Eagles' Joe Walsh has recently shared his journey into drug and alcohol addiction, saying it started by using alcohol as a cure for stage fright.
Now sober for 25 years, Walsh spoke at a gala event held by the Facing Addiction charity where he and his wife Majorie were honoured with a humanitarian award for helping launch the charity in 2015.
As a child, Walsh had dealt with issues including ADD and Asperger's syndrome without any diagnosis. "There was no awareness of what that was," he said.
“You were just difficult. I was difficult. I was different that way from the other kids and because of that, I was terrified. I was truly terrified because I felt stupid and alone and that nobody understood," he adds. "...in my late teenage years, I tried to play [the] guitar in front of some people, and I couldn’t do it. I was so scared, I could not do it. I hyperventilated. I started shaking. I started crying.”
He later discovered that he could ease his fear after "a couple of beers", which was how it all started. "I thought alcohol was a winner. And later on, when I did an album that didn't do so good, I thought, well obviously I'm not drinking nearly as much as I need to."
My higher power became vodka and cocaine.
He eventually found that nobody wanted to work with him. "I burned all the bridges. Nobody wanted to work with me. I was angry... I turned into this godless, hateful thing."
He then went to Alcoholics Anonymous: "Gradually, they showed me that I’m not a unique individual, one-of-a-kind person," he explained. "I’m just an alcoholic, and for the first time in my life I felt like I was somewhere where I belonged."