In a candid and emotional interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap podcast, former Tottenham and England midfielder Dele Alli shared the deep-rooted mental health struggles he has faced, including a recent stint in rehab to address an addiction to sleeping pills, writes the Evening Standard. Dele revealed that his addiction stemmed from childhood trauma, as he bravely disclosed being sexually abused as a child. The interview shed light on his journey of recovery, finding his passion for football again, and the support he received from key individuals in his life.
Unveiling Personal Struggles
During the interview, Dele revealed the extent of the challenges he has endured throughout his life. He disclosed that he was sexually abused by a friend of his biological mother at the tender age of six. He further explained how this traumatic experience led to a troubled upbringing, including starting smoking at seven, engaging in drug dealing at eight, and being sent to Africa for six months to learn discipline. These experiences shaped Dele’s early life and had a lasting impact on his mental well-being.
A Turning Point
Dele shared that he recently completed a six-week rehabilitation program to address his addiction to sleeping pills, which he turned to as a coping mechanism due to his traumatic past. He acknowledged that he reached a breaking point and desired a change, both mentally and emotionally. Dele expressed his commitment to football and his newfound determination to continue his career, stating, “I’m mentally in the best place I’ve ever been” and emphasizing that he has regained his passion for the game.
Dele recognized the significance of sharing his story and hoped that by doing so, he could inspire and support others who may be battling similar demons. He acknowledged the fear associated with discussing such sensitive topics but believed it was the right thing to do. Dele stated, “I’m hoping [opening up like this] helps people. It will help me. I think it’s something I needed to explain and get off my chest.”
Road to Recovery
Detailing his journey towards healing, Dele revealed his decision to seek professional help at a modern rehab facility that specialized in addiction, mental health, and trauma. He stressed the importance of making the personal choice to undergo treatment, acknowledging that it was a pivotal step in his recovery. Dele highlighted the unhealthy cycle he found himself trapped in and how he relied on harmful substances to escape reality. However, he expressed his determination to change and move forward.
Throughout the interview, Dele expressed gratitude towards those who have supported him during his difficult times. He specifically mentioned former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who played a crucial role in understanding and guiding him during his tenure at the club. Dele also mentioned his appreciation for the honesty and support he received from teammates like Harry Kane and Eric Dier, recognizing their genuine care for his well-being.
Dele shared his optimism for the future, expressing gratitude for the support he has received from Everton and manager Sean Dyche. He emphasized his readiness for the upcoming season, having regained his passion for football and being mentally prepared to face any challenges that come his way. Dele expressed his desire to repay the faith shown in him and return to his best form on the field.
Dele Alli’s interview with Gary Neville offered a raw and honest insight into his mental health struggles and the impact of childhood trauma on his life. By sharing his personal story, Dele aimed to bring awareness to these critical issues and provide hope for those facing similar challenges. His journey of recovery and the support he received from key individuals exemplify the importance of compassion, understanding, and seeking help in times of need. As Dele embraces the future, he serves as an inspiration for resilience and determination, both on and off the football pitch.