Elton John Celebrates 25 Years Sober
Author: Justin Mckibben
The music man himself Elton John, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, is celebrating 25 years sober at age 68 this week! This is the amazing British songster who gave us “Your Song” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” along with several other Grammy Award winning hits that changed music and influenced love songs for decades to come.
Just this Wednesday he made a special shout out to his sobriety over social media with an Instagram post featuring an image of a beautiful white cake with pink flowers and the gold and bedazzled number 25 on top. The images caption read:
“25 years of sobriety today. One day at a time”
The photo included a variety of hash-tags that read:
- And of course… #blessed
David Furnish, Elton John’s husband, is a former advertising executive and who is currently a filmmaker and he also posted a very special message for the sober-birthday-boy to congratulate him. The couple share two sons together- 4 year old Zachary and 2 year old Elijah- and this small family has a foundation built on a legacy of music, charity and recovery.
The image David Furnish shared online included a medallion for marking extended time in recovery that had 25 years imprinted on it, and his caption was a proud proclamation about his melodic man-crushes awesome accomplishment;
“Happy 25th Birthday Elton. You inspire me with your light and your love every day.”
The two have been together since 1993, and were amongst the first couples in the UK to form a civil partnership. After gay marriage became legal in England in 2014 the two married, with Elton John having already seen so much of his own struggles by this point.
Addiction and Eating Disorder
By 1975 Elton John was being heavily burdened by his star status, and it finally came to a boiling point during “Elton Week” in Los Angeles that year when he suffered a drug overdose.
Later in life Elton would describe himself as a “shy” kid, calling himself “ignorant” and “naïve” about drugs during an interview, admitting he had started his cocaine use in the recording studio back in the ‘70s with his manager.
“I always said cocaine was the drug that made me open up. I could talk to people. But then it became the drug that closed me down, because the last two weeks of my use of cocaine I spent in a room in London, using it and not coming out for two weeks. And it completely shut me down. So, it started out by making me talk to everyone and then ended up by me isolating myself alone with it, which is the end of the world really.”
He later described his turning point when he met Ryan White, a teen from Indiana who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and later died in 1990. Elton credits this experience with forcing him to examine his own life and change his choices about cocaine and alcohol abuse.
He has been very open about his past, saying that he wasted such a big part of his life being addicted to drugs and living a self-absorbed life-style. He also has publicly talked about his experience with battling the eating disorder bulimia, telling Larry King in a 2002 interview he and Princess Diana were both struggling with the disorder at one point.
In 2012 Elton John went into great inclusive detail about his issues with drugs, alcohol and mental health in his memoir entitled Love is The Cure: On Life, Loss and the End of AIDS. In 1986 he joined a group of musicians to record the single “That’s What Friends Are For” with:
- Dionne Warwick
- Gladys Knight
- Stevie Wonder
All profits from the song were donated to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The song won John and the others the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, while he gradually got involved with the fight against AIDS and created the Elton John AIDS Foundation, surely counting himself lucky with all his own battles and addictions that put him at risk to have been spared during the AIDS epidemic.
Artists, musicians, celebrities of all kinds face the same temptations, and many of them experience the devastation that can be caused when drugs take hold of their lives, and when control is lost, what else an addict can lose in the process.
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