Paul Weller health: Singer on his ‘massive’ health changes – ‘I’m stronger and fitter’

Zoe Ball says show is having trouble contacting Paul Weller

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The star, who is often referred to as The Modfather has most recently been announced as one of the headliners at this year’s Lytham Festival, an annual festival held on the Lancashire coast. Weller’s ability to keep performing, writing and releasing new music is partly down to the fact that he gave up drinking alcohol, a bad habit that had gotten out of control and was having disastrous effects on his health. Back in 2012, the star admitted in an interview with The Times that he was an alcoholic, but refused to seek professional help.

“I think I’m an alcoholic, definitely. Yeah. I would have thought so,” Weller told the paper. “It’s hard to know when a p***head becomes an alkie. Fine line. But yeah, I think so.”

The moment of realisation for the star came after his wife Hannah Andrews gave him an ultimatum to stop drinking or lose her.

“I just woke up and thought, ‘This has got to stop.’

“And my missus said, ‘I can’t f** do this, you either stop or I might have to leave,” Weller told Uncut Magazine.

Finally approaching a therapist to help with his addictions, Weller was able to give up the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle which so much was spent in pubs, hotel lounges, airport bars and anywhere connected with the consumption of alcohol.

Speaking to the Irish Times back in 2021, Weller looked back on his past. He said: “All of those changes make a massive difference to my health and my life.

“My energy levels are excellent. I still lead a very busy lifestyle and I’m certainly not wiped out by it all.

“I wouldn’t like to think what my health – physically, mentally, spiritually – would have been like if I hadn’t stopped the drink and the drugs.

“I don’t know why people ignore looking at the bigger picture of their health because it makes sense to me to at least try to live your remaining years as strong and fit as you can.

“Simple luck can play a part too, of course, as I have known many people younger and fitter than me, and they’re gone.

“I’m stronger and fitter – how I look, however, is something I can’t do anything about.

“I miss the chaos and madness sometimes, but I can do without that for the benefits of not drinking. And I think if I had carried on as I was, I probably wouldn’t be here. It was getting dark.”

Having been sober for 12 years this year, Weller has found that playing shows and writing music without the influence of alcohol is far more special, and now means more to him than ever.

He added: “Since I’ve been sober, I get more from music. Not just my music, but all music. It means more to me, and it’s more direct to my heart and my soul. And certainly playing it.

“Playing sober is so different, because you become more conscious, you’re more in the moment. And that changes everything.”

Drinkaware explains that alcoholism is the most serious form of a drinking problem, and at this level it can cause serious harm to your health.

Medically, it’s recognised as a type of “alcohol-use disorder” which can be treated. It’s different to “harmful drinking” (another type of alcohol-use disorder) which is a pattern of heavy drinking which causes damage to your health but without actual dependence.

Excessive alcohol drinking has immediate effects that can increase the risk of many harmful health conditions. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention explains that in the short-term, excessive drinking can put individuals at risk of the following:

  • Car crashes
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Sexual assault.

In the long-term, alcohol dependence can lead to the development of multiple chronic diseases and other serious problems such as:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, oesophagus, voice box, liver, colon, and rectum
  • Weakening of the immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety
  • Social problems, including family problems, job-related problems, and unemployment
  • Alcohol use disorders, or alcohol dependence.

Alcoholism can be treated, and in some cases long-term health implications can be avoided. In many cases, the first step of treating alcohol dependence is the drinker acknowledging there is a problem with the second step being to seek help from a healthcare professional, usually your local GP surgery, who can refer you to a specialist.

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