Billy Idol on His Drug Battle: ‘Addicts, We’re Very Clever’
Billy Idol said he was “not 100 percent” over his drug addiction issues, despite years of working to develop “discipline.” He recalled his 1990 motorcycle accident, which took place while he was under the influence, and said it was the starting point of his gradual recovery.
“I’d had the motorcycle accident because I was a drug addict, and I had to cure that. And it took a long time,” Idol recently told Zane Low on Apple Music 1. “I mean, I'm not 100 percent. I stopped the hard stuff, and I don't drink much - things like that. I had to solve this problem about myself with the drug addiction, and that's what was happening to me in the hospital bed – I was kind of realizing I was going to face up to the thing that I hadn't quite faced up [to] that had been kind of ruling my life for about 10 years.”
He said he’s managed to “develop some kind of discipline,” which included avoiding those involved with hard drugs. "Thank God I got away from it because, yeah, I would probably be dead," he explained. "I'd be dead right now or in prison. ... Drug addicts, we're very clever. We're not going to let you know; we're going to hide it. We're going to lie to you. We're not going to tell you the truth. We're going to lie, lie, lie, lie, lie. So, that's the problem with drug addiction: We're not being honest about it. Hiding it and doing it in secret, trying to get away with it.”
Idol went on to criticize the pharmaceutical industry, saying there was a “horrendous relationship between the system that provides the drugs and the addict who needs them – because it's not just the addicts keeping the secret, trust me.”
That’s one of the reasons he’s become involved with the MusiCares program, which includes providing support for musicians with drug issues. “My question out of that is: Do you find yourself in a position where you support others, given what you've been through and what you've experienced?” he asked. “Have you found yourself on the other end of the conversation, trying to help others go through it because you've ridden back into town and you've survived it? … Hopefully, that's something that will help musicians – they can go to this foundation and ask for help if they really want to clean up.”