I don't think we're out of it completely. I mean, he's doing really well.
He's being very positive, but I think we have got the harder times to come.

JANINE COHEN: Natalie Caudrec hopes her hardest times are behind her. Four Corners first met her
last November on her 44th day of sobriety. It was her second stay at Jarrah House, a drug and
alcohol rehabilitation centre in Sydney.

NATALIE CAUDREC: I thought I was just being a social drinker, that that's what everyone did and it
was socially accepted. I thought, "Well, why not?" And it wasn't until I started attempting to stop
that I realised that I couldn't stop and every attempt I made eventually it would get worse, my
drinking would get worse. The greatest attraction was that feeling. It wasn't the taste, actually I
hate the taste, it's just I want to feel... I don't want to think, I don't want to feel, I just
want to drink and be calm.

JANINE COHEN: For six years, the mother of two has been fighting a losing battle with alcohol.

NATALIE CAUDREC: It was a continual binge until my body couldn't take it any more. It could last up
to six days until I was just so physically sick I couldn't hold alcohol down, and then I'd throw up
for 16 hours straight. To go through all that pain, and then once I got better I'd start again and
it just wouldn't end. I've lost my kids, I've lost family members, I've lost my partner, I'm
currently looking for a place to live. I've lost so much, I've got all my things in storage. I've
lost my dignity, my ability to hold down a full-time job. I've lost friends, I've lost the will to
even go out and socialise. It's just brought me down onto my knees, and it's taken so much from me.

JANINE COHEN: Natalie Caudrec recently gave up custody of her 9-year-old daughter and 12-year-old
son to her ex-husband. Her own father urged her to do so.

ANDRE CAUDREC (NATALIE'S FATHER): "Do you actually love your children when you drink like this? "If
you cannot take care of them?" "I love my kids." "No, you don't. It's an illusion." You know, I
don't want to be tough, just realistic.

NATALIE CAUDREC: I was too...pissed to go and pick up my kids from school, so I'd ask somebody
across the road if they could go and pick up my kids for me, because it was a 20-minute walk. And
all my kids have always been told, "Don't go with a stranger," and they didn't know this guy very
well. And what happened was I was in my lounge room and I'd just gone to lay down, and I'd actually
passed out, and when I woke up, I had my kids, my father and the school principal looking over me.

ANDRE CAUDREC (NATALIE'S FATHER): How would you feel if your mother is on the floor or on the bed
and she is not feeding you? They've seen a hell of a lot. I wasn't there. I just picked them up.

NATALIE CAUDREC: You know, they'd ask me, "Mum, please don't drink today." And one particular day I
had bought a bottle and had taken it home. I walked into the kitchen, my daughter had found the
bottle where I'd hidden it in the top shelf and she was pouring it down the sink. And when she
turned around and saw me staring at her, she just said, "You're not having any more today, Mum."
Until I earn their trust back, they're not gonna want to ever come near me again.

JANINE COHEN: How does that make you feel?

NATALIE CAUDREC: Oh, just completely disgusted in myself as a mother, to think that I have put them
through so much hurt and pain.

JANINE COHEN: Many of the women treated for alcohol addictions at Jarrah House have given up
custody of their children. How hard was it to give up your children?

NATALIE CAUDREC: That was, it's painful, it consumed my thoughts, it consumed everything, it was
just... (Sighs) Yeah, it was traumatic. It was a decision that was the hardest decision I had to

JANINE COHEN: So what's led to Natalie Caudrec's need to drink herself into oblivion, losing
everything dear to her in the process?

NATALIE CAUDREC: I'm just discovering at the moment exactly why I behave the way I behave, and all
the things that were lacking in my childhood. I grew up very fearful, and I always wondered why I
was so scared of everything. Everything I try to attempt, I feel like I fail.

childhood. I think that a lot of her needs were not met.

JANINE COHEN: Natalie Caudrec's parents divorced when she was a young child and her mother
remarried moving her and her sister Christine from Sydney to Perth.

NATALIE CAUDREC: I remember my stepfather nailing a pair of slippers to the lounge room floor
because we had left them out in the wrong place.

didn't really have anyone to turn to with her fears and her anxieties.

ANDRE CAUDREC (NATALIE'S FATHER): You know, they never tell... They never told me exactly what
happened over there. I know Christine, er, I've managed to find out that she had some scar on her

JANINE COHEN: Natalie Caudrec ran away at 14, and came to live with her father. But she says the
damage was done, and by 16 she was drinking and, by 19, heavily.

alcohol is a way of medicating away feelings and numbing out a lot of the pain, so they don't have
to feel it.

JANINE COHEN: In a few weeks, Natalie Caudrec will leave Jarrah House. She has no home, no job, no
partner, no friends, and is estranged from her family. But despite all this, she's the most
optimistic she's been for years. So what shall we expect to see in February?

NATALIE CAUDREC: A happy healthy person with her life back on track, who's got a lot of goals and
hopes, and I'll do that.

JANINE COHEN: If Natalie gets out of Jarrah House and continues to drink, what sort of future will
she have?

