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Lily Allen Discusses Addiction, Self-Medicating

By David Konow 06/21/18

"I’ve used drugs and alcohol as medicine, almost, when things have been really bad. If I’m in a bad place, psychologically, I shouldn’t be anywhere near drugs and alcohol."

Lily Allen

British singer Lilly Allen first broke through in 2006 with her album Alright, Still, and now she’s back with her first new album in four years, No Shame.

As her new release hits, Allen is opening up about her battles with addiction, and why she may not be completely sober (though she’s not partying anymore).

Allen told People, “I definitely don’t rely on substances and alcohol in the way that I used to. It’s a bit about having made a conscious decision to leave that stuff behind. I would wake up in a haze in the middle of the Sheezus [album] tour and be like, ‘I’m 3,000 miles away from my kids.’ Why? What is all of this about?”

When asked if she got sober for her children, Allen said, “I think it was age. Waking up in a tour bus, really hungover with makeup running—it’s not a good look when you’re 30. It’s okay when you’re 19!”

Allen said that her drinking “got to a really bad stage, and I was definitely using alcohol as a crutch. I’m just very glad I’m not there anymore.”

Asked if she considers herself sober, Allen replied, “No, I wouldn’t actually. I would just say I don’t party anymore… I don’t take drugs anymore. I wouldn’t say I gave up drinking, because I might like, once in a blue moon, have a glass of wine at dinner.”

Allen said she was being stalked, which kept her close to home and away from outside temptations. “I think my sobriety was sort of forced by that. I wasn’t gonna sit at home and drink on my own, so I stopped; I stopped going out publicly and to places where people would maybe think that I would be.”

Once she had her “unintentional detox and respite from it,” Allen noticed that she was “thinking a lot more clearly… In the middle of the Sheezus [tour], I did do AA—I did my 90 meetings and 90 days, so I did do that, I went through that process, and I found it really helpful.”

Allen added, “To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever been an addict, so to speak. I think that I’ve used drugs and alcohol as medicine, almost, when things have been really bad. If I’m in a bad place, psychologically, I shouldn’t be anywhere near drugs and alcohol. But if I’m okay… I just don’t, I’m just not really in a space where I want to drink.” 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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