Elton John on how he battled addiction
July 17th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Elton John on how he battled addiction

Elton John says in a new interview that he has the late AIDS activist Ryan White to thank for helping save his life.

The legendary singer told NPR that he decided to stop living so recklessly after he got to know the Indiana teenager, who was a poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States in the 1980s.

White prompted John to get help for substance dependency, a past that still haunts the Brit father of one.

"I still dream, twice a week at least, that I've taken cocaine and I have it up my nose," John told NPR's Steve Inskeep about the days when he was using the drug, which he discusses in a new memoir entitled “Love is the Cure.” "And it's very vivid and it's very upsetting, but at least it's a wake-up call."

He first used cocaine when it was brought into a recording studio in the '70s, and at the time,  "I was so ignorant about drugs and so naive," John said. "I mean, my band was smoking marijuana for years; I didn't even know what a joint was. And I'd never seen a line of cocaine in my life, and I don't know whether it's bravado, or, 'OK, I'll join in,' but, [in] my stupidity, I had a line of coke and that started the whole process."

But after White's death in 1990, John really began to take stock in his own future.

"When I knew Ryan [White], I knew that my life was out of whack,” he said. “I knew that I had to change. And after he died, I realized that I only had two choices: I was either going to die or I was going to live, and which one did I want to do? And then I said those words, 'I'll get help,' or, 'I need help. I'll get help.' And my life turned around."

John said it was White’s example that prompted him to start the Elton John AIDS Foundation after he sought help for his issues. The Elton John Foundation, which he founded in 1992, provides grants to support HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment programs.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Marguerite

    i agree Captain Fantastic..the best..Not sure if anyone remembers "harmony" ... I still love that song to this day. i think Elton John was the first concert i had ever gone too. my uncles said i never took my eyes off the stage for 4 hours..

    July 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. the one...

    great song in his later years, have seen him 2 times, i feel captain fantastic and goodbye yellow brick road were the best albums!...lol

    July 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alden Pulver/Oliver Tyrone Pulver

    Elton is a major star and will handle his addictions.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Felix Thomas Clauss

    Elton is a great star and he will bounce back.

    July 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. majav

    I honestly thought the person in the picture was Sally Jessy Raphael. Shocking to see it was Elton. How is Sally doing anyway? I love her!

    July 18, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Candace Kane

    Elton John is a messed up person . I feel for the child he and his husband adopted. I heard he wanted to adopt another. These people make me sick .

    July 18, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. duh

    doesn't look like he beat it to me- he smokes butt crack and takes beef injections

    July 18, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bob the Janitor

    Seriously...who cares???

    July 18, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. .•|•.

    So if he dreams about doing coke, does he wake up w/his finger up his nose...dreaming it his rolled up $100 bill?

    July 18, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. MOJO

    Eltons one of the all time greats in music...Surprised he still thinks about doing coke...As he put it , he still dreams about it... Ya Ya we all know Elton is gay....ya ya ya...Like everytime theres a story about him you gotta get re-educated in knowing he's gay.....give it a rest ppl....Regardless of what you say here , Elton recorded a song somewhere in time you like.....Give him his due credit.. Let him be gay and drug free... 😉

    July 18, 2012 at 3:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sokman

    Now if he could just cure his addiction for penises

    July 17, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Observer

    Good Vixen is not here as yet!! I CALL FIRST BIDS!!! Elton is MINE I tell ya! He is so dreamy! I dream of him all day long | me rubbing that great big heAd. He can use that big head of his and rub oil all over my body! Starry eyes **

    July 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tigerbos

    tez08 what's the matter, you don't like your own pole being sucked on or a hot beef injection?

    July 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Karen

    My brother abused drugs, did not take his medicine for mental problems. Was gay for years. Left home in the 1990's. Could not locate him, until this year. I found out he has been deceased since 2002 from Advanced Aids. But Elton I am so proud of you and have been listening to your music since the 80's. May God Bless You!

    July 17, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Castillo

      Why would God bless him. I thought he didn't like gay people.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • anthony brown

      I am so sorry for your loss. But also proud of your inspiring message.

      July 18, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rob Parker

    Thank god. We could have lost the greatest musician and his music. RIP Ryan.

    July 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • tez08

      Elton is okay, but in no way the greatest. And still addicted to smoking' pole and hot beef injections.

      July 17, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  16. jesssayin

    This is news? I wanna hear more about Lindsey..

    July 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |

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