Watch: Vicky Pattison opens up on fears of inheriting alcoholism and impact on future children
Vicky Pattison has spoken candidly about how her fears of inheriting alcoholism have held her back from having children.
The former Geordie Shore star, 34, has opened up about her Dad's struggle with drinking, her own relationship with alcohol, and the impact she's worried this could have when starting a family, something covered in her upcoming Channel 4 documentary.
Pattison is in a long-term relationship with Ercan Ramadan, who she got engaged to in February.
"The recovery from alcoholism is not linear...at the moment he's doing well, it's all we can hope for," she said, giving an update on her father an interview with Sky's Beth Rigby.
"Everyday is a bit of a challenge, but he's winning his battle at the moment."
On her fears of 'becoming' her Dad, she added, "I've always worried, because I'm like him in a lot of ways, and I was aware that I had an addictive personality.
"I do everything to extremes. If I'm going to the gym I'm going five days a week, If I'm going to party, I want to be the last one standing. There was never any balance."
Pattison also discussed the more troubling side of her time on Geordie Shore, which involved lots of drinking and going out, and how she was "unhappy, out of control" and losing all the things she liked about herself, which ultimately led her to leave in 2014.
She has since built a successful career as a Sunday Times bestselling author, podcast host, TV presenter and social media influencer.
Expanding on her fears of having children, she said, "I convinced myself that it was a forgone conclusion that I was just going to end up like my Dad, and it led us down some real self-sabotaging path sometimes."
She said she was scared she was going to have kids "who felt in some way broken like me".
"One of my main motivations for making this documentary was that I had this strong belief that there was a huge element of alcoholism that was completely genetic," she explained.
"That because my Dad had it in him I was just going to have it in me. And I truly believed my kids would have it too."
Pattison didn't want any future children to feel different to others, "to feel out of control, to feel powerless to stop something" or "like there was only ever going to be one way, it was going to be hard and sad and they were going to hurt people they loved".
"That was a huge reason why I haven't had children yet," she said. "But now I'm in a really good place with a really nice man. And I've done this documentary and learnt loads about this illness."
On her takeaway, she added, "I understand there's an element of it that is learnt behaviour and potentially hereditary, but more than that I know we have choices as well."
Making the documentary has now brought her "a lot of peace, and a lot of clarity".
The Channel 4 release for the documentary states: "Growing up Vicky’s dad was a functional alcoholic. As an adult she can understand better but still struggles with just how much her family went through and that her dad could not stop drinking, even for her. Vicky is now around the same age as her dad was when his own addiction took hold and is terrified that there may be a genetic component to alcoholism that she may not be able to avoid.
"Having watched herself on TV, Vicky has also seen the results that drinking alcohol has on her own behaviour and freely admits that she does not like who she is when she is drunk. Seeing herself being aggressive and angry has shown her a side to herself that she does not like."
Undergoing medical screening, she will find out if her own lifestyle has done irreparable damage to her body and learn how our genes and behaviour can lead to susceptibility to addictive behaviour.
From what we know so far, it is thought that both environmental factors and genes can have an impact on the risk of alcoholism, but there is no one-size-fits-all answer and more research is needed on the subject, which hopefully we can learn from in Pattison's new show.
Realising you have a problem with alcohol is the first step to getting help. The NHS website states you may need help if:
you often feel the need to have a drink
you get into trouble because of your drinking
other people warn you about how much you're drinking
you think your drinking is causing you problems
Speak to your GP who can suggest different types of assessment, help and support options.
You can also find support to help you stop drinking, rehabilitation, counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), group therapy and self-help on the NHS' find alcohol addictions support services page.
If you're worried about your own or someone else's drinking, you can call Drinkline's free helpline in confidence on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Vicky Pattison: My Dad, Alcohol and Me will air on Channel 4 on Tuesday 2 August at 10pm.