Benny Anderson: ABBA star on 'best' health decision he's made - 'I wouldn't be here now'

Benny Anderson: ABBA star on ‘best’ health decision he’s made – ‘I wouldn’t be here now’

When it was announced that the band would be reuniting again in 2021, fans around the world rejoiced. The new ‘Immersive Live Experience’, which took place in a bespoke stadium in London, was also largely met with excitement. As part of the tour, the so-called Abbatars, who would be the stars of the experience, would look as much as the band members did in the ’70s – the height of their fame. Remaining unfazed by this “de-aging” process, in 2017, Anderson revealed he would prefer his current status to the height of his fame, which has been plagued by problem drinking.

Revealing his thoughts on aging, the composer and musician said, “I’m definitely a lucky guy. If you were to ask, would you rather be 30 again in the middle of ABBA’s business or now, I’d say now, because now is better.”

“Getting old is not a bad thing. The problem is that you will die soon. The trick is not to think about it too much… It is the same for all of us; death is very democratic.”

Despite thoughts turning to death, Anderson remains in good health. Something he attributes to leaving alcohol.

Reflecting on how he used to drink at the height of his fame, he went on to say, “Stop drinking was the best decision I ever made.

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It was definitely a problem. Even 15 years ago [now 20 years ago] I thought, I should give up on this. I wouldn’t be here now if I didn’t.

“A lot of my friends have pushed me to quit drinking too, and they are equally happy. Alcoholism hits you without you even realizing it. You are destined for it or not.”

The star first realized that he was an alcoholic when he started feeling unwell when he wasn’t drinking, which is the opposite of what should happen in a healthy body. “I knew I was in trouble,” he added, after admitting that he would have run the risk of losing everything if he continued drinking.

“If you drink enough for a long time,” he said, “you’re going to lose things.”

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Celebrating 20 years of sobriety this year, when asked in the past if he misses booze, Anderson remained adamant he didn’t, and was glad he had given up not only alcohol, but smoking as well.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve done. Quitting was okay too,” he continued.

“I quit smoking for my 40th birthday. Quitting was a necessity. She got in the way of everything, as she does. It takes up all the space, all the time. So it’s really something that your shoulders loosen. It feels good.”

Reeling in good health, Anderson’s decision to give up smoking and alcohol is one recommended by many health authorities around the world. In fact, alcohol and tobacco are among the “leading causes of preventable death in the United States.”

Alcohol abuse and smoking can cause significant health risks when used separately, so when used together, individuals put themselves at greater potential risk.

Health risks associated with smoking

The NHS explains that around 78,000 people in the UK die from smoking, with many more living with smoking-related diseases. This is because this habit increases your risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions.

About seven in 10 cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, but this action can cause cancer in multiple other parts of the body including the mouth, throat, bladder, liver, kidneys, and stomach.

In addition to cancer, smoking also causes severe damage to the heart and circulatory system, putting individuals at risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as:

  • coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • brain attack
  • Peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels)
  • Cerebral vascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain).

Alcohol-related health risks

Similar to smoking and tobacco use, drinking large amounts of alcohol can lead to serious health complications, but in the short and long term.

In fact, in the short term, if individuals consume about 10 to 12 units, they will begin to reach toxic levels of alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning. At that time, the coordination between individuals would be very poor, which would put them at high risk of having an accident. The high level of alcohol also has a depressing effect on both your mind and body, making you feel sleepy.

In the long run, drinking large amounts of alcohol can damage multiple organs. Organs known to be damaged by long-term alcohol abuse include the brain, nervous system, heart, liver, and pancreas.

It can also lead to a weakened immune system, leaving individuals vulnerable to developing serious infections. This puts individuals at risk of the following:

  • high blood pressure
  • brain attack
  • pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Some types of cancer
  • depression
  • mental illness
  • Sexual problems, such as impotence or premature ejaculation
  • infertility;

For help trying to quit smoking visit: Stop Smoking – Better Health. For support on alcohol-related issues, visit:

2022-05-13 11:12:00

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