Sharing a photo of his sobriety coin on social media, he said in the caption, “29 years ago today, I was a broken man. I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help.’ Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”
The music and style icon struggled with drugs and alcohol as a young rising star. He described being in a “drug-fueled haze in the ‘80s” before he realized it was time to stop.
“I always said cocaine was the drug that made me open up. I could talk to people,” said John in a 2012 interview with NPR. “But then it became the drug that closed me down.” Ultimately cocaine would cause the musician to isolate himself, “which is the end of the world, really.”
Meeting Ryan White
In his memoir Love Is the Cure, John detailed how meeting Ryan White, a young man who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, encouraged him to quit using drugs and alcohol.
“It got me to realize how out of whack my life was,” said John. “I knew that I had to change. And after he died, I realized that I only had two choices: I was either going to die or I was going to live, and which one did I want to do? And then I said those words, ‘I’ll get help’… And my life turned around. Ridiculous for a human being to take 16 years to say, ‘I need help.’”
John acknowledged how his mindset has transformed in recovery.
“What I couldn’t do when I was an addict was communicate, except when I was on cocaine I thought I could but I talked rubbish,” he said, according to Variety. “I have a confrontation problem which I don’t have anymore because I learned if you don’t communicate and you don’t talk about things then you’re never going to find a solution.”