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Ozzy Osbourne is Sober—and Wiser?

The notoriously drug-addled rocker bucks expectations with a positive message about sobriety.

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By May Wilkerson

12/27/12

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In a recent interview, mumbly rock idol Ozzy Osbourne speaks with startling clarity about the battle with drugs and alcohol that spanned most of his four-decade musical career. The rocker who claims he's been "typecast" for his substance abuse and his music about the "dark forces," proves even the most notoriously drug-addled rock stars can get sober—and wiser. Osbourne rose to fame as lead singer of the band Black Sabbath, whose sound pioneered the heavy metal genre; but throughout their decades of musical success, the band members struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. "I got the rap of being stoned and drunk all the time," says Osbourne. "I wasn't the only one, man. I mean we were all in a bad way with drugs and alcohol. A very, very bad way." Osbourne blames drugs and alcohol, and a battle of egos, for his departure from Black Sabbath in 1979. "I didn't give a shit," he says. "I was full of cocaine and all the rest of the crap I used to do. That stuff makes you talk total horse crap." He went on to sell over 100 million albums as a solo artist, and began his rocky road to sobriety—some of which was documented on his family's reality show The Osbournes. "Alcoholism and drug dependency is a killer disease," says the 64-year-old musician. "I went to two rehab places and then I still went out again. And then I stopped again and then I started. I have accepted I have a problem with drugs and alcohol. That's a big stepping stone, you know. I'm very lucky that I'm still alive and I'm also very lucky I can still put two words together."

The now-sober rocker has addressed his struggles with addiction in his music, including the song "Suicide Solution," which includes the lyrics: "Wine is fine but whiskey's quicker. Suicide is slow with liquor." Osbourne says the song is a "warning about the dangers of alcohol," and he hopes it can offer a positive message for anyone who might be struggling with addiction. "It ain't so cool when you waking up shaking fearsome and wondering when your next drink's going to come," he says. "If anyone is out there and they have this problem, go find help because it's free."

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