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Bitter experience has taught Bob Parker the harm alcohol can cause.

The Christchurch mayor has revealed his own battle with the bottle as he pledges his support to the Two Drinks Max campaign to lower the road toll.

The leader who is helping his city rebuild after the earthquake says he gave up drinking 20 years ago when he realised he was using alcohol to avoid facing issues in his life.

"I was in my 30s and I had a number of issues that needed to be addressed, particularly in my personal life," Bob recalls.

"I found alcohol was a great way to avoid making decisions. I could uncork a bottle of wine and think I could deal with my problems tomorrow."

The greatest tragedy is for young people to have their lives permanently damaged or lost through alcohol, the former TV host says.

As mayor he has witnessed the terrible grief of families who have lost loved ones at the hands of drink-drivers.

Life is short enough without shortening it further by unwittingly getting involved in a damaging social culture, Bob adds.

"Alcohol is a waste of potential. And we need our young people to live to their potential."