A FORMER Premier League footballer has opened up about his alcoholism and recovery at the launch of ‘Delamere’ – a new rehab clinic in Cuddington.

Gary Charles, who made almost 100 top flight appearances and won two England caps, credits Delamere clinical director Mike Delaney as the man who helped get his life back on track.

Gary, 49, spoke at the launch event for the £7m, purpose-built clinic on Tuesday, January 28. It will begin accepting £3,500-per-week guests this month and has created 30 jobs.

In his speech, Gary said: “Just to be stood here talking to you is massive. I used to play football in front of 100,000 people. That was easier than doing this for me.

“I hope sharing my story helps others even if I don’t like doing it.”

Northwich Guardian:

After discovering alcohol aged around 14, he was a binge drinker throughout his career – using alcohol to help him deal with being in the limelight.

Gary has now taken on a role as ‘sports ambassador’ for the clinic to help raise the profile of the support available to people facing addiction, including those in professional sport.

Citing an ‘addictive personality’, the right-back refused to accept he was an alcoholic until after his retirement through injury, when he signed up for treatment himself and met Mike.

Mike, who has 20 years experience in leading positions in rehab and recovery, has created a bespoke treatment plan to be delivered at the clinic.

READ >>> Delamere to offer help for 'burned-out' staff

Delamere has been founded by Martin Preston, 36, from Hale, who battled alcohol and drug addiction himself as a teenager.

Martin said: “Delamere is designed to be different, not for the sake of being different, but because it is needed.

“We want to break down stigma around addiction and offer truly bespoke, holistic support in an exemplary environment.

“We know how important a truly therapeutic environment is in healthcare and have therefore created what works.

“I’ve learned it is possible to change and grow beyond addiction and I can’t wait to help others do it too.”

Manchester Business School’s Professor Sir Cary Cooper, a workplace wellness expert and Delamere advisory board member, also spoke at the launch. He explored the dangers of long hours, constant email checking and managers unskilled in emotional literacy.

He said: “What Delamere is trying to do is help individuals but by helping one person, you help the whole family unit, work colleagues and so on. It’s not just the individual.”

For more information about the centre, visit delamere.com.