Metallica‘s James Hetfield has faced his battles with addiction. In 2001, the singer entered rehab during the recording of the heavy metal band’s St. Anger to combat against “alcohol and other addictions”; Hetfield’s struggles at the time were documented in the film Some Kind of Monster. Since kicking his habits, Hetfield has become a supporter of organizations like Road Recovery, a non-profit that helps young people battle addiction.
In an interview with Road Recovery (via Revolver), Hetfield reveals how addiction nearly ruined his life and his relationships. “You wouldn’t really like me if you knew my story, if you knew what horrible things I’ve done,” Hetfield tells Road Recovery.
“I’m coming to grips with that, ’cause I have groups of people that I’m able to share all my horrible stuff with. Shameful, extremely shameful, dark stuff. Some of it is things I’ve taken from my parents and carried it a little further. Other ones, I’ve been able to drop some of that. Other ones I’ve picked up on my own and created. Shame’s a big thing for me.”
While Hetfield entered rehab for seven months to fight against his dependencies, he credits another outlet with ultimately keeping him clean. “Playing music saves my life. Every day it saves my life,” Hetfield said. “When I’m able to write a riff, write some lyrics, stuff like that. It’s a way I connect with the world.”
In another video with Road Recovery, Hetfield talks about his need to seek validation from the fans is “an incredible drug that will fuck you up”: