With the success of “Rocketman,” the musical biopic based on his life, Elton John is a hot commodity once again. Still, the Oscar, Grammy and Tony award-winner chose to mark a deeply personal milestone this week: the 29th anniversary of his sobriety.
John acknowledged the occasion Monday on Instagram with a photo of his Alcoholics Anonymous sobriety coin. Underneath he wrote, “29 years ago today, I was a broken man.”
“I finally summoned up the courage to say 3 words that would change my life: ‘I need help,’” he continued, adding that he was “eternally grateful” to those who had helped him on his recovery journey.
John has been upfront about his struggles with addiction throughout the years. His Monday post felt particularly appropriate in the wake of “Rocketman,” which depicted the pop icon’s substance abuse and decision to enter rehab after reaching the zenith of fame in the 1970s and ’80s.
“I am a survivor,” he told Variety in May. “I’ve survived a lot of things. Life is full of pitfalls, even when you’re sober. I can deal with them now because I don’t have to run away and hide.”
John has repeatedly cited his friendship with Ryan White, an Indiana boy who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1990 at age 18, as having been an impetus in his decision to get clean that same year.
“It was one of the greatest things in my life to meet Ryan’s family, to be there the last week to try and help, and then for that wonderful message that he gave me to change my life around,” he told the Associated Press in 2010.
Artistically, John is just as prolific today as ever. In addition to “Rocketman,” this summer saw the release of Disney’s photorealistic “Lion King” reboot, for which he wrote the music.
He’s also at work on a Broadway musical adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada” and will return to the concert stage in September for the third leg of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour.
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