Partially Sober Green Day

Billie Joe ArmstrongRock stars and drug abuse. Sadly they tend to go hand-in-hand, and Green Day frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong is another example.

In September 2012, Billie had a breakdown while on stage with his band at the iHeartRadio festival in Las Vegas. He has since come out to candidly talk about his experience with addiction and with drug rehab.

Armstrong has been battling substance abuse since 1997. He made attempts to quit using before, but he could never sustain abstinence for very long. Before the iHeartRadio festival, he had stopped using all narcotics, so Billie explains that the breakdown was because he was going through the difficult process of withdrawal. The symptoms, in his words, left him, “laying on the bathroom floor and just feeling like…I didn’t realize how much that stuff affected me. And it’s not the stuff that is immediately in your system. It goes back to how long you’ve been using. It was working its way out.”

After the event, Billie knew he needed drug rehab, but he opted to go through it at home. There is not a chemical dependency counselor in the world who would recommended drug rehab at home for an addict who had been using all sorts of drugs for over a decade. Billie was determined to go through the process on his own though, with medical staff coming to his house daily to monitor his progress.

Billie’s addiction is stronger than his own mind though. As is true for all addicts, a part of the brain justifies decisions that seem to make things “easier” but in the long-run will not help in keeping you clean. Billie recognizes the addict component of his brain when he says, “The sick part of it is I wanted to get all of the narcotics out of my system so I could start drinking. But that’s the insanity of the whole thing. You make excuses. You rationalize.”

Billie Joe Armstrong’s choice to detox at home and not participate in a formal drug rehab program may add him to the list of famous addicts who perpetually relapse. His job requires him to be among people using alcohol and drugs, whether its his band or his fans, he will be exposed to people using while on tour and while hosting events.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, Billie has been sober since September 2012, so he is coming up on a year. Can he sustain his sobriety without the proven success of formal drug rehab? Only time will tell.

 photo credit: Summer M. Austin

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