Graham Coxon health: ‘I better do something about this’ – guitarist on ‘scary’ alcoholism

Blur's Damon Albarn on using Iceland as inspiration for his music

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Voted one of the greatest guitarists of the last 30 years by a BBC poll back in 2010, Coxon also designed the cover art for all of his solo albums as well as Blur’s 1999 album 13 which featured the popular song Tender. But in 2001, Coxon’s relationship with alcohol took a turn, as he admitted that was the time where he “couldn’t stop”. In an interview back in 2021, Coxon reflected on his alcoholism, which he has now overcome, admitting that he was “probably” destined for that kind of fate since the age of five.

Speaking to the Blank podcast, Coxon said: “I do believe that I was probably an alcoholic when I was five, six. It was ready, it was sitting there, just because of the sort of person I was.

“I just had to wait 10 years to find the thing that went: ‘That’s fantastic. I’ve just had two glasses of wine, or that wine just touched my lips and all of that has disappeared, I feel cool as a cucumber, I’m a success at parties’.”

Coxon, now 53, went on to say that the condition “creeps up on you,” with the main reason behind his drinking being anxiety.

He went on to say: “I didn’t know it was anxiety. I thought it was a mild buzz of excitement.

“I thought it felt like this to live. I realised at some point in my teenage years that a bottle of wine stopped the negative self talk or the over obsessing. I became like a suave young person.

“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 drink 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’.

“No one then was as obsessed with mental health as they are now. It was a bit like, ‘Buck up, you idiot. What’s the matter with you?’ A slap on the back if you’re lucky and ‘Get out there and get on with it’.”

Luckily however, Coxon was able to rid his alcoholism with the help of the AA’s 12 Steps programme. He added: “For me, it’s 12 Steps, I’ve totally lost the compulsion to drink since 12 Steps.”

The star was also able to help his anxiety through drawing therapy, a technique he has used as a child, along with music.

“I used to draw songs and I used to figure out how the world felt by listening to and [drawing] songs of The Beatles or whoever,” he said. “That sort of became my world. I expressed myself with drawing and I got other people’s feelings or inspiration about how to feel, all my information about the world, from music and art.”

Drinkaware explains that alcoholism is a serious form of drinking that can cause harm to your health, social life and work life. Also known as alcohol dependence or addiction, individuals will often place drinking above other obligations and over time drink more and more.

The NHS adds that alcohol is a powerful chemical that can have a wide range of adverse effects on almost every part of your body, including your brain, bones and heart. These effects can happen both in the short-term and the long-term.

The short-term effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • Heart rate speeds up
  • Judgement and decision making in the brain are affected
  • Lightheadedness
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Indigestion
  • Alcohol poisoning.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol for many years will take its toll on many of the body’s organs and may cause organ damage. Organs known to be damaged by long-term alcohol misuse include the brain and nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas.

Long-term alcohol misuse can also weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to serious infections and bones more fragile and at risk of breaking. Overall, there are many long-term health risks associated with alcohol misuse. They include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Liver cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Sexual problems, such as impotence or premature ejaculation
  • Infertility.

Treatment for alcoholism depends on the individual’s needs. This may begin with a brief intervention which lasts about five to 10 minutes, and covers risks associated with your pattern of drinking, advice about reducing the amount you drink, alcohol support networks available to you, and any emotional issues around your drinking.

For more serious alcoholism, residential treatment facilities are used to provide more support and medication to help individuals recover. The 12-step facilitation therapy involves working through the stages on a one-to-one basis with a counsellor, rather than in a group. The therapy may be your preferred treatment option if you feel uneasy or unwilling to discuss your problems in a group setting.

Source: Read Full Article