Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has spoken out about his struggles with alcoholism. He admitted that he felt he was “destined” to become an alcoholic. The iconic British axeman checked himself into rehab in 2001, while the band were recording their seventh studio album Think Tank.
Coxon opened up on his demons on the Blank podcast. He maintained that his lifelong battles with anxiety culminated in his addiction being predetermined. “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,” he said.
The ‘Coffee & TV’ mastermind continued: “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.”
Since leaving rehab, Coxon has been teetotal and now follows AA’s 12 Steps. “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.”
Coxon remembered, “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.”
Recalling the extent of his addiction, Coxon detailed the moment it all got too real. “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.'”
AA’s programme clearly had a life-changing effect on the Blur stalwart, “For me, it’s 12 Steps, I’ve totally lost the compulsion to drink since 12 Steps.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Coxon is among the contributors to Duran Duran’s upcoming album Future Past. Other artists featured are Lykke Li and David Bowie pianist Mike Garson.
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Listen to Blur’s ‘Coffee & TV’ below.