Joe Walsh: My Life in 15 Songs

Guitar legend looks back on more than 40 years of music and mayhem with James Gang, Eagles and beyond

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"One Day at a Time" (2012)

For a long time my alcoholism and use of drugs was manageable. By that I mean I would hang out with people and they would say, "Well, you're not so bad!" But you know, it is a disease and the last two or three years of [my addiction] were terrifying. It gets bad beyond your wildest imagination and then you crash and burn and then it gets worse than that. An awful lot of my buddies died before they hit bottom. I hit bottom before I died.

Getting sober was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Because alcohol had convinced me that I couldn't do anything without it. And they say "one day at a time," but really it's one thing at a time. You start with not knowing how to do anything sober and you just build up your toolbox. For a long time I thought there was a possibility I might not be able to write music sober. And I said, "If that's the case I'm just going to have to accept that." So I stopped trying to write, and one day this song kind of wrote itself. I ended up telling my story about what it was like to be an addict, and my road to getting sober. It just came out of me. But the trick was I had to stop trying. And so many addicts and alcoholics have contacted me to say they know exactly what I'm talking about in this song. I'm saying there's life after addiction and it is good.

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