‘It’s A Really Dark Place’: Guns N’ Roses Star Reveals The Depths Of His Addiction

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Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan told People he didn’t think he’d live past his mid 20s when he was in the depths of his struggle with addiction.

The famous musician candidly discussed his challenges, and credited his wife for being the reason he maintains his sobriety today. He spoke about being hospitalized for acute alcohol-induced pancreatitis at the age of 30, in 1994, and explained what a rude awakening it was.

“I wasn’t planning on living past 30 at that point,” he told People.


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McKagan explained his state of mind at the time.

“I wasn’t headed toward a long life at all. Not to be morose, but that’s just the truth,” he said. “I’d gotten used to people dying, and when you get used to it and you’re using, it’s a really dark place.”

The famous bassist said he started using drugs and alcohol as an adult to cope with panic attacks he had suffered since the age of 16.

“I figured out that half a bottle of vodka would kill a panic attack,” he told People.


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“The problem is when you start drinking and then doing drugs, there’s so much sugar and alcohol and no sleeping, so you’re going to have more panic attacks. So guess what? I self-medicated more and more,” he said, as he explained the vicious cycle.

By the time he was 26, McKagan came to a massive realization.

“I’m addicted to so many things,” he recalled realizing at the time.

“It wasn’t part of my plan when I was 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 to become addicted. I tried to stop. I would say, ‘I’ll stop next week. Once we’re done with this tour. In a month I’ll do something.’ I would try to stop it, but I was really just too far gone by the time I was 29. It was dark,” he said.


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During his hospitalization, doctors reportedly told McKagan that he would die within a month’s time if he didn’t stop drinking. He realized he had to make a change, and abruptly cut alcohol out of his life.

The famous artist said he turned to martial arts in attempt to maintain his sobriety, and found the love of his life — his wife, Susan. (RELATED: ‘I Wouldn’t Have Dated Him’: Denise Richards Dishes The Dirt On Charlie Sheen’s Addiction Issues)

“Meeting Susan made me solidify that I ain’t going back ever because I don’t want to let this woman down, who I cherish. I ain’t going to let her down. I’m not going to let [my kids] down,” he said.

“[The alcohol] sitting there on the shelf over across the room right across from me is going, ‘Come on, come on.’ Every day: ‘Come on.’ And I look at it and I go, ‘Not today.’ I have too much goodness in my life, man,” McKagan told People.