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Elton John, On How He Conquered Alcohol And Drug Addiction, In His New Memoir

Written by DeShawn McQueen on Thursday, 19 July 2012. Posted in Celebrities, Voices in Recovery, Breaking News, Alcohol

elton john drug addiction recovery

English songwriter, pianist and bestselling singer Sir Elton John has written a new book; his very first memoir to date. The well-received creation is aptly titled, The Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS. Among other subjects, John intimately discusses his journey through drug and alcohol addiction as well his unique recovery process.

Although we are not sure of the exact reason why John wrote the memoir, longtime sober John did tell NPR in a recent interview that he has been unsuccessful in relieving himself of the memories of his former life as an addict. Perhaps his writing the memoir was a form of temporary relief.

For twenty-two years now Elton John has been clean and sober, yet he has revealed that at least two times per week he dreams about using cocaine. John has explained that the dreams serve as a wake-up call about his addiction as they are so vivid and so upsetting. Apparently they serve as a reminder of the pain he experienced from addiction or a first line of defense from relapse.

In his new memoir, John does reveal that Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who died of AIDS after acquiring it from a blood transfusion, was his inspiration to stop using alcohol and cocaine. Ryan White’s 1990 death reinforced John’s awareness that he needed to change the way he was living, including addressing his addictions.

John suddenly realized that he had to re-emerge from the drug-fueled haze he lived through in the 1980’s so that he could assist with the fight against HIV. As a gay man he felt that he was obligated in some way to help people with HIV.

Elton John explained that his initial introduction to using drugs, particularly cocaine, occurred during his early career when his manager at the time brought cocaine into a studio where John was recording music. He admits that he was impressionable, even naïve and ignorant about the use of drugs. Even once John did decide to quit using drugs and enter recovery, he was reluctant to fire his manager because he was not a confrontational person; he did eventually fire that manager.

Like many individuals who abuse drugs Elton John was quite shy. Apparently he used cocaine to reach the same level of confidence off-stage as he did on-stage.

For John, cocaine opened up a new door of confidence that he had always wanted to enter. Suddenly he was able to look people straight in the face and talk to them; he felt open and empowered.

However, he eventually experienced the complete opposite, as he began to isolate. During the last two weeks of his cocaine use John did not emerge from a room in London for two weeks. That was around the time he knew that he had to stop, as he explained during an interview with NPR.

Although John has talked candidly about his regret at wasting such a large portion of his life on drugs, he has since worked so hard to redeem himself; he has raised more than 275 million dollars for AIDS research with the Elton John AIDS Foundation he founded in 1992.

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About the Author

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen

DeShawn McQueen is a staff writer at Recovery Now Newspaper and, an informative newspaper that serves as a resource for persons of all stages of drug and alcohol treatment, by giving them access to relevant and necessary information so that they may live balanced and substance-free lifestyles. DeShawn graduated from Wayne State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology and premedical sciences. He holds a Juris Doctors degree in law from Valparaiso University School of Law. DeShawn’s writing and research has been published in such academic journals as Behavioral Pharmacology and Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior among others. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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