The ‘Coffee and TV’ hitmaker checked himself into The Priory in 2001 after his booze binges began to last months and he realised he had a major problem with drinking.
Graham believes the tendency to become an addict was in him all his life due to his anxiety.
Speaking on the Blank podcast, he said: “I do believe that I was probably an alcoholic when I was five or six, it was ready, it was sitting there, just because of the sort of person I was, the mind I had, I just had to wait 10 years to find the thing that went, ‘Whoa, that’s fantastic, I’ve just had two glasses of wine and all of that has disappeared, I feel absolutely cool as a cucumber, I’m a success at parties…’ Well you kind of think you are.
“I think the reason I drank in the first place was because of anxiety, I think I always suffered from anxiety … I didn’t know it was anxiety, I just thought that mild buzz of embarrassment and nervousness was what it felt to live, I thought that’s what being alive felt like. But I realised at some point in my teenage years that a bottle of wine just shut all of that off, shut it down, stopped the negativity.”
Graham admits his boozing began as social drinking when Blur made it big during the Britpop explosion of the 90s, but it gradually became heavier and heavier until it was virtually non-stop.
However, the 52-year-old musician has now been teetotal for years since beating his cravings by following the 12 Steps of AA.
He said: “It was pretty innocent really for a good while. I suppose I was drinking every day, in a nice, normal sort of way, with friends, down the pub. That would be from six o’clock, we’d start playing pool, and after the pub shut I’d go home and that was fine for me. A few years later, ‘No the pub is shutting, there has to be something else,’ or, ‘My hangover is so bad I might to knock the edges off earlier than six.’ It does creep up on you until, I think this was 2001, perhaps, I couldn’t stop, it was as simple as that.
“I was more of a binger, I could go a long time without it, but once I started, I couldn’t really stop, I could go on for days. In 2001, before the end, this was months. I started to think, ‘Oh my god, I better do something about this, this is getting a little bit scary.’
“For me, it’s 12 Steps, I’ve totally lost the compulsion to drink since 12 Steps.”
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