Dick Van Dyke Opens Up About Battle With Alcoholism: 'It Took Me a Long Time to Get Over It'

PHOTO: Dick Van Dyke attends D23 EXPO, Aug. 14, 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. ABC/Image Group LA via Getty Images
Dick Van Dyke attends D23 EXPO, Aug. 14, 2015 in Anaheim, Calif.

TV icon Dick Van Dyke is opening up about his battle with alcoholism and revealing how his social anxieties led to his drinking problems.

According to Entertainment Tonight, Van Dyke admitted in an interview for "Oprah: Where Are They Now," that he used to drink in order to boost his social skills, which he claims is what ultimately started his battle with alcoholism.

"I was very shy with strangers. I just couldn't talk to people," Van Dyke said. "And I found if I had a drink, it would loosen me up. The barriers went down and I became very social. That’s what got me started."

Van Dyke has openly discussed his drinking problems in the past, telling CNN in 2000 that alcoholism "can happen to normal, average middle-class guy."

The 90-year-old actor noted in the CNN interview that beating alcoholism was no easy feat.

Van Dyke also revealed in the Oprah interview that his openness with alcoholism has helped fans face their own drinking problems. He said he was "proud" that he "was able to help people."

"I get a lot of letters from people, who say that all of a sudden they weren't ashamed to admit they had a drinking problem and they got help," Van Dyke said. "So I'm very proud of that."

The interview airs Saturday, Jan. 23, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.