Phil Collins' Upcoming Memoir 'Not Dead Yet' Will Address His Struggles With Alcohol

Phil Collins' Upcoming Memoir 'Not Dead Yet' Will Address His Struggles With Alcohol

By Dorri Olds 08/25/16

“You start drinking, and then you start drinking too much. Then it physically hurts you. I came very close to dying at that point.”

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Phil Collins' Upcoming Memoir 'Not Dead Yet' Will Address His Struggles With Alcohol
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Celebrated musical icon Phil Collins is finally coming out of retirement. As Collins, 65, gears up to headline the Opening Night Ceremonies for the U.S. Open tennis tournament on Monday, August 29, the seven-time Grammy Award winner opened up to the New York Times about his upcoming memoir, Not Dead Yet. 

“There’s a chapter in it about the drinking, which escalated when my third marriage broke up, and I retired,” he told the Times. Collins and his third wife, Swiss national Orianne Cevey, separated in 2006 and divorced in 2008. Cevey remarried and moved to Miami with their two sons, Nicholas, now 15, and Matthew, 11.

“I was left with this huge void,” said Collins. “I didn’t want to work because I wanted to be with the kids, but the kids weren’t there anymore, because they moved to Miami, and I was still in Switzerland.”

At the height of his drinking, Collins would open a bottle of wine at 11 a.m. He described that dark time in his life to the Times. “You start drinking, and then you start drinking too much. Then it physically hurts you. I came very close to dying at that point.”

His memoir touches on pivotal moments in his wildly successful music career, including playing with Eric Clapton, another rock legend who's been open about his addictions and recovery.

“The book is honest,” said Collins. “It’s self-deprecating. I’m not shirking my responsibilities. I apologize when I need to.”

Collins has been candid about his drinking in the past, but didn’t seem comfortable with using the word "alcoholic." In 2014, Collins told the Daily Mail, “Well, I was supposed to be an alcoholic. I went to meetings, and I did try rehab—for a week! But I just couldn’t stand it. It was like being in a boarding school. So I said to myself, ‘I know what I need to do; I’m not a f****** alcoholic.'”

He was also taking pain medications for his multiple physical ailments, including tendon issues and back pain. But he said the pills “were not mixing with the drink, basically. The kids were getting a little bit worried, and that’s what made me worried. Anyway, one thing led to another and I found myself a great doctor here in America, and I went to a couple of specialists. And I don’t drink any more. And I’ve never fallen off the wagon. I’ve just been lucky.”

In February, the Daily Mail quoted Collins as saying, “I went through a few bits of darkness, drinking too much. I killed my hours watching TV and drinking, and it almost killed me.”

Not Dead Yet is scheduled for release on October 25.

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. She is currently working on a book scheduled for release in 2019. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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