Elton John considered retirement after overcoming his substance abuse issues as he feared he would not be able to perform sober.
Writing in Variety magazine’s Recovery Issue, the “Rocket Man” singer details how he was so determined to quit drink and drugs when he hit rock bottom in 1990 that he committed to quitting music for a year.
Following his decision to attend Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, he feared he would be unable to go back to being a rock star.
“After I finally surrendered and decided to seek treatment for my addiction, there came a point when I wondered if I would ever go back to work as Elton John again,” he explains.
“But at that time, I wasn’t thinking too much about being an artist. I had reached the lowest ebb in my life – the absolute bottom. I hated myself so much. I was consumed with shame. All I wanted to do was get well. I put all of the energy I had left toward my recovery.”
He describes his “smartest move” as clearing his diary to get clean – but had agreed to do one charity gig at Grosvenor House in London he did not want to back out of.
Elton was frightened to get back on stage, but credits playing the gig with convincing himself he could return to music when he was ready.
“When the day arrived, I was terrified, but I did manage to get through the performance. It was the only time I stepped on a stage that year, and I had to do it on my own without the band,” he explains. “In retrospect, I’m glad I went straight in at the deep end… That show gave me confidence to know that I could still perform sober.”
After he had completed treatment, the 72-year-old star found he could still write music and returned with his 1992 album “The One”, and began working on his Oscar-winning contribution to “The Lion King” soundtrack.