Blur guitarist Graham Coxon’s experience with anxiety, drinking and getting help

Graham Coxon turned towards drinking to deal with his debilitating anxiety, which resulted in a stint at The Priory, a private addiction rehab and mental health hospital.

The now 54-year-old said in 2021: “Thirty years ago, nobody was saying, ‘This is anxiety’.

“I was drinking a lot because that was the only thing that knocked off the anxiety, but then I just couldn’t stop.”

Coxon explained: “Then I’d get a hangover which made me anxious all over again.”

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Reflecting back to 1998, Coxon said: “No one then was as obsessed with mental health as they are now.”

He continued to The Independent: “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.'”

Coxon has released his ninth album with Blur, called The Ballad Of Darren.

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The star, however, deals very differently with his mental health by “staying sober”.

Coxon reportedly said: “There’s a phrase in Alcoholics Anonymous [AA], ‘The gift of desperation’, about needing rather than wanting to become sober. In 2017, I guess I was desperate.”

Commenting on his last relapse, which occurred six years ago, Coxon said: “That relapse was enough for my anxiety to really bother me.

“I got in touch with someone I knew I could talk to about addiction and I had a determination to get on with it.”

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Coxon told, in January 2023: “I don’t want to bang on about AA’s 12-step programme to get sober, but it’s worked for me and for a lot of other people.

“Staying sober is a work in progress at all times, involving self-reflection and self-evaluation, pretty much every day.”

People who are struggling with their mental health and drinking can look to the NHS for support, with one option being to talk openly to your doctor.

On Saturday, July 29, BBC Two will be showcasing Blur’s greatest performances on the BBC at 8.25pm.

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