Wilco's Jeff Tweedy Surrenders to Sobriety

By McCarton Ackerman 02/13/13

The Wilco frontman says now even the thought of opiates makes him "anxious and sick."

Tweedy is nine years clean.

It's been nine years since Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, 46, kicked his addiction to prescription drugs, but he says that he's still scarred from the memories of his drug use. During a podcast interview with Curb Your Enthusiasm star Jeff Garlin, the rocker reveals that an employee at his local Walgreens would triple his Vicodin prescriptions while he was on the road. "After a while, I would just drive through and he'd just give me a bag of 100 Vicodin," he recalls. But these days, he can't stomach even the thought of opiates. "It makes me feel really anxious and sick to think about how bad it felt," he says. "The only reason I was able to get help is because I was able to say anything is better than this, anything in the fucking world is better than this and I know that." Tweedy eventually checked into treatment, where he was playing guitar one day when a fellow resident told him: "'You know, you've got something. I don't know what it is but you just lack confidence. What you need to do is get out there and get in front of some people and play your music for other people.'" He says the compliment was "the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me by far." The alt-country icon has remained clean ever since, which he says is largely due to surrendering to his addiction. "I don't put myself in situations where I have to exercise a lot of willpower," he says. "I think that's really much more important than having willpower."

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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.