Elton John feared he could not perform sober after seeking help for addiction

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 16: Elton John performs live on stage at iHeartRadio ICONS with Elton John: Celebrating The Launch Of Elton John’s Autobiography, "Me" at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on October 16, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Elton John has been sober for 29 years (Credit: Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Sir Elton John has confessed that he worried getting sober would be the end of his career as a performer.

The 72-year-old musician recently celebrated 29 years of sobriety, but he admitted that when he first sought treatment for drink and drug addiction he didn’t think he would be able to return to the stage.

Sir Elton told Variety magazine’s Recovery Issue: “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.

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SUNRISE FL - MARCH 16: Sir Elton John performs during his 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' tour at The BB&T Center on March 16, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. Credit: mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX
Sir Elton John performs during his Farewell Yellow Brick Road in March 2019 (Credit: AP)

“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.”

The I’m Still Standing singer - whose debut album was released in 1970 - revealed he took an entire year off work to focus on his sobriety. But he made one exception - agreeing to perform at a long-standing charity commitment at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, that was scheduled right after he left treatment.

David Furnish, left, and Elton John are seen at the 2012 Music Industry Trusts Award ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in London. (Photo by John Marshall JM Enternational/Invision/AP)
Elton John and his husband David Furish at the Grosvenor House Hotel in 2012 (Credit: AP)

Sir Elton confessed: “I was terrified, but I did manage to get through the performance. In retrospect, I’m glad I went straight in at the deep end. I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of person. That show gave me confidence to know that I could still perform sober.”

The Rocket Man star revealed when he returned to touring he attended Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings around the world, even if her did not speak the language, because they kept him grounded.

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And though he felt trepidation about the effect sobriety might have on his ability, he felt encouraged to find he could still write songs, starting work on The Lion King soundtrack just a few years afterwards.