According to The Fountain Hills Times, MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson spoke to students at Fountain Hills High School in Fountain Hills, Arizona in two lunchtime assemblies March 25 as part of outreach efforts by Teen Addiction Anonymous and Fountain Hills Coalition. The musician talked about his unsuccessful attempts at rehab, as well as his recovery. Ellefson, who has been studying to become a Lutheran pastor, ultimately turned to faith as his method of solving his drug addiction.
"I was 15 when I started drinking," he told the audience, according to The Fountain Hills Times. "I started smoking pot when I was 16, and just followed that with cocaine and heroin."
He continued: "Heroin is an insidious and sneaky drug. And I was completely strung out on it."
According to Ellefson, he finally hit rock bottom after he had been in rehab three times. "And I said, 'Lord, please help me,'" he said.
"When I finally hit that bottom, I woke up the next day, and I didn't do drugs and I didn't drink," he said. "And I didn't on day two, or on day three. And now I am 24 years sober. But it is one day at a time."
Ellefson did his best to discourage the students from dabbling in drugs and alcohol, saying: "You don't know if you are going to take a drink, then get in the car to drive home and kill somebody, or kill yourself, but it happens. And you don't know if smoking pot one time isn't going to lead to more. But I can tell you this: the best way to be absolutely sure is to just not start. Just don't start."
He added: "[Addiction is] kind of a funny thing. Addiction is a lie. It likes to get you alone because when you are alone, that addiction will talk to you and try to take you back to it. And addiction, while it can make you feel unique, completely takes away our uniqueness. We're like any other junkie. Using alcohol and drugs is an equalizer. We just blend in. So the best part of us goes away."
Ellefson's memoir, "My Life With Deth", was made available on October 29, 2013 via Howard Books. It chronicles the story of Ellefson's fall into addiction during the band's early years, followed by his subsequent recovery and the return to faith which championed the band's rise to fame over the past several decades. The book features contributions from Kerry King (SLAYER), Scott Ian (ANTHRAX), Ellefson's current bandmate in MEGADETH Shawn Drover and also former colleagues Chris Poland and Marty Friedman.