Celebrating Musicians in Recovery
As The Watershed continues to celebrate individuals who were able to reclaim their lives after alcohol or drug rehab, we would like to recognize some famous musicians who found continued success and a better quality of life through recovery. Each of these musicians struggled with drug or alcohol addiction early and often in their careers, eventually hitting their own rock bottom. Through recovery, they now live healthy, meaningful lives.
Elton John: Sir Elton John quickly became one of the most successful musicians of his generation, recording his first two critically-acclaimed albums completely clean. His fame and success drove him toward the “rock star lifestyle,” where he developed an intense cocaine and alcohol addiction that stayed part of his life throughout the 1980s. He finally got clean in the early 90s and has since called it his greatest achievement.
John on his addiction and recovery: “I was so unhappy, and so miserable that anything was preferable to the state that I was in. So I decided to go into the hospital (rehab) for six weeks, and I did and it was the best thing I ever did for myself.“ You can listen to the full interview here.
Stevie Nicks: Nicks rose to stardom as the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac in the mid-1970s. She also began experimenting with cocaine during that time and developed an addiction that lasted till 1986, when she finally checked into rehab. After rehab, to curb her temptation to use cocaine again, Nicks began using Klonopin, a prescription sedative. The Klonopin addiction turned out to be as devastating to her life as the cocaine addiction. In 1998 she overcame her Klonopin dependency and has been successfully clean ever since.
Ozzy Osbourne: Ozzy is only 64 years old, but most assume he is much older because of the very obvious signs of extended drug and alcohol abuse. He admits he’s struggled with addiction his entire life and acknowledges that he shouldn’t be alive today. In March of 2013, Ozzy announced he was in recovery again, noting that he desperately wants to be a better husband and father to his family.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers:Two active founding members of the band, Anthony Kiedis and Michael Peter Balzary (a.k.a. Flea) struggled with addiction since they were just kids. Flea admitted to being an addict since he was 12 years old, citing a volatile home life as a trigger. Drug and alcohol abuse tore the band apart at times, and they even lost a member, Hillel Slovak, to a drug overdose in 1988. Every member had a different struggle, but each managed to overcome their personal addictions. Both Flea and Kiedis remain in recovery, and the band finished a very successful tour in April this year. They are currently looking forward to getting back in the studio to make a new album.
Eminem: The Detroit rapper has always let his audience in on his personal demons and battles throughout his career. From his strained relationship with his mother, to his ugly divorce, he has never shied away from sharing his personal issues. Earlier this year he opened up about his life-threatening addiction to prescription drugs. In the documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs, Eminem detailed his addiction to Vicodin, chronicling abuse that saw upwards of 10 to 20 pills daily; it was a dependence that almost took his life. He eventually got clean by seeking advice from others who had struggled, including Elton John. Eminem ultimately sought rehab and got clean. His new album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 will be available on November 5th 2013.
Richie Supa:This list would be incomplete without a mention of South Florida’s own Richie Supa. Supa is best known as a rhythm guitarist and songwriter for Aerosmith and co-wrote such hits as “Lightning Strikes” (1982) and “Amazing” (1993). Supa not only headlines “Rockers in Recovery” each year, he also earned “The Lifetime Achievement Award” for his work in the counseling and recovery community. His song, “In The Rooms” is considered to be the unofficial anthem for recovery.
Unfortunately, not all musicians with drug and alcohol problems were able to address their issues before they succumbed to the dependency. Talented stars like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and dozens of others lost their battles with addiction, tragically ending their once-promising lives.
The Watershed encourages and supports anyone brave enough to commit to recovery. We hope that anyone struggling with addiction will seek help.