I’m not a drug addict anymore, which is one thing. Lots of people would say, “Isn’t that great. He must be so happy.” If you talk to any recovering addict, when you’re not sort of sedating yourself all the time, it’s like, “Yes, my world has opened up like a flower. Yes, I can be much happier. Yes I feel like I have a new lease on life. Yes, my relationships are more substantial.” At the same time, the things that I used opiates as a crutch for—I have more anxiety now. When I do get depressed, I can’t just instantly get high and swat it away. I have to work through it. Many people have called me up to say “I’m proud of you,” but, at the same time, I know inside that it’s terrifying. I don’t know that I’ve ever been as terrified as this.
For everything that’s wonderful about not using drugs, there is also the reality that you used them for a reason. You fall in love with a certain drug because it’s working in some ways. I used it for a long time for essentially positive reasons—to do things I couldn’t on my own. But now I want to do those things on my own. For example, we played the other day at Outside Lands Festival here in San Francisco. I’ve played so many festivals over the past five, six years, but I found myself absolutely terrified, and my hands were shaking. I had stage fright like never before. It was shocking and hard to deal with, but then I went up and played the show, and it was good. It was also that much better. It’s just a double-edged sword: all this happiness and sobriety.”