David Bowie Helped Trent Reznor Get Sober

By May Wilkerson 01/28/16

The Nine Inch Nails frontman wrote about his experience in Rolling Stone magazine.

Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor got sober with support from legend David Bowie, according to a new essay by the Nine Inch Nails frontman in the new issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is dedicated to the late Bowie, who died earlier this month after a secret 18-month struggle with cancer.

Reznor was battling addiction when he toured with Bowie in 1995. In the essay he recalls the musician doling out “pieces of wisdom” such as: “'You know, there is a better way here, and it doesn't have to end in despair or in death, in the bottom.'"

Not long after, Reznor quit alcohol and drugs, and a few years later, Bowie came to Los Angeles. By then, Reznor writes: "I'd been sober for a fair amount of time. I wanted to thank him in the way that he helped me. And I reluctantly went backstage, feeling weird and ashamed, like, 'Hey, I'm the guy that puked on the rug.' And again, I was met with warmth, and grace, and love. And I started to say, 'Hey listen, I've been clean for ... ' I don't even think I finished the sentence; I got a big hug. And he said, 'I knew. I knew you'd do that. I knew you'd come out of that.' I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it. It was another very important moment in my life."

Bowie had been open about his past struggles with cocaine, saying that drugs "took over" his life and drove him to consider suicide at age 28. "I really did think that my thoughts about not making 30 would come true," he said in 2013. "Drugs had taken my life away from me. I felt as though I would probably die and it was going to be all over."

The iconic musician quit drugs and went on to have a hugely successful career, reaching legendary status before his death earlier this month, days after his 69th birthday.

In the Rolling Stone essay, Reznor describes Bowie as one of his greatest influences. “His music really helped me relate to myself and figure out who I was,” he writes. “He was a tremendous inspiration in terms of what was possible, what the role of an entertainer could be, that there are no rules."

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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.