Sir Elton John celebrates 29 years of sobriety: ‘I was a broken man’

Singer’s addiction struggles are documented in musical biopic Rocketman


Katie O'Malley
Tuesday 30 July 2019 10:47
Elton John sings Tiny Dancer on stage with Taron Egerton at Oscars after party

Sir Elton John has celebrated 29 years of sobriety in a candid post on social media, describing himself as a “broken man” during his battle with substance abuse.

The “Candle in the Wind” performer has been open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol for several years, which were recently documented in his 2019 musical biopic Rocketman.

On Monday, the singer took to social media, posting a photograph of his Alcoholics Anonymous sobriety badge to mark almost three decades of being sober.

In the caption of the post, shared on Twitter and Instagram, the performer wrote: “29 years ago today, I was a broken man.

“I finally summoned up the courage to say three words that would change my life: ‘I need help’.”

John continued to thank the “selfless people” who supported him during his sobriety.

“I am eternally grateful,” he concluded the post.

The badge in the photograph is awarded to sober members who complete the mutual aid fellowship’s 12-step recovery programme. The organisation's motto reads: “To Thine Own Self be True. Unity, Recovery and Service.”

The singer’s post has received several messages of support from fans and celebrities.

Director and artist Sam Taylor Johnson commented on the Instagram post “I love you”, while actor Liz Hurley posted several love hearts on the snap.

“You’re a legend through and through,” wrote one fan.

Another wrote: “Congratulations Elton!!! I am so glad for all you’ve been able to accomplish! Here’s to many more years of happiness for you! [sic]”

Sir Elton John attends the 'Rocketman' UK premiere at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on 20 May, 2019 in London, England.

Earlier this year, John – whose real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight – discussed his struggles with substance abuse in an interview with Variety at the Cannes Film Festival.

“The life I was leading, flying on the Starship, living in beautiful houses, buying things left, right and centre — it was not a normal life,” he told the publication.

“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.

“I am a survivor. 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,” he added.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, John said he found it “difficult” to watch his musical biopic, in which actor Taron Egerton plays the singer.

“This is how my life was, and I didn’t want to cover it and gloss it over,” he told the publication.

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“And it’s difficult to watch because I thought, ‘God, I don’t want to go back there. Thank God I came out of it’.”

John added that he also has struggled with fame over the years.

“Success was fantastic, and then I couldn’t cope with it. And you can’t leave out the bad,” he continued.

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