Daniel Radcliffe Opens Up About How He Maintains Sobriety

By May Wilkerson 07/06/16

After going through a brief relapse, the 26-year-old actor has now been sober for three years. 

Daniel Radcliffe Opens Up About How He Maintains Sobriety

Daniel Radcliffe has come a long way since he was cast in the first Harry Potter film at age 11. During a recent interview with the Telegraph, the 26-year-old actor spoke about his battle with alcoholism, being “attracted to chaos,” and how he has managed to stay sober over the past three years.

Radcliffe has spoken before about his “unhealthy” drinking problem, admitting he had at times been drunk on set during the filming of the Harry Potter movies, often blacking out and putting himself in risky situations. “I can’t tell you what kind of drunk I am because I don’t remember what kind of drunk I am,” he told the Telegraph. “I think I’m probably great—while I’m conscious. But then I have to be looked after and ultimately I don’t want to wake up to 20 text messages along the lines of, ‘Where are you? Dude, are you OK?’”

Radcliffe first quit drinking a month after filming the last Harry Potter film, and though he did go through a brief relapse, he said he has now been sober for the past three years. “I feel a lot more settled mentally, and am more comfortable with what makes me happy,” said Radcliffe about his life today. “More comfortable with the fact that I am a person that loves just hanging out with my friends. Or watching quiz shows. I am comfortable with the things about myself that I used to think, man, am I really boring? Should I be going out and getting wasted all the time?”

Probably not. Radcliffe explains that his drinking habit set him apart from typical partying habits of twenty-somethings. “There is something in any person who drinks in a way that’s clearly not good for them, something that is attracted to that chaos,” he said. “I change when I’m drunk. I’m one of those people who changes.” (Side note: Behavioral changes are a symptom of alcohol use disorder.)

How does he stay sober? The young star says that he used to take “epic five-hour walks” when he felt cravings to drink, “but then I found you just roll around in your head.” So now he mostly sticks to running and going to the gym. “Like the cliché of anybody who is quitting something, I really got into exercise,” he said.

Another favorite sober past-time for the actor is reading. “I was a really voracious reader in my teens and that was one of the things I found drinking took away from me, bizarrely, as a side effect,” said Radcliffe. “I didn’t have the compulsion or energy to read anything. So I’ve got that back.”

And these days, he has mostly ditched hanging out at bars for restaurants, and even a trip to the supermarket. “It sounds so sad but I love going to the supermarket, doing a shop,” said the actor. “I feel I’ve achieved something, been productive.” As far as dining out, he added: “I go to restaurants. I go to the pub for a bit but then I’m like, OK, if you’re all staying and getting drunk then I’m going to go because I can’t do that.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.