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Alcoholism and Recovery: A Case Study of a Former Professional Footballer

What little we know about alcoholism amongst professional footballers comes largely from the media (often tabloid newspapers) and published autobiographies and biographies of high profile stars. The coverage often focuses on deviant behaviour when drunk, such as driving under the influence, marital infidelity, violence, and breaking team rules. There is little or no published research which seeks to understand better what it is like to suffer from alcoholism from the perspective of the player-addicts themselves. In this paper I present a case study of British footballer who had a brief professional career and is in recovery from alcoholism. His subjective experience of alcoholism provides valuable insights into the underlying triggers and/or causes of the illness; its destructive nature; the link between the individual’s addiction and his social circumstances (including football); and his recovery.