Boy George On Sobriety: I’m A Work In Progress

By Bryan Le 10/29/18

 “I think that you never really get there, but you definitely get better at being alone and observing yourself.”

Boy George & his band Culture Club at the 2014 LACMA Art+Film Gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Boy George (second from the left) with band Culture Club. Photo via Jaguarps |

Singer Boy George is soon releasing a new album with Culture Club for the first time in two decades, but he might not have made it this far if he were still focused on the drugs, he says.

The singer and style icon (born George Alan O'Dowd) recounted the positive impact that sobriety has had on his life in an interview with USA Today.

“You have more time. Your life is not centered around one obsession. But it takes time. I've always regarded myself as a work in progress," he said. “I think that you never really get there, but you definitely get better at being alone and observing yourself.”

The singer has had a long, public battle with drugs and has lost several friends and colleagues over the years to drug overdoses. Reflecting on what inspired him to try and get sober, the singer spoke frankly.

“I think it’s all quite well-documented. Some of it’s true, some of it’s not. When you’re in the eye of the storm, you don’t see a way out of it. For me, it was really just a series of events that led me to an AA meeting,” he recounted. “As much as I didn't want to be there, I also knew that’s where I needed to be. So you could call it a point of realization.”

He also says that there was no one dramatic moment in which he suddenly realized he needed to turn his life around, but rather a spark of realization that he needed to get better.

“So many bad things happen to people when they're in throes of addiction and it's almost impossible to say what is the 'rock bottom' that makes you stop. Sometimes it's just a chance encounter or a moment of clarity,” he said. “For me, I was just brought to a place where I was able to stop and go, ‘OK, this is not my life. This is not what I want to be or where I want to go.’”

When asked how he felt about the new generation of LGBTQ artists who haven’t felt the need to hide themselves, he answered that he was glad that they could come out to a world more accepting of them.

“It’s interesting. Without people like me, (David) Bowie, Oscar Wilde, and whoever came before taking the kinds of risk that we took however we took them, maybe there wouldn't be a situation where you didn't have to think about your sexuality—that you can just factor it into what you do. I suppose, in a way, that’s what I always wanted,” Boy George answered.

“So I guess the answer would be I’m delighted for those people, because I’ve always wanted to live in a world where your sexuality, your race and your age weren't important.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter