Tom Felton opens up about going to rehab amid alcohol abuse struggles
19 October 2022, 17:22
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"I can honestly say it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. But the very fact that I was able to admit to myself that I needed some help was an important moment."
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[CONTENT WARNING: This article references addiction and substance abuse.]
Harry Potter star Tom Felton has opened up about his mental health, and his struggles with substance and alcohol abuse in his new book.
Writing in his new memoir, Beyond The Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard, the 35-year-old actor – who played Draco Malfoy in the film franchise – detailed how he went to rehab three times after he started "drinking to escape".
In an excerpt shared by People, Tom bravely shared a story about one particular intervention that was staged by his manager, then-girlfriend, and his agents.
"The alcohol, though, wasn't the problem. It was the symptom. The problem was deeper," Tom wrote. "I went from being not particularly interested to regularly having a few pints a day before the sun had even gone down, and a shot of whiskey to go with each of them."
"Drinking becomes a habit at the best of times," Tom continued. "When you're drinking to escape a situation, even more so. The habit spilled out of the bar and, from time to time, on to set. It came to the point where I would think nothing of having a drink while I was working. I'd turn up unprepared, not the professional I wanted to be.”
Tom went on to explain how his drinking prompted those closest to him to stage an intervention in order to help him get the help he needed.
"Everybody in the room had written me a letter," he wrote. "I listened to Jade and the others as they told me how concerned they were about my behaviour, about my drinking and my substance abuse. I was in no state to hear them."
Tom then explained that it was a letter from his lawyer, who he didn't even know that well, that prompted him to seek help.
"My lawyer, whom I'd barely ever met face to face, spoke with quiet honesty. 'Tom,' he said, 'I don't know you very well, but you seem like a nice guy. All I want to tell you is that this is the seventeenth intervention I've been to in my career. Eleven of them are now dead. Don't be the twelfth."
Following the intervention, Tom went to rehab but left less than 24 hours after checking in. Later, he went back to a second facility, but confessed he got kicked out after being found in a girl's room.
Shortly after adopting his dog Willow, Tom got back on track, but later checked back into rehab for a third time, which he speaks about in the book.
"I can honestly say it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. But the very fact that I was able to admit to myself that I needed some help — and I was going to do something about it — was an important moment. I am no longer shy of putting my hands up and saying: I'm not okay."
Explaining why he decided to share the deeply personal story with the world, Tom wrote: "I am not alone in having these feelings. Just as we all experience physical ill-health at some stage in our lives, so we all experience mental ill-health too. There's no shame in that. It's not a sign of weakness.
"And part of the reason that I took the decision to write these pages is the hope that by sharing my experiences, I might be able to help someone else who is struggling."
Tom also notes that his friend and former Harry Potter co-star Emma Watson encouraged him to write about his experiences in the book.
Tom's memoir Beyond The Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard is available to purchase now.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with addiction, the following organisations may be able to help.
- FRANK (UK) - https://www.talktofrank.com/
- NHS (UK) – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alcohol-misuse/
- SAMHSA (USA) – https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
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