-Midfielder for Everton has been combating sleeping pill addiction.
-Alli recently left rehab following mental health struggles.
Dele Alli has disclosed that he was exploited at age six and was dealing drugs by age eight. In an emotional interview, the Everton midfielder fought back emotions as he described his troubled upbringing prior to his adoption by the Hickford family.
Alli also disclosed to Gary Neville in The Overlap podcast that he has a sleeping medication addiction and left rehab last month due to mental health issues.
The former England player, a vital member of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, stated. “At age six, I was molested by my mother’s frequent houseguest; my mother was an alcoholic. I was sent to Africa to learn discipline before returning home. Seven, I started smoking, eight I began dealing drugs.
“An older person told me that they wouldn’t stop a kid on a bike, so I rode around with my football, and then underneath I’d have the drugs – that was eight. I was hanged from a bridge by a man from the neighboring estate when I was eleven.
“Twelve, I was adopted – and from then, it was like I was adopted by an amazing family like I said. I could not have asked for better individuals to perform the services they provided. If God created humans, it was they who did it.”
Alli spent his loan season with Besiktas. “When I came back from Turkey, I came in and I found out that I need an operation and I was in a bad place mentally,” he said. “I decided to enter a facility similar to a contemporary rehab center for mental health. I believed that it was time for them to address issues such as addiction, mental health, and trauma, so I encouraged them to do so.
“I believe you cannot be commanded to go there in such a situation. I believe you must be aware of the situation and make your own decision; otherwise, it will not work.”
Alli claimed that he was able to conceal his difficulties. “To be honest, I was in a vicious cycle. I was relying on things that were causing me harm, and, yes, I believe I was waking up every day and winning the battle, you know, walking into training with a smile on my face and acting content.
“But on the inside, I was unquestionably losing the battle, and it was time for me to make a change, because when I got injured and they told me I needed surgery, I could sense the emotions I experience when the cycle begins, and I didn’t want that to continue. So, I went there, I stayed there for six weeks, and Everton was incredibly accommodating. I will always be indebted to them for their unwavering support.
Alli stated that he had done things “to numb the feelings I had”, including drinking and abusing sleeping pills. “I became dependent on sleeping pills, which is likely a problem shared by others. I believe it occurs more frequently than people realize in football… With our schedule, you have a game, you must wake up early to train, and you have all the adrenaline and things, so it is acceptable to take a sleeping pill and be ready for the next day.
“However, when your dopamine system is as damaged as mine is, it can obviously have the opposite effect because it works for the problems you want to solve, but that is the problem – it works until it doesn’t. I certainly mistreated them.”
The NSPCC offers support to children on 0800 1111, and adults concerned about a child on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adult survivors on 0808 801 0331.