Ricky Wilson, singer of indie rock veterans Kaiser Chiefs and former fixture on the UK version of The Voice, has released a new record and, in a recent interview with The Guardian, has opened up about his past struggles with alcoholism and anxiety. During the interview, Wilson discussed how, like many of us, anxiety manifested itself in different ways, including dizzy spells and other conditions. Eventually he began using alcohol to cope with the condition, a behavior which led to a years-long addiction. Now sober (Kaiser Chiefs no longer even have booze on their rider), and with a new record that was released on July 26, Wilson is introspective, content and serves as an enduring example of the power of recovery.
Rock Stars Get Anxious, Too
Being a celebrity, Ricky Wilson was faced with added levels of pressure and his drinking allowed him to deal with the symptoms brought on by his anxiety as well as cope with the pressures of being in the public eye. During the interview, he said, “people really like to see you – the guy who was on stage – afterwards. And they like to see you drinking…so I would get drunk.”
Ricky compares drinking to “a weird hobby to take your mind off everything else.” Drinking can lead to an obsession over finding the next one. And although he doesn’t consider himself to be alcohol dependent, his history has proven otherwise. “On a personal level, I think it was bad. Enough to want to stop. But in the grand scheme of things? I think I drank less than most people spilled.”
The accessibility and legality of alcohol is what attracted Ricky to the habit. “I was more dependent on finding ways to do it then I was actually doing it. I liked the game of it,” he said. “I liked the fact that it was something I’d plan. I was quite sneaky and I got sneakier. The fun was in hiding it.” Feeling the need to hide your drinking is often a sign that your alcohol use may be a problem.
Wilson’s Not Alone
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, (ADAA), about 20 percent of people who suffer from social anxiety will also abuse alcohol. Alcohol is a sedative, and the short-term effects can often times reduce stress and help you step outside of your comfort zone, and because it is considered socially acceptable. It’s often used a way to feel comfortable in social situations, but it’s also a depressant. You may feel a wave of relaxation and excitement during times of drinking, the positive feelings soon fade and depressive thoughts can later occur causing your anxiety to worsen over time. Face the Music Foundation encourages anyone battling co-occurring alcoholism and anxiety to seek help immediately.