Andrew Flintoff: I stopped drinking because of depression

Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff has spoken about his decision to give up drinking due to his bouts of depression.

Tales of the all-rounder's excesses were part of what made him a fans' favourite in his England days, be it his bleary-eyed celebrations at 10 Downing Street following the 2005 Ashes or when he went out in a pedalo in the West Indies.

But 10 years on from what has gone down as the greatest Test series played he is a changed man, having gone teetotal after realising the impact on his mental health.

"I'm more comfortable in my own skin now than I ever have been," he told BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs programme, adding: "It's been a job to get there."

Tracing his problems back to his captaincy of England in the 2006-07 Ashes, he said: "The captaincy was starting to weigh heavy on my shoulders.

"I'd go back to my room and I used to hide away from things, at times I probably drank a little bit too much just trying to change the way I was feeling.

"It's not so much the drinking, it's actually the reasons why you are drinking.

"We celebrated in 2005 and that was fantastic because we were celebrating something we'd done well but then when you are drinking because you are trying to get away from something, I think that is when you have got to look at it and think it's not right.

"One of the reasons I probably stopped drinking is that I am prone to suffer from depression. Drinking does not help that one bit. I don't touch it now."

Flintoff also spoke about his battle with his weight, and the times he used to deliberately make himself sick after over-eating.

"To try and tell somebody who's not experienced it, (they) just say 'stop doing it', and it's not a case of that," he said.

"It's quite a bizarre thing to experience to someone who's not experienced it so my heart goes out to anyone out there who's struggling now."