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Elton John: ‘If I hadn’t asked for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead’

Elton John: ‘If I hadn’t asked for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead’

  • Star celebrates his ‘30th Sobriety Birthday’ with cake, flowers and cards.
Elton John

Elton John has said he ‘would be dead’ if he hadn’t asked for help with his drug and alcohol addiction.

He made the comments in a heartfelt Instagram post as he celebrated his ‘30th Sobriety Birthday’.

The pictures accompanying the post showed gifts from his husband David Furnish, their two sons and ‘friends in the Program’.

He also proudly showed off his Alcoholics Anonymous coin. The inscription reads: ‘To Thine Own Self be True. Unity, Recovery and Service.’

Elton said in his Instagram post:

‘Reflecting on the most magical day having celebrated my 30th Sobriety Birthday. So many lovely cards, flowers and chips from my sons, David, friends in the Program, staff at the office and in our homes.

‘I’m truly a blessed man. If I hadn’t finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart to all the people who have inspired and supported me along the way.’

A congratulations card from David and their sons Elijah and Zachary reads:

‘Dearest Elton, Many congratulations on your 30th anniversary. So much love, respect and admiration.’

Elton John shows off cards from his friends and family.
Elton John shows off cards from his friends and family. Instagram

‘I am a survivor’

The singer-songwriter has long been open about his struggles with cocaine and the eating disorder bulimia.

The long-lasting problems were so bad that he had a cocaine overdose in Los Angeles in 1975.

Elton John performing in 1975.
Elton John performing in 1975. Wikimedia Commons

Last year he told Variety: ‘The life I was leading, flying on the Starship, living in beautiful houses, buying things left, right and center – it was not a normal life.  

‘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.

‘I am a survivor. 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.’

Moreover, he told Awards Chatter his cocaine use got him a reputation for being a ‘diva’:

‘I saw someone doing cocaine and didn’t know what it was. They said it makes you feel good. So I thought “I will have a go”. Worst decision of my life.  

‘I shouted at people. I wasn’t proud of that behaviour because it is not really who I am. It led a lot of people to say I’ve always been a diva. I am not. Now I don’t take drugs.’

Elton's beautifully decorated celebration cake, in the shape of the number 30.
Elton’s beautifully decorated celebration cake. Instagram

Cocaine and alcohol and the LGBT+ community

In fact, Sir Elton is far from alone.

Repeated studies have found gay and bi men are more likely to drink alcohol to excess and take certain types of drugs. In particular, cannabis, MDMA and cocaine use is very common.

Fellow singer Lady Gaga, broadcaster Stephen Fry and Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown are among other LGBT+ celebrities who have spoken about their struggles with cocaine.

If you need help or advice around the issues in this article, just reach out. You can find a list of LGBT+ resources and helplines all around the world here. Please note, some of the helplines may have different operating hours during the pandemic.