Patrick Gower: On Booze - The shock alcohol test result that made him admit he has a drinking problem

Patrick Gower was confronted with the alarming reality of his addiction to booze in a new documentary that aired on Tuesday night - with a test identifying the extent of his dependence on alcohol and leading him to admit he has a drinking problem.

The moment appeared in Patrick Gower: On Booze, an hour-long special available to watch on ThreeNow - the latest in a series of documentaries by Newshub's National Correspondent on New Zealand's relationship with drugs.

While in his previous work covering cannabis and meth (in On Weed and On P respectively) he was able to maintain some journalistic distance, this time it got personal as he investigated his own problematic connection to alcohol.

Key to the investigation were a series of counselling sessions he attended to unpack his life journey with booze. In the first of these sessions, he admits to drinking regularly but believes it to be "normal".

However that perception is shattered when Gower is asked to talk through what a week of alcohol consumption looks like for him, and to take an alcohol dependence test.

"So tell me, what's your drinking like?" the counsellor asked him.

"There's what I'd call weekday drinking, which might not be that much but across the week is a lot," Gower explained.

"I drink after work with my colleagues, have celebratory drinks and let off steam. And then of course on the weekend there will be a bit of a spike [in alcohol consumption].

"I'm a binge drinker, a big binge drinker. The only thing that can actually stop me drinking is a bad hangover, then it will just be waiting until that passes and then get back into it."

At this point, the counsellor revealed the extent of Gower's drinking problem. He explained that an alcohol dependence test score of 0-7 indicates safe drinking, 8-12 is risky or hazardous, and 13 or more indicates a dependence on alcohol.

"You scored 28," he said.

"F**k," a stunned Gower responded.

Later, a health test revealed how his alcohol dependence had contributed to weight gain and put him at risk of developing serious health conditions - a result an nutritionist told him should come as "a wake-up call".

Watch the full Patrick Gower: On Booze documentary on-demand at ThreeNow. And the conversation around booze continues when Gower hosts Newshub Talks Booze live at 8:30pm Wednesday on Three and ThreeNow.

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