YouTube sensation and influencer Felix ‘PewDiePie’ Kjellberg opened up about his past struggles with an alcohol problem and how he managed to overcome it and practice self-control in a recent podcast.
PewDiePie, who is nearing the 100 million subscriber mark on YouTube, is well-known for his video content featuring satire and meme formatted shows. However, things took a serious, more emotional turn when he was asked about his past drinking habit.
During a ‘Cold Ones’ podcast earlier this month, one of the hosts brought up the Swede’s lyrics to his song Congratulations, which include: “Just here to pop the bottles with the nine-year-old army, non-alcoholic ‘cause I had a real problem.”
To this, the 29-year-old replied: “It’s kind of cringey to talk about but I read this book on Buddhism and it talked about like self-control and then being in control of your body and just being an empty vessel and like doing whatever your craving wants you to do.”
He further expounded on how he had a drinking problem in the past, and the reasons that led to it:
“I used to have this habit of drinking whiskey like a little bit. I realized how f***ing hard it was to stop that habit. It was actually kind of scary. I’m like oh f*** and then I stopped drinking for half a year.”
“The reason I started drinking whiskey was because I was really like always working, constantly … I never felt like I had a period where I could chill at the end of the day…I was always so worked up and it was a lot of hard work so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll just have a drink at the end of the day.’”
He went on to explain that he moved on and reined in his addiction by looking for other methods to deal with his stress, such as working out.
This isn’t the first time the YouTuber has delved into more serious issues and publicly addressed some personal demons. Back in 2017, PewDiePie talked about mental health, and how he suffered from depression at a young age. He told his audience that most YouTubers were often unhappy, and urged them to remain positive and open to talking about depression.
Mental health has become a matter of grave concern, owing to the rising number of tragic incidents. Most recently, popular streamer and YouTuber Etika was found dead shortly after he posted a video titled “I’m Sorry” and then vanished (PewDiePie organized a charity live stream for Etika, and also made a donation of $10,000 in his honor).
Other disturbing incidents include a Malaysian teen killing herself after conducting a poll on Instagram about whether she should choose life or death (69% responders voted death), and a Danish teen who shared a suicide note with her 336,000+ followers on Instagram, after which she was admitted to the hospital for an attempted pharmaceutical overdose.
As the stigma around mental health decreases and rates of depression and suicide rise, top celebrities such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and champion competitive swimmer Michael Phelps have also begun to address these issues. Phelps, for example, opened up about his struggles with depression and anxiety, claiming his decision to finally seek the help of a therapist “ultimately helped save my life.”