ANDRE CAUDREC (NATALIE'S FATHER): She hasn't got any. She hasn't got any.

JANINE COHEN: Natalie has had three potentially fatal pancreatic attacks, causing her to be
hospitalised twice. She knows if she continues to drink, she will probably die.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): He was an honest, hard working, big...kind...person.

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): He was such a hard-working high achiever, and that
became a part of his persona.


WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): Wayne was no different to myself or anybody else we
knew at the time. He was only a social drinker on the weekend and that sort of thing.

JANINE COHEN: Wayne Jackson's drinking started to get heavy after 1992, when his father died. Then
in 2000, he rolled his truck in a quarry.

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): When he lost his confidence then he couldn't...
..carry on what made him what he was. Um...that was start of the finish.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): Wayne's drinking crept into our lives and our house very, very
slowly and quietly. I don't know. It just...happens in increments that... don't even notice
it happening until it's really, really bad.

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): It's an insidious thing. The more he drinks, the more
clever he drinking. So he hid it very successfully for quite some time until it just
became too obvious.

JANINE COHEN: Wayne Jackson lost his licence for driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal
limit. A truck driver, he could no longer make a living. His drinking spiralled out of control.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): He would drink all through the night. So the longer the night
went on the louder he got, the more he'd know, banging on doors and trying to get in
the back door but it was actually the back window and couldn't work out why he couldn't get in and
start swearing and carrying on, and that I'd locked him out and, like...the insanity of it all. It
was just insane.

JANINE COHEN: What did Toni go through?

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): Absolute hell. Absolute hell.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): I hid from the...from the truth. You love this person and you
know that person's in there. And that person comes out from time to time and you go, "Oh, there
they are, there he is, I knew he was there."

JANINE COHEN: How hard was it to watch your best mate drink himself to death?

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): It was shocking. It was just... You feel so helpless.
There's nothing you can do.

JANINE COHEN: Wayne Jackson tried Alcoholics Anonymous, but not for long. His wife also took him to
alcohol treatment centres, but he'd always check himself out after a couple of days. The couple no
longer slept together, because Wayne would wet the bed. And their small daughter was becoming

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): (Sighs) Melissa - she didn't speak very much. She was
described as being 'withdrawn' and she didn't really speak at all. I thought she was just quiet. So
I also lived in denial about... ..about the damage that was taking place. She loved her dad, and
her dad loved her. But she was frightened, yeah, like I was in the end. That's why we left, we were

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): Like anybody gets addicted to anything, it becomes all
empowering, it's that or nothing.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'SWIFE): And...they become more and more a monster that takes over your
lives and this person that you love, in just the smallest increments, so it was... It's just the
monster left in the end, a person you don't even know.

JANINE COHEN: Must have been tough.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): (Sobs) It was. I don't you can love someone and
then... ..just not love them anymore.

JANINE COHEN: After 10 years together, Toni Jackson left her husband. Not long after, Wayne started
drinking methylated spirits. His wife tried to force him into care by getting the NSW Inebriates
Act enforced, but the court made it subject to finding a hospital bed. And there weren't any beds

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): When you love someone and you want to help them, and there's
nothing... And you're told to let them die - It's against the law to commit suicide, and yet there
was nothing to help this person, nothing. And there should have been.

JANINE COHEN: Because he was drinking himself to death?

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'SWIFE): Absolutely. And it's not against the law to drink yourself to
death. And it should be.

JANINE COHEN: On 28 May, 2003, Toni Jackson's greatest fear was realised.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): Wayne, his friend... went over to see him and he could see
through the kitchen window that he was on the floor,

JANINE COHEN: What went through your head when you saw him there on that kitchen floor?

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'SBEST FRIEND): Ah...I remember thinking to myself, "Well, you done

JANINE COHEN: Drank himself to death?


JANINE COHEN: At age 49, Wayne Jackson died alone from pulmonary oedema, a heart condition caused
by his chronic alcohol abuse. More than three years later, emotions are still raw.

TONI JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S WIFE): He knew he was killing himself. He would sob and say, "I don't
want to die." He'd sit there with his head in his hands, and be sobbing out loud like a child.
Saying... (Soft voice) "It's such a waste."

WAYNE MUMFORD (WAYNE JACKSON'S BEST FRIEND): He was very fun to be around and... you know, he had
his little projects and all that and... It was just a shame that his daughter's not going to
understand that. He's not going to see it. (Sobs) (Mumbles)

JANINE COHEN: The children of alcoholics are often the hidden casualties.

MELISSA JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S DAUGHTER): I miss him so much, I wish he was here.

JANINE COHEN: Do you understand what happened?


JANINE COHEN: Can you tell me what happened?

MELISSA JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S DAUGHTER): Well, he died on the kitchen floor, and it was really
sad 'cause I didn't have him anymore. I barely knew him.

JANINE COHEN: What would you say to other parents out there who drink too much?

MELISSA JACKSON (WAYNE JACKSON'S DAUGHTER): Well, it kind of ruins your daughter's or son's lives,
because they don't have any dad.

