Why Tom Waits Quit Drinking
Written by TJ Dawe
Tom Waits has been sober for fifteen years now. He told the Guardian about it in 2006, saying:
“Oh, you know, it was tough. I went to AA. I’m in the program. I’m clean and sober. Hooray. But, it was a struggle.”
Does he miss it?
“Nah. Not the way I was drinking. No, I’m happy to be sober. Happy to be alive. I found myself in some places I can’t believe I made it out of alive.”
Has sobriety affected his creative process?
“No. I don’t think so. I mean, one is never completely certain when you drink and do drugs whether the spirits that are moving through you are the spirits from the bottle or your own. And, at a certain point, you become afraid of the answer. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps people from getting sober, they’re afraid to find out that it was the liquor talking all along.
“I was trying to prove something to myself, too. It was like, ‘Am I genuinely eccentric? Or am I just wearing a funny hat? What am I made of? What’s left when you drain the pool?'”