MÖTLEY CRÜE bassist Nikki Sixx, who celebrated the 19th anniversary of his getting sober in July, was asked in a new interview with Forbes when he first realized it was cool to live his life alcohol-free. He replied: "I know it doesn't make fans happy to say I don't really care about being in a band. That's really not my life purpose. This is my life purpose. Being in a band is fun. And, for me, it's just a way to express myself. But I also paint, I write poetry, short stories, books.
"I don't define myself by this thing of being a rock star, which is fake by the way," he continued. "There is no such thing as a rock star. I define myself by what I'm gonna do after I die.
"No one's going to be listening to MÖTLEY CRÜE going, 'That guy made a difference.' They're gonna be maybe going, 'That guy raised tens of millions of dollars for people and helped open up organizations to pop culture, to legislation, to getting it into schools, getting the stigma diminished or erased.' And it's why I left Los Angeles; it's a fucking cesspool of narcissism. I needed to get out there and move to Wyoming, where I've got hundreds of acres and I just think about what I want to do, because if I'm gonna talk to somebody, I want to talk to somebody about something important. I don't really want talk about what we did on the jet in 1987. That's come and gone. What are we really doing here? And that's what I'm really doing here."
Sixx struggled with substance abuse for years and was even supposedly declared clinically dead after a heroin overdose in 1987 made his heart stop for two minutes. He has since become actively involved in a recovery "program," which he credits for helping him transform his life and relationships.
"By letting go of self and ego, working a program that connects you to a higher power and giving back to those still struggling are just some of the important things you learn through sobriety," Sixx wrote when he celebrated nine years of sobriety in July 2013. "You get to repair the damage done from drink, drugs and horrific behaviors (that broke people's hearts who loved you."
The rocker, who detailed his near-fatal drug addiction in the best-selling book "The Heroin Diaries", added: "For me, taking away the substance just gave [me] an honest view of who I had become and then the healing started. I do believe without any program to help, many are just dry drunks and there is always a danger of them going out again. I've been there. It's not pretty. This is no joking matter to me, so I take it seriously."
Asked by The Guardian about a diary entry in "The Heroin Diaries" where he described himself as an "alcoholic heroin and coke addict getting into pills" and how he spent Christmas Day 1986 naked under the Christmas tree, clutching a shotgun, Nikki said: "Well, if you shoot enough cocaine, you go into a kind of psychosis, and I believed people were coming to get me. Scary place, let me tell you. It reads like some kind of a dark horror story or bedtime thriller. But in real life, the trauma that psychosis puts your body through is on a cellular level. You believe that you're going to have an experience even though it’s not really happening. I can remember those, because you come out of them, and it's scary. But you can only imagine what it would be like to be insane and not come out of it, or a version of that, like dementia."
Sixx is not the only member of MÖTLEY CRÜE who has battled alcohol addiction. Singer Vince Neil's 1984 drunk-driving accident killed HANOI ROCKS drummer Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley and seriously injured two others. He spent 15 days in jail and received five years probation.
"It was rough for everybody after that accident," Neil told USA Today last year. "I tried to stay sober for a few years, but it's tough when there's no support system around you. They were still doing coke and drinking and carrying on, and I just couldn't be a part of it."
Earlier this month, MÖTLEY CRÜE drummer Tommy Lee revealed that before he got sober nearly a year ago, he was "drinking two gallons" of vodka on a daily basis.
"I didn't notice it until towards the end of it, when I was, like, 'Oh dude, I've got to stop,'" he said in a video interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. "Like, I was drinking just out of boredom. I would just wake up and be just building, just all vodka and just a little eyedropper of cranberry or lemonade. I was drinking two gallons — not pints, not quarts, but gallons, the big-handles."