Elton John on 29 Years of Sobriety: “I Am Eternally Grateful”

"Twenty-nine years ago today, I was a broken man."

Music legend and HIV/AIDS activist Elton John took to social media to celebrate an important milestone: his 29th year of sobriety.

This Monday, July 29, John shared an Instagram post of his sobriety token, recalling how difficult it felt to muster up the courage to ask for help nearly 30 years ago.

“Twenty-nine years ago today, I was a broken man,” he wrote. “I finally summoned up the courage to say three words that would change my life: ’I need help’. Thank-you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful.”

John’s impressive rise to stardom—and his struggles with substance abuse—were well-documented in Rocketman, a 2019 biopic about the icon’s whirlwind life and illustrious career starring British actor Taron Egerton.

“Every creative artist does have doubt and has moments of, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Am I good enough?’” the singer-songwriter told Variety in May leading up to Rocketman’s release. “And that’s what turns us into monsters as well because I think you become unreasonable and of course the chemical substances and the alcohol doesn’t help anything, and you lose touch with reality.”

“The life I was leading, flying on the Starship [his legendary private plane], living in beautiful houses, buying things left, right and center—it was not a normal life, not the sort of life I came from anyway,” he added. “I lost complete touch with that. I vowed when I did change my life that that would never happen again.”

Elton, if you’re reading this: Congratulations, and here’s to many more years of health, happiness, and courage.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella