Elton John Reflects On Sobriety As “Rocketman” Movie Makes Its Debut

By Bryan Le 05/20/19

"Life is full of pitfalls, even when you’re sober. I can deal with them now because I don’t have to run away and hide,” John said.

Elton John

The new film Rocketman details singer Elton John’s life, including his drug, sex, and shopping addictions that hounded him earlier in his career. Despite his stature as an iconic artist and musician, John says he still finds himself in the throes of self doubt.

“I think every artist does [have self-doubt],” John said in an interview with Variety. “Every creative artist does have doubt and has moments of, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Am I good enough?’ And that’s what turns us into monsters as well because I think you become unreasonable and of course the chemical substances and the alcohol doesn’t help anything, and you lose touch with reality.”

John admitted that his life spiraled out of control as he began to settle into a lifestyle of fame and fortune.

“The life I was leading, flying on the Starship [his legendary private plane], living in beautiful houses, buying things left, right and center—it was not a normal life, not the sort of life I came from anyway,” said John. “I lost complete touch with that. I vowed when I did change my life that that would never happen again.”

The “Tiny Dancer” singer also revealed that some days, he wasn’t sure whether he’d make it to tomorrow.

“There were times I was having chest pains or staying up for three days at a time,” said John. “I used to have spasms and be found on the floor and they’d put me back to bed and half an hour later I’d be doing the same. It’s crazy.”

These days, the musician is married to David Furnish, with whom he is raising two sons. He’s only made it this far because he fought to live.

“I am a survivor,” he said. “I’ve survived a lot of things. Life is full of pitfalls, even when you’re sober. I can deal with them now because I don’t have to run away and hide.”

John says that the most valuable skill he’s learned from sobriety is communication.

“What I couldn’t do when I was an addict was communicate, except when I was on cocaine I thought I could but I talked rubbish,” John recounted. “I have a confrontation problem which I don’t have anymore because I learned if you don’t communicate and you don’t talk about things then you’re never going to find a solution.”

The origin of his troubles may be traced back to his complicated relationship with his parents, who split when he was a child.

“I’ve come to understand—as you get older you understand—the circumstances they went through,” said John. “I’m not angry or bitter about that whatsoever, but it did leave a scar and that scar took a long time to heal—and maybe it will never heal totally.” 

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter