Belfast Telegraph

Armstrong reveals 17-year alcoholism struggle

Billie Joe Armstrong has opened up about his 17-year struggle with alcoholism and drugs, revealing his drug taking has involved him “snorting methamphetamine,” and “waking up in parks after blackouts

The Green Day singer told Rolling Stone magazine his early drug taking involved him partaking in activities like “snorting methamphetamine,” “bad tattoos” and “scarification.”

Now clean and sober, Billie Joe spoke following completion of a 30-day treatment programme after his onstage breakdown in Las Vegas in September 2012.

The singer said his drug use started before Green Day became a band, when he was living with the group’s drummer Tre Cool in Berkeley, California.

“We would be at a party at someone’s house,” he said. “Someone would have speed, and we’d do it. Then I would start writing songs when I got home.

“It wasn’t a necessity - the song was already there. The courage was what I needed.”

Acknowledging they named themselves Green Day because “we were total potheads,” Billie Joe also said the three-piece have also “always been drinkers.”

Before going onstage Billie Joe revealed he would have “anywhere from two to six beers and a couple of shots,” before drinking the rest of the night on the tour bus.

“Fall asleep, wake up the next day, feel like s**t, do sound-check…it was over and over again,” he admitted. “In that way, I was a functioning alcoholic.”

According to the magazine, his dark days of addiction included “having numerous meltdowns onstage and waking up in parks after blackouts.”

But after “trying to get sober since 1997,” the last straw came following his meltdown on the Las Vegas stage, which he attributes to prescription medication “for anxiety and sleep,” combined with drinking.

Nowadays, despite admitting to an “obsession for alcohol,” Billie Joe said he is committed to sobriety and is achieving it by “meditation through prayer” along with meetings and common sense.

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