JANINE COHEN: Four months later, we caught up with our three problem drinkers to see how they'd
gone in their quest to stay sober. The results were mixed. After leaving rehab, Natalie Caudrec
only made it to a few AA meetings before falling off the wagon. She's relapsed twice - once for a
day, and the second time she went on a vodka bender for almost a week. She's now been sober for a
month, but it's a struggle. When we spoke to you last November, you were determined that you
weren't going to drink. What happened?

NATALIE CAUDREC: What happened? I think once you are in a rehab situation you're enclosed. You're
safe. You've got people around you. You've got the same type of people who are going through the
same thing every single day.

JANINE COHEN: Have you been beating yourself up about drinking again?

NATALIE CAUDREC: Yeah, I have and then I've just... At least I've learnt something where it's not
the end of the world. I can get back on track. And it just means trying harder.

JANINE COHEN: The good news is Natalie now has a job, is reunited with her boyfriend and has
weekend access with her children.

NATALIE CAUDREC: My kids are quite young, and there's no way that they have forgiven me just yet,
but they're showing signs of forgiveness.

JANINE COHEN: And what does the future hold for you?

NATALIE CAUDREC: It's hard to say. I just think I just take it day by day, um, not hope too much,
but just persist. I have to persist. And I know I've had good days and bad days. There's been days
I haven't wanted to get out of bed. There are days where I think that it would be nice just to down
a bottle of Vodka and forget it, but the next day is always worse, so no. Just persist.

PHILIP MEESE: I didn't think I'd make it this far. Cheers.

PHILIP NELSON (PHILIP MEESE'S PARTNER): Cheers. Here's to five months.

PHILIP MEESE: Five months, yeah.

JANINE COHEN: Of all our problem drinkers, Philip Meese had the most comprehensive strategy to stay
sober. He attended a support group, regularly saw his doctor and took medication. He is now is
celebrating five months of abstinence.

PHILIP MEESE: I can't imagine going back to drinking. Very happy with the way things are at the
moment. I mean, no-one can really predict the future for sure, but I'm probably about 90 per cent
sure that this is going to be my way of life from now on.

JANINE COHEN: Now, what are the advantages for you, the benefits of not drinking?

PHILIP MEESE: Ah, just the feeling healthier. I think that my appearance is a little better. I
mean, you know, the complexion's better, not having to wake up with hangovers, you know, the
savings are starting to roll in from not spending money on alcohol. Yeah, a clearer head. I'm
feeling alive, happy and, yeah, ready to tackle life.

JANINE COHEN: What's the message, in your experience, for other problem drinkers?

PHILIP MEESE: Take the step, take the plunge. You know, come on in, the water's fine.

JANINE COHEN: Despite all his best intentions, Ian Dickson's Christmas and new year was just one
long alcoholic blur. His best mate from the UK came to visit, and Dickson couldn't resist

IAN DICKSON: The plain fact is I didn't have to drink, but I couldn't handle seeing my mate, who I
hadn't seen for a year and half, over Christmas in Australia, not drinking. And I would have been
miserable as sin. Looking back on it we had some fantastic times, we got up to all sorts of mayhem.
Came home from parties in wheelie bins, smashed my head, smashed my knee up, bruises all over the
place, really, and all alcohol-related injuries. So I don't know why I am laughing, but I did have
a great time. When I'm on big extended boozy binges, I don't suffer from hangovers 'cause I don't
allow myself to get sober for long enough. I generally start drinking at lunchtime again, so at the
very least the most of a hangover you're going to get is two hours. The problem was over three to
four weeks, I felt like I was wading through bloody custard. It just became kryptonite, it just
sapped me of my energy, and I felt like I was running a marathon.

JANINE COHEN: Ian Dickson recently signed a contract with Channel 10 to return as a judge to
'Australian Idol'. There's talk too of his own program. But he knows if he's going to have any
longevity in television he's got to get the booze under control.

IAN DICKSON: I need to find a reason not to drink. I certainly don't need a reason to drink,
because I just seem to do it naturally. I need reasons not to drink, and I think my new deal with
Channel 10, the new shows that I've got coming up, I'm hoping that my ego and my vanity is going to
drive me into some months of abstinence to try and make me look a little bit better on camera.

JANINE COHEN: Ian Dickson doesn't know yet how he is going to achieve this. Now, by your own
admission you are struggling with being able to keep the demon drink in check. Do you think it's
about time maybe you sought more professional help?

IAN DICKSON: I don't want to seek professional help on my drinking. I may have my head in the sand
over that.

JANINE COHEN: Ian Dickson says he doesn't want to give up drinking, he just wants to learn how to
be moderate. Last year, you said the jury was out as to whether you're an alcoholic or not - what's
the verdict?

IAN DICKSON: Am I an alcoholic or not? Yes, I think, I think I am an alcoholic. I think a lot more
people are living under the cosh of booze than they are prepared to recognise. And it's actually
quite liberating when you understand that, because you realise there's lots of people in the same
boat. You don't have to be sitting on a street corner urinating in your trousers and shadow boxing
to be a drunk. I'm living proof.

[End of transcript]