Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes Opens Up About Drug Use, 12-Step Experience

Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes Opens Up About Drug Use, 12-Step Experience

By McCarton Ackerman 11/29/16

"I don’t want drugs, I don’t long for drugs. I can watch people do lines of coke and just say, ‘How’s the coke?’”

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Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes Opens Up About Drug Use, 12-Step Experience
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Bring Me the Horizon singer Oliver Sykes was so deep into his addiction at one point that life or death was of no consequence to him. But he’s now sober and has a stronger will to live than ever before.

Sykes went into rehab shortly before the release of the British rock band's 2013 album Sempiternal. Although he wasn’t actively suicidal, he admitted to Metal Hammer that “I was suicidal in the fact that I didn’t give a shit. I clearly had no care if I lived or died.” But after an unsuccessful first attempt at inpatient treatment, he said the message rang clear the second time with a different approach.

“I just went into a general ward, not necessarily for addiction, but there were self-harmers, people struggling with sexuality issues, people who’d been raped, schizophrenics... and for me that was a much better experience,” said Sykes. “I wanted a magic trick to get better; a trick to make me not do these drugs anymore. But all the people in there with all these different things, when you talk to them about what you’re going through, it’s exactly the same. No matter what you do – whether you’re cutting yourself or scared to admit your sexuality – you’re going through the same things.”

Sykes originally tried the 12-step approach, but said he didn’t identify with the philosophy of addiction being a daily battle. He adopted “my own custom way of getting better,” but said the end result is still a success because he’s remained sober for years.

“They’d tell you, ‘Every day will be a struggle, every day you’re inflicted with this disease.’ To me, that’s offensive to people with actual diseases. And it’s offensive to tell someone that they will want drugs every day because it’s who they are,” said Sykes. “I got into drugs for fun and it’s developed into a crutch for something else. I don’t want drugs, I don’t long for drugs. I can watch people do lines of coke and just say, ‘How’s the coke?’”

Sykes also credited being diagnosed with adult ADHD during his time in rehab with helping him in his recovery. Although he takes doctor-prescribed medication to address the issue, he is actively working on cutting down the dosage.

But despite being in a solid place personally and professionally, Sykes surprisingly said he not only had no regrets about his drug use, but actually encourages others to experiment.

“I don’t know if I should say it, but everyone should do drugs at some point in their life. You shouldn’t go through your life without experiencing acid,” he said. “It used to be fun. It used to be an adventure. That’s why I did all those drugs. But after a while it stops being awesome and that’s the reality. But it’s a hard reality to accept.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.

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