Van Halen Discusses His Addiction Battle
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Eddie Van Halen opens up about alcoholism and getting clean in the May issue of Esquire Magazine; the 57-year-old guitar legend says he partly blames for his father for his alcoholism. “The funny thing is, about the whole alcoholism thing: It wasn't really the partying,” he explains. “It was like—I don't mean to blame my dad, but when I started playing in front of people, I'd get so damn nervous. I asked him, ‘Dad, how do you do it?’ That's when he handed me the cigarette and the drink. And I go, Oh, this is good! It works!" He adds, "For so long, it really did work. And I certainly didn't do it to party. I would do blow and I would drink, and then I would go to my room and write music.” After being in and out of different rehabs for a month at a time, Van Halen hit a wall in 2006, and decided to stop drinking. But instead, to handle his nerves on stage, the guitarist was given the benzodiazepine Klonopin, which he also got hooked on; he became “catatonic” when coming off that drug. "All I wanted to do was stop drinking. But instead I literally could not communicate,” he says. “Yeah, I was gone. I don't know what dimension I went to, but I was not here." In time, Van Halen felt better after doctors gave him amino-acid treatments. After trying various rehabs and programs—including 12-step—without success, Van Halen just finally decided he was done for good. “When they say, ‘You can't say, I will never drink again,’ I can honestly say I will never drink again. It's a whole new world,” he says."It's a sullen truth, but [this year's A Different Kind of Truth] is the first record I've made sober.”