‘They saved my life’ - Perry Groves thanks fellow Arsenal legend for alcoholism help in brave interview
Perry Groves shared that he hoped to help anyone else struggling with addiction as he bravely shared his story on talkSPORT.
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Arsenal legend Perry Groves has thanked a charity set up by fellow Gunners hero Tony Adams for saving his life after speaking out about his alcohol addiction. On Tuesday, the 58-year-old candidly opened up about alcoholism on talkSPORT and earned plaudits for his bravery and honesty as he shared a desire to help others going through similar struggles.
Groves made 169 appearances for Arsenal between 1986 and 1992, winning the First Division and League Cup with the side. The winger shared that his journey to become sober eclipsed those sporting highs as 'the biggest achievement I've ever had'.
He said: "I never thought that it would happen to me, that I would have the complete mental and physical breakdown that I had. I thought long and hard about coming on and the reason I've come on is if it helps one person that's out there and they reach out for help because that's what I did. I was completely shot mentally and physically.
"I was in denial, I didn't for a million years think it was anything to do with alcohol. I was lucky enough to go into Sporting Chance, Tony Adams' rehab centre he started in 2000, and I realised that I had a severe drink problem. I am an alcoholic and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Now I've been made aware what it is, it's a disease. It's your brain that doesn't work the same way as a normal person does."
If you or someone you know may be struggling with alcohol addiction, mental health charity Mind has a list of helpful contacts to seek help.
Sporting Chance was set up by Adams at the turn of the millennium to provide support to current and former professional athletes for a range of mental health challenges. The charity operates across the UK and has patrons that include Liverpool legend Lee Dixon, athlete Dame Kelly Holmes, jockey Sir A.P. McCoy and Sir Elton John.
Groves thanked Adams' Sporting Chance charity for saving his life when at his lowest. He added: "I don't think I'd be here, I genuinely think they saved my life. I was going nowhere."
The talkSPORT presenter also detailed the moment of realisation that something was wrong, which came after struggling to commentate during a Premier League match between Wolves and Liverpool last season. The morning after the game Groves explained he 'could not function physically or mentally' and sought help.
He said: "The reason I've come on air is no matter how bad you think the situation is or how desperate you feel, there is help. If you talk to someone and reach out, there is help."