16 Inspiring Tales of Clean & Sober Rock Stars

September 28, 2018

In the wild and chaotic world of rock, drugs and alcohol are considered automatic elements of a rock band's lifestyle. But in many cases, there have been times where addiction can take control over their lives, which can also include claiming it.

But there have also been many cases where an artist has been able to overcome their addition to drugs and alcohol to live full, happy lives, as well as inspire others to get clean as well.

1. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)

Following the death of his grandmother who raised him, fame, and the success of his 1994 album The Downward Spiral, Reznor's stress levels were hitting an all-time high. As a result he turned to alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs to cope. But after overdosing on heroin in London, England, Reznor checked himself into rehab and was able to stay clean in 2001. 

2. Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

Aerosmith had hit a serious impasse in their careers when drugs and alcohol nearly tore them apart in the '80s. But by 1988, he and the other members of Aerosmith stayed squeakly clean for twelve years. In 2006, Tyler relapsed after becoming addicted to prescription pills until he checked himself in to the Betty Ford Clinic in 2009. He has since remained clean and sober.

3. Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

The Red Hot Chili Peppers singer's father was an addict and in time he became one as well. However, after kicking his drug habit Kiedis has been a dedicated fitness junkie. Men's Fitness has even listed him as having some of the best "rock star abs."

4. David Bowie

Bowie had struggled with alcoholism a very heavy cocaine addiction until he was finally able to overcome it during his 50's. Knowing that allowing himself to succumb to his vices would ruin his relationships with those he loved, he renounced all drugs and alcohol, and is much happier for doing so. Before he died in 2016, Bowie also wanted to reach out to late Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland, who unfortunately died of a drug overdose a month earlier. 

5. James Hetfield (Metallica)

As seen in Metallica's documentary Some Kind of Monster, Hetfield struggled with alcoholism for years as nearly cost him his family. After checking himself into rehab in 2001, Hetfield has maintained his sobriety ever since.

6. Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath)

As his wife Sharon has pointed out before, Ozzy has an addictive personality. Everything from alcohol, drugs, food, women, and any other vice he could get his hands on, he has an insatiable appetite that could not be quenched. After years of heavy drug abuse throughout the '70s, Osbourne was kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1979. Aven after going solo, his addictions for drugs and alcohol continued throughout the '80s, which resulted in him being banned from the city of San Antonio, TX for a decade after being charged with public intoxication and for urinating on the Alamo in 1982.

During the '90s Ozzy had an on-again off-again relationship with sobriety into the early 2000's. In 2013, Ozzy had a relapse that lasted for a year and a half before finally staying sober.

7. Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society)

Playing in Ozzy's band meant that alcohol would always have a presence. But while on tour in August 2009, Zakk had to be admitted into the hospital after being diagnosed with multiple blood clots. After being told that if he were to continue consuming the amount of alcohol that he did on a daily basis, his future would appear to be very short. Following that news, Zakk has not had a single drink since then.

8. Tom Waits

Sober for over twenty years, Waits owes his sobriety to his wife Kathleen, who helped him every step of the way after attending AA.

9. Eric Clapton (Eric Clapton, Cream)

Despite writing the song "Cocaine," Clapton was able to wave the flag of sobriety after hitting rock bottom with drugs, alcohol and even suicidal thoughts. He has since kept his health as a #1 priority.

10. Ringo Starr (Ringo Starr, The Beatles)

The Beatles drummer has been sober since the '80s, which he referred to as the peak of his alcoholism. Since then he has maintained a very happy and healthy lifestyle.

11. Elton John

Proudly sober for over twenty years, Elton John's journey to sobriety began after witnessing the death of Ryan White, a teenager from Indiana who was also the face of HIV/AIDS in the late '80s. John believed that if he were to get cleana and sober, he would be better suited to help those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

12. Neil Young

After decades of heavy drug and alcohol abuse, legendary rocker Neil Young became sober in 2011. After getting clean, Young proudly has a new lease on life.

13. Tommy Vext (Bad Wolves)

Vext has one of the most inspiring and transformative tales of sobriety you will ever hear. Along with a history of substance abuse, depression, and nearly being murdered by his twin brother, Vext was moments away from taking his own life. But after seeking treatment, Vext has since become a sponsor for many individuals fighting the same battle he has fought before.

14. Ivan Moody (Five Finger Death Punch)

In the past, Moody has struggled for a long time in his battle with alcoholism. It became apparent that he truly needed help when he abruptly cut Five Finger Death Punch's set short at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA in 2016. When he first entered a rehab facility his blood-alcohol level was a .36, which is enough to lose consciousness and possibly die. Thanks to treatment, and a little help from Tommy Vext, Moody remains sober to this day.

15. Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour)

When he was 15-years-old, Corey Taylor's body was thrown into a dumpster by his friends, believing he was dead after his first overdose. He continued to have an ongoing relationship with many substances until 2003 when a friend saved his life after he nearly fell off a balcony while drunk. In 2017, Taylor was given the "Rock To Recovery Icon Award" for his efforts of encouraging others on their roads to sobriety.

16. Brian "Head" Welch (Korn)

As Korn's fame and fanbase began to increase in the late '90s, so did their amount of partying, drinking and intake of drugs. But after many years, guitarist Brian "Head" Welch decided to leave the band due to the toll substance abuse had taken on his life, both personally and professionally. However, after finding God, Welch was able to set his life right and conquer his demons.