Republic of Ireland and Glasgow City striker Clare Shine spoke to sky sports to discuss her struggles with alcoholism as she continues her recovery.
Shine, 27, released her autobiography, ‘Scoring Goals in the Dark’, earlier this month, in which she details her story of being a promising young footballer who turned to drinking as she struggled with mental health issues as a teenager. “Maybe, just maybe my story can help in some way,” she hopes.
His first international call-up came at the age of 13 for the U17 World Cup. This gave Shine aspirations to become a top footballer. Aged 20, she won her first senior cap with the Republic of Ireland and scored a hat-trick in the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian to lead Glasgow City to their fourth straight hat-trick.
But her career had already started to veer off course in her late teens when she was overwhelmed with anxiety and panic attacks, how her drinking got out of hand and cost her almost everything. .
Shine attempted suicide in 2018 after a night of drinking and drug use. It looked like a turning point for her until the coronavirus lockdown hit, shortly after her last winner in the 2019 Scottish Cup final against Hibs.
His relapse, after spending a year and a half sober, caused feelings of shame and embarrassment. She felt her career was over.
But Shine has found his way back and is playing for Glasgow City again. She signed a one-year extension at the end of May. She is now focused on maintaining stability in her life as she prepares for the upcoming season, with the Champions League campaign set to kick off in August.
How it all began
“I was brought up in Douglas in Cork and grew up in such a sporting community in Douglas full of Gaelic football and games. When I went to the European finals at 15 and the World Cup, I think that experience gave me that will to push forward and try to achieve.
“I think I started having panic attacks when I was 17 or 18, and it was something that I didn’t really know how to deal with. I didn’t know anything about mental health. I didn’t know not how to deal with it, how to control it and it sort of overpowered me. And it just started to become very obvious to people, especially in the world of football. Showing up to games and training under the influence is just not acceptable as a professional athlete. I think I was starting to get a bad reputation. I didn’t take care of myself at all.
Realizing she had a problem
“I was in the team a few months before [a game against the Netherlands, but lost my place]. I traveled for it because it was a huge game, and I remember hiding the bottle of wine in my bag, trying to sneak a few sips here and there. For me, to realize that I should have been on that ground, not drinking a bottle of wine and looking at them, I think that’s when I really realized that I had a serious problem .
“I was a compulsive liar through it all, really. In October 2018 I attempted to kill myself in Cork City. I can’t remember the time exactly, but I was under the influence, I I had taken a lot of alcohol, and I was on drugs too, and I don’t really know what triggered it, I had been thinking about it for several months before that.
“I woke up in the hospital the next morning, my best friend was on the hospital bed, and I was on the couch next to her and there was a nurse outside the door because I was under suicide watch. It struck me a little then: “What am I really doing with my life? How can I fix things? How can I change?”
Shame and embarrassment of relapse
“At the end of the season with Glasgow in November 2019, I scored the 90th-minute winner in the Scottish Cup final and then had a really good pre-season and came back into the game. international team, I got my first start and then I come home, and it’s confinement.
“It’s like, ‘What do I do now?’, I had no structure or routine. You’re on your own, I guess, and I didn’t know what to do, and that is where I got the drink. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I had been through a year and a half of recovery – for it to end in a split second was something I didn’t want to accept.”
Thinking her career was over
“I’ve been sober for almost two years now, and I can kind of look back on my journey and think, wow, I’ve come out of two really dark places, and that’s something to be proud of.
“The day after [my relapse], I never thought I would play football again. I said, ‘That’s it, it’s done. I want to try to find happiness in life, I just need to take it slow, to have some stability in my life”.
“It’s been very hectic the last couple of years, and so yeah, I just hope to have a good pre-season now when I come back in July and get into the Champions League race in August.”
Scoring Goals in the Dark by Clare Shine, starring Gareth Maher, was released on June 6 from Pitch publication£19.99.
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