U2 BASSIST Adam Clayton has thanked his friends and bandmates for helping him quit alcohol and achieve his “full potential”.
The 57-year-old opened up about his recovery from addiction in a speech at a MusiCares MAP Fund concert in New York.
The Irishman was honoured on stage with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his work for the charity, which helps musicians recovering from addiction.
Chatting to the audience, Clayton joked: “I’m not used to achieving anything on my own,” before adding: “I’m an alcoholic, addict, but in some ways that devastating disease is what drove me towards this wonderful life I now have.
“It’s just that I couldn’t take my friend alcohol. At some point I had to leave it behind and claim my full potential.”
Clayton said that he used to think it was impossible to “be in a band and not drink.
“It is so much a part of our culture,” he said. “Because we work at night, we go out at night. We live at night, we do business at night.
“I thought my life would be over, but two heroes of mine were there for me and it meant a great deal to me that they tried to convince me otherwise.”
Clayton said it was his idol and fellow musician Eric Clapton that first told him to seek help.
“After two particularly destructive benders, Eric Clapton was there on the end of the phone. He didn't sugar-coat it. He told me that I had to change my life and that I wouldn't regret it.
“He gave me the number of a treatment centre and the power to give a call to them. Once I was going through that five-week program Pete Townshend visited me and again put steel on my back.
“These two talents were enough to get me started and convince me my life wasn't over, but that I was at the start of a long journey to learn to love myself,” he said.
Clayton also credited “three friends” – bandmates Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr – with supporting him through his recovery.
“I was lucky because I had three friends who could see what was going on and who loved me enough to take up the slack of my failings,” he added.
“Bono, The Edge and Larry truly supported me before and after I entered recovery and I am unreservedly grateful for their friendship, understanding and support.”
Clayton gave up alcohol after being too inebriated to perform during a concert in Australia in 1993.
U2 played three songs after his speech – Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, Vertigo and I Will Follow.