Recovering Sum 41 Rocker Talks About His Life-Threatening Battle With Alcoholism

By May Wilkerson 04/09/15

A still-recovering Deryck Whibley is looking forward to a return to the stage.

Deryck Whibley

Sum 41 rocker Deryck Whibley has opened up about his life-threatening battle with alcoholism for the first time since he was hospitalized 11 months ago. The 35-year-old musician was suffering from severe liver and kidney problems caused by years of “hard boozing,” he tells Vice. Nearly a year later, Whibley is recovering and looking forward to returning to the stage soon.

"I'm glad it happened now and not when I'm like, 50, because my body wouldn't have been able to handle it,” he says. “However, now I'm feeling better than I've ever felt. I'm healthier. I'm in the best shape of my life."

The rocker has come a long way since last May, when he revealed on his website that he was in intensive care after his liver and kidneys had collapsed. “The doctors said I was lucky to be alive and that there was still a chance I could die," he says.

After months of medical complications, Whibley still has trouble walking and spends most of his time in physical therapy, but he’s grateful he was able to “walk out of there alive” without needing a transplant.

"I do look back and think about how much worse it could have been," he says. "I could have had way more health problems than I had, but my liver is fine! Everything shut down before any more damage could happen.”

In his teens, Whibley began abusing alcohol as a way to cope with the pressures of his sudden success and busy touring schedule after he formed Sum 41. "I drank to wake me up and get that fake energy," he says. "There were a lot of times I didn't even want to drink, but I was so tired that shots of Jack were all I could do to get onstage."

Today, his focus is on recording Sum 41’s sixth studio album, embarking on tour once he’s back on his feet, and staying sober. "If I literally hadn't done it to death, I might feel like I'll be missing something, but I'm not missing anything," he says of drinking. "I'm done with it."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.