Pursuing a music career brought Elton John “joy and material abundance beyond [his] wildest dreams,” he wrote in an essay published by the World Economic Forum.
“But once I attained these bounties, I began to lose them and, even worse, I began to lose myself,” he continued. “My essential humanity began to dissolve into an excess of drugs and alcohol. Fame, which at first sight looks like a blessing, soon revealed itself as also a curse. I am afraid I reacted very badly. I became a loathsome person — selfish, self-centred and disconnected.”
John emerged from this period after meeting a young man named Ryan White, who had AIDS, as well as his mother, Jeanne.
“Their ability to cope with real adversity helped inspire me to turn my own life around,” John wrote. “Ryan White was the spark that helped me recover from my addictions.”
The performer received a Crystal Award in Davos last week for his work against HIV/AIDS through his foundation.
“There is never a straight line to success,” John wrote, “and there wasn’t for me.”