Addiction Recovery and Rock Stars

Live In Chicago At The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival

Crossroads Guitar Festival
Photo by RIR Founder John Hollis

Addiction Recovery  is not an unknown status for some rock stars. The world of rock and roll has certainly seen its fair share of addiction and substance abuse. In fact, drugs, alcohol and other risky behaviors are not only common among musicians; sometimes the entertainment industry makes it seem that they are celebrated! However, there are many rock stars that have kicked their habits and are now in recovery from addiction.

The following rock stars may have been drawn into the world of drugs and alcohol, but now use their talent and support from friends, family and fans as methods of relapse prevention.

Addiction Recovery and Rock Stars

1. Elton John  Elton John AIDS Foundation
Sir Elton has been pretty vocal about his past substance abuse, citing cocaine and alcohol as his drugs of choice during the 1970′s and 80′s. Elton claims to have consumed “massive quantities” of drugs and alcohol, and has even said he’s surprised to still be alive. Sir Elton entered recovery and has been sober since 1990, and uses the support of his husband, family and friends as relapse prevention.

2. Eric Clapton   The Breeze
The music legend says kicking heroin and alcohol saved his career, and his life. In past music news from Clapton’s interviews, he says that he would never have survived to make albums like the upcoming release Old Sock and The Breeze if he hadn’t sobered up. “I thought that if I stopped drinking and I stopped using drugs…I would not be able to play anymore. In other words, those were things that were necessary for inspiration,” he says. “But it was a shortcut.

My experience now tells me in a long time of being in recovery, that I can be a good musician with or without that philosophy.” The height of Clapton’s heroin use came in the early ’70s, and he passed out during the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden. He kicked heroin later in that decade, but then turned to alcohol, before finally getting sober once and for all in 1986.

He has since demonstrated a longstanding commitment to recovery, holding benefit concerts for Crossroads, the treatment center he helped to found in Antigua. “It’s a gift I’ve been given and the best way to honor it is to stay clean and sober to be able to do it as well as I can,” he says. “I wouldn’t be here today—I’d probably be dead—if I hadn’t gotten straight.”

3. Lou Reed        Heroin
The late Lou Reed solo artist and former Velvet Underground front man was known for his heavy heroin and cocaine usage. In fact, many of songs are centered on drugs and the addict lifestyle. However, Reed became sober and has spent over 30 years in recovery. Reed cites songwriting, performing and the love and support of his wife and fans as his methods of staying clean and his older songs for caring his message of recovery in his own way.

4. Keith Richards   Sister Morphine
Keith Richards, lead guitarist for The Rolling Stones, was once so influenced by drugs and alcohol that he’s since become the poster child for addiction and how it relates to the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. After incurring various drug charges and suffering several near-overdoses, Richards decided to quit the hard stuff. He furthered his sobriety by giving up alcohol in 2010.  Keith has been Rockin Recovery ever since. Maybe now he’ll be a poster child for addiction recovery.

5. Slash    Slash Talks recovery
The Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist is no stranger to addiction. In recent years, Slash has opened up about his addiction to heroin and how it affected both his personal and private life and how he lives in recovery. The extremely talented musician has described how, at first, heroin was a great comfort to him, but quickly came to consume his every thought and action. Currently, Slash is clean and sober, and cites his wife, sons and other sober musicians as his greatest tools of relapse prevention.

Although these now musicians in recovery nearly destroyed their lives with drugs and alcohol, they managed to break the cycle of addiction and continue to flourish in their careers. The message here is simple: if these guys can kick their habits and find success in recovery, so can you! Most importantly the  is that treatment and education mixed with ”HAVING FUN” in recovery is indeed possible!!