Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan On Hard-Partying Lifestyle, ‘I Don’t Want To Let Susan Down’
Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan reflected on his decision to leave the hard-party habits behind for good during a recent interview with People.
The rocker initially talked about meeting his wife, Susan Holmes, and being a dad later on. Then, he recalled his sobriety journey after struggling with addiction for years. He explained that meeting Susan was the turning point for him and he wouldn’t return to his intense partying ways before becoming sober. He went on to say:
“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. [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.'”
Life After Sobriety
Explaining how things changed in his life and led him to a better path, the bassist added:
“And I look at it, and I go, ‘Not today.’ I have too much goodness in my life, man. At 15, I had this romantic, Norman Rockwell vision of sh*t, and I didn’t think I was going to get there at 27, 28, 29, 30. But some things happened to me that switched my direction in life, and here I am.”
In the earlier part of his conversation, McKagan also revealed how life was for him in the first two years after becoming sober, noting:
“After I got sober, those first two years, I was in martial arts twice a day. I was reading books; I was riding my mountain bike. I was looking in the mirror and trying to figure out who the f*ck I was. Being sober after being f*cked up for so long is like you’re on acid for the first six months. Everything’s so real.”
Alternative Methods To Alcohol
Speaking to Men’s Journal in 2022, the musician shared that he began experiencing panic attacks at 17 and used alcohol to cope. Now, he manages them through various other ways, as he expressed:
“I started getting panic attacks when I was 17. I used to self-medicate with alcohol. These days, I’ve figured out how to get in the right mindset through exercise, eating well, and meditation. Sensei Benny taught me the importance of doing inner work before I go on stage. Before a gig, I put on my bass, then find a small space backstage where I can close my eyes. Everyone in the crew knows the drill, and nobody bothers me for those five minutes. I come out the other side a better bandmate and performer for the crowd.”
The 59-year-old achieved sobriety in his 30s when his pancreas ruptured due to years of alcohol abuse. This incident led McKagan to become sober, yet he later battled an addiction to Xanax, which he initially used for stress relief.