Singer JoJo Opens Up About Her Parents' Battle With Alcohol And Her Own

By Britni de la Cretaz 10/24/16

"I’ve definitely abused alcohol; I’ve been depressed. You can just kind of go down a black hole and find yourself addicted to almost anything.”

Image: 
Singer JoJo Opens Up About Her Parents' Battle With Alcohol And Her Own

JoJo is no stranger to the spotlight—she’s been in it since she was 13 years old and her first song, “Leave (Get Out),” was released.

But after a ten-year break, much of it spent in a legal battle with her record label, she’s releasing her first real adult album, one she wrote the majority of herself, as she told LENNY. (JoJo had to fight producers to get credit for the work she had done on her own songs.)

In the time between albums, she’s done a lot of living and a lot of growing up. Today, she’s 25, and opening up about her parents’ history of alcoholism and addiction—as well as her own struggles with drinking.

In a January interview with People magazine, JoJo talks about the single she released in 2016, “Save My Soul,” which is about her dad’s addiction. “‘Save My Soul’ is a song about addiction, and I grew up seeing addiction very close to me: Both my parents have struggled with it. So as a kid, you don’t kinda know when the bottom is going to fall through or what’s gonna happen next,” she said.

As a child, watching her parents fall in and out of sobriety, JoJo developed a familiarity with Alcoholics Anonymous. She says, “It’s always been a reality in my life, but because of the anonymity of Alcoholics Anonymous, I always felt like it wasn’t appropriate to say that I had grown up in the program – because my parents were in it, and I knew those principles very well,” she told People in July.

Ultimately, JoJo says she made the decision to talk about it. “I wanted to talk about that because 'Save My Soul' is about feeling powerless, and I’ve struggled with addiction in different forms, whether it’s addiction to love, to a person who’s not good for you, to food, to negative feelings,” she said. "I’ve definitely abused alcohol; I’ve been depressed. You can just kind of go down a black hole and find yourself addicted to almost anything.”

JoJo expands on those comments about her own drinking and mental health in her most recent interview with People. “For a while, I coped by drinking too much. I wanted to get out of my mind. I wanted to stop picking myself apart. I just wanted to feel good, to chase that high,” she says. “I wanted to stop worrying about my career. And when you get out of your mind, when you get to that point when you black out, you don’t give a shit about anything.”

But through therapy and antidepressant medication, the singer says she’s learned to cope with her feelings and her struggles. “I wouldn’t say that I’ve moved past them; I’m just finding ways to deal with them more constructively than try and suppress them. Calling them out, owning them and acknowledging that I feel this way — and talking to friends, talking to a therapist and in having outlets though my music — I’m able to cope,” she says. “It makes me feel not so alone.”

But for JoJo, she says she made the decision not to see her sensitivity as a weakness, but instead, to identify it as a strength, something she can channel into her art. “It’s really about changing your perspective and seizing opportunities instead of being a victim, claiming it as something that you can testify about. I will not be a victim. I will not say, ‘This is in my DNA’ or ‘This is my family origin’ or ‘This is what I’ve seen around me.’ I have to be stronger than that.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
britni headshot.png

Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.

Disqus comments