Billy Joel: Depression, Drinking Caused by 9/11


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Just over one decade ago, singer Billy Joel entered rehab for a drinking problem. He followed that up with trip to the Betty Ford Center in 2005. Now, Joel is opening up about his depression, his drinking, and why he was using alcohol to self-medicate.

In a new interview with the New York Times, the New York native told the newspaper that he used to drink during difficult times in his life, such as during his multiple divorces. He stated that he would use alcohol as a medication for his depression. Joel admitted he would drink scotch, or vodka when things got really bad, and that he still occasionally has a glass of wine.

Of his trips to rehab, Joel said he doesn't "subscribe to 12-step stuff" and that he believes he simply "overdid it" sometimes. He emphasized that his multiple car accidents in the early 00s were not drinking-related and that he has never had a DUI. Instead, he said that he was in "kind of a mental fog" and a "deep, deep depression" brought on by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Joel, from the interview:

"9/11 just knocked the wind out of me, and I don’t know even now if I’ve recovered from it. It really, really hurt that man could do that to man. And then there was a breakup with somebody, and it took me a while to get me back on my feet again."