Rock stars and musicians are infamous for having drug and alcohol problems, which is one of the reasons behind the famous mantra "sex, drugs and rock and roll." However, musicians are not the only celebrities to make headlines due to their drug or alcohol abuse, a stint in rehab, or even a death caused by drugs or alcohol.
Although many drug or alcohol problems remain just rumors, some celebrities choose to open up about their experience, perhaps to show others that it is possible to overcome such a self-destructive path.
One of the latest rockers to open up about substance abuse is Gerard Way, singer and frontman from the band My Chemical Romance. Recently, he revealed that he relapsed soon after My Chemical Romance released what was their final album.
He also stated that it was his relapse that was the real cause of the band's breakup.
Way plans to release his own solo album, titled Hesitant Alien, on September 29. As part of the press for the release, he spoke to NME Magazine about his addiction, relapse, and the breakup of the band.
According to the interview, he chose to split up the band because he felt that it led to many of his self-destructive behaviors. He found himself beginning to experience problems shortly after the band released their final album in 2010, titled Danger Days.
The band was together for 12 years. When they announced their break up in 2013, they insisted to the media that is was because they hoped to end their run on a high note.
However, this recent interview revealed the real reason for the breakup.
As part of Way's solo journey, he played his first ever solo gig at the Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms to just over 400 people on August 20, followed by another show at the Reading and Leeds Festivals over the weekend of August 22-24. He is working his way towards a solo career that will hopefully be more compatible with his health and sobriety.
Way first experienced problems when he was in his 20s, struggling with addiction to prescription medication and alcohol. He overcome this addiction and was sober for years. However, when working on the last album with My Chemical Romance, he found himself once again following a dangerous and dark path.
For Way, the substance of choice during his relapse was alcohol. He says he found himself self-medicating, and "I'd forgotten how miserable that made me.
It took me to the dark place again, but there was more at stake this time." He thought about his daughter, Bandit, and focused on her in order to overcome the problem.
He especially considered what her life would be without a father, which allowed him to overcome his struggle with alcohol. As part of his soul searching, he decided that he needed to break up the band; otherwise, it would end up being the end of him.
As he put it, it was either "break the band or break me."
The Dangers of Addiction and Relapse
Way is not the first, nor will he most likely be the last, musician to experience a self-destructive path filled with drugs and alcohol. He was aware enough to notice the destructive behavior and the beginning stages of a relapse and find his way back to sobriety.
His story is similar to many addicts who have been sober for years but find themselves in situations that lead them astray. When this happens, it is important to find the strength to once again overcome the problem.
Way focused on what mattered most to him, his daughter and family, to find the strength to overcome his old demons and make a difficult decision to help himself first, which could be a helpful tool for everyone struggling with relapse.