Dele Alli, the England soccer international, has revealed his recent six-week stay in rehab for mental health and addiction treatment. In a candid interview with former Manchester United defender Gary Neville on The Overlap podcast, Alli shared his experiences of childhood molestation, drug dealing at a young age, and other traumas he faced.
Alli disclosed that he was molested by his mother’s friend when he was just six years old. Growing up in a challenging environment with an alcoholic mother, he found solace in Africa, where he was sent to learn discipline but eventually returned to face further struggles. At the age of seven, he began smoking, followed by dealing drugs at eight. He learned to hide the drugs in his football while riding around on his bike. At eleven, he endured a traumatic incident where he was hung off a bridge by someone from a neighboring area.
Alli was adopted at the age of twelve, and he expressed deep gratitude for his adopted family, describing them as “amazing” and a crucial support system. However, due to a betrayal by his birth mother, who went to the media with a story about his adopted family, he decided to sever ties with her.
The 27-year-old Alli, who most recently played for Turkish Süper Lig side Beşiktaş before returning to Everton in the English Premier League, shared that he reached a low point mentally upon his return to the UK. Recognizing the need for change, he voluntarily entered a modern rehab facility that addressed addiction, mental health, and trauma. He emphasized that the decision to seek help had to come from within oneself.
Alli commended Everton for their unwavering support throughout his rehab journey, noting their understanding and openness during his most critical decision-making period. He acknowledged the stigma associated with rehab but expressed his gratitude for the positive impact it had on his mental well-being.
In response to Alli’s interview, Everton issued a statement expressing their support for him in overcoming personal challenges and commending his bravery in speaking out. Similarly, Alli’s former club, Tottenham Hotspur, shared a supportive message on Twitter.
Alli shared his struggle with addiction, including his reliance on sleeping tablets. He believed that his addiction was not unique to him and suggested that it might be more prevalent in football than people realize.
By sharing his story, Alli hopes to offer support to others who may be facing similar issues. He acknowledged that he may have preferred to wait before discussing his experiences publicly, but due to media intrusion, he chose to speak out earlier than anticipated.
The English Football Association emphasized that clubs are responsible for managing medical protocols and practices for players. They expect clubs to provide the highest standard of medical treatment, support, and advice to players and mentioned the availability of support services through the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) and the Sporting Chance mental health charity.
Dele Alli’s openness about his personal struggles serves as an inspiration to others and highlights the importance of mental health support within the football community.
Source – CNN
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