“There were times I was having chest pains or staying up for three days at a time,” he said. “I used to have spasms and be found on the floor, and they’d put me back to bed, and half an hour later I’d be doing the same. It’s crazy.” He said that if he hadn’t asked for help three decades ago, he would be dead.
But John did eventually ask for help, which led to over 30 years of sobriety. “My soul was black, like a charred piece of steak, until I said, ‘I need help,’” he said. “And suddenly, a little pilot light in my soul came along going, ‘Yes, I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m still here. I can still be rescued.'”
When John first got sober, he took a year off work to focus solely on recovery. He now calls this the best decision he ever made. During that year, he’d sometimes attend five Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings a day. He was determined to apply everything he learned in treatment and the program to his recovery.
When he did start touring again, he continued to make attending meetings a priority. “Wherever I went in the world, I found a meeting to attend,” John said. “That’s not as hard as it might sound. Even if I didn’t speak the language, I still attended meetings abroad…Those meetings kept me grounded. The program gave me a structure for living so that I could go on stage every night, do my job well and actually enjoy it.”
John calls his life these days “wonderful,” but says he had to work hard to get here. “I am a survivor,” he said. “I’ve survived a lot of things. Life is full of pitfalls, even when you’re sober. I can deal with them now because I don’t have to run away and hide.”
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a wonderful life in sobriety. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.