Film star Tom Holland says getting sober is “the best thing I’ve ever done”, after realising he’d become “enslaved” to alcohol.
Speaking to the On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast, the star said his journey to sobriety began with “a very, very boozy” Christmas last year.
But after deciding to do dry January, he said, “all I could think about was having a drink. It really scared me”.
“I just was like, ‘Wow, maybe I have a little bit of an alcohol thing.”
The realisation prompted him to extend his no-drinking rule for another month, but he found it hard to resist England’s drinking culture.
“I felt like I couldn’t be social,” Holland said. “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.
“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?'”
Shaken, he set himself a target of going six months without drinking, and achieved the goal on his 27th birthday, 1 June.
By that time, he said, he was “the happiest I’ve ever been in my life”.
The star went on to list some of the benefits he’d felt since giving up drink.
“I could sleep better. I could handle problems better,” he said. “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.
“I’m happy to say it – I was definitely addicted to alcohol. I’m not shying away from that at all.”
The Spider-Man star added that getting sober had had some knock-on effects. He has distanced himself from the rugby community “because so much of it is about how much can you drink”. And he also inspired his mother to get sober.
“She’s loving it, and it’s been amazing,” he said. “I can’t believe the difference that I feel from not drinking. Yeah, I feel amazing.”
Holland is currently nine months into a year-long break from acting, after a gruelling shoot for the Apple TV series The Crowded Room.
Speaking last month, the star said he had found it “tough” to play a character based on “the campus rapist” Billy Mulligan, a US man who claimed to have 24 alternate personalities.
Milligan was the first person to be found not guilty of his crimes by reason of insanity – on the basis of dissociative identity disorder – and instead of going to prison he spent a decade in psychiatric hospitals.
“We were exploring certain emotions that I have definitely never experienced before,” Holland told Extra TV.
“And then on top of that, being a producer, dealing with the day-to-day problems that come with any film set, just added that extra level of pressure.
“I’m now taking a year off, and that is a result of how difficult this show was.”
Although the past year has seen him confront difficult issues, the actor has been supported by his girlfriend and Spider-Man co-star Zendaya.
Speaking to the Smartless podcast last week, he said he was “lucky that I have someone like Zendaya in my life”.
“It’s interesting being in a romantic relationship with someone that is in the same boat as you,” he added.
“You can share your experiences and all that sort of stuff – and that’s worth its weight in gold.”