Elton John feared he wouldn’t be able to perform sober after addiction treatment

"When the day arrived, I was terrified."

Elton John has revealed how he feared he wouldn’t be able to perform sober after taking a year-long break to seek treatment for addiction.

The ‘Rocketman’ icon attended extensive Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 1990, but admitted he struggled with returning to the stage.

He told Variety’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.


“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.”

Elton John's new US tour dates have ruled him out of performing at Glastonbury 2020
Elton John

Elton explained: “When the day arrived, I was terrified, but I did manage to get through the performance. It was the only time I stepped on a stage that year, and I had to do it on my own without the band. In retrospect, I’m glad I went straight in at the deep end… That show gave me confidence to know that I could still perform sober.”

In order to maintain his new-found sobriety, Elton also attended AA and NA meetings while touring across the globe. He even visited local groups in countries where he didn’t speak the native language, in a bid to feel “grounded”.

This comes after Elton discussed his battles with drugs and alcohol in recent memoir ‘Me’. The book sees him recalling the time he hijacked a Rolling Stones show while high on cocaine, as well as the moment when he mistook Bob Dylan for his gardener while high – describing him as “scruffy”.


Last month, it was also seemingly confirmed that Elton will not play Glastonbury next year, after newly announced farewell tour dates in the US seemingly clashed with the Worthy Farm festival.