Tom Holland says he was ‘obsessed’ with alcohol before getting sober: ‘I was really, really struggling’

The ‘Spider-Man’ star decided to give up drinking after trying Dry January

Kate Ng
Tuesday 11 July 2023 07:35 BST
Zendaya says Tom Holland is her favourite Spider-Man

Tom Holland has opened up about his decision to give up drinking after he became “really worried” that he had a problem with alcohol.

The Spider-Man star, 27, spoke candidly about his relationship with alcohol and said he realised he was “obsessed” with drinking after he tried Dry January – a month where people are encouraged to give up alcohol.

In an appearance on the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast, released on Monday (10 July), Holland said he did Dry January last year after indulging over the holiday season.

“I didn’t one day wake up and say, ‘I’m giving up drinking’. I just, like many Brits, had had a very, very boozy December. [It was] Christmas time, I was on vacation, I was drinking a lot and I’ve always been able to drink a lot,” the British actor said, suggesting that his ability to drink large amounts of alcohol stems from his mother’s side of the family.

Holland decided to stop drinking for the month of January, but found it to be a challenge. “All I could think about was having a drink. That’s all I could think about. I was waking up thinking about it. I was checking the clock, ‘When’s it 12pm?’

“It just really scared me. I just was like, ‘Wow, maybe. Maybe I have a little bit of an alcohol thing’. So I sort of decided to punish myself and say, ‘I’ll do February as well. I’ll do two months off. If I can do two months off, then I can prove to myself that I don’t have a problem’.”

However, he found that he was still “really struggling” two months off alcohol and felt like not drinking impacted his ability to socialise.

“I felt like I couldn’t go to the pub and have a lime soda. I couldn’t go out for dinner. I was really, really struggling and I started to really worry that maybe I had an alcohol problem.”

The Crowded Room star then decided to go off alcohol until his birthday in June to “prove to myself that I don’t have a problem”. He found that, by the time he got to his self-imposed deadline, he was “the happiest I’ve ever been in my life”.

“I could sleep better. I could handle problems better. Things that would go wrong on set that would normally set me off, I could take in my stride. I had such better mental clarity. I felt healthier, I felt fitter,” he explained.

“I just sort of said to myself, like, ‘Why? Why am I enslaved to this drink? Why am I so obsessed by the idea of having this drink?’”

Holland also said that being an avid fan of rugby involved drinking a lot and he had to “distance” himself from one of his favourite pastimes in order to continue with his sobriety.

“I just felt so much pressure, and this is one of the [reasons] why I’ve sort of distanced myself from the rugby community, because so much of it is about how much can you drink,” he said.

“Let’s get you as drunk as possible… It’s honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Holland said his decision to stop drinking has also inspired his mother to do the same and she is now “loving it”.

“I can’t believe the difference that I feel from not drinking. Yeah, I feel amazing,” he added.

Holland recently opened up about his love life and spoke effusively about having girlfriend and co-star Zendaya by his side. The pair have been dating since 2017 and first met while starring together in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

“I’m lucky that I have someone like Zendaya in my life,” the Uncharted actor told the Smartless podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett. “It’s interesting being in a romantic relationship with someone that is in the same boat as you.

“You can share your experiences and all that sort of stuff – and that’s worth its weight in gold.”

A list of organisations providing support for those concerned about their or a loved one’s drinking and mental health can be found here.

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