“Junkie of the Year Award.” It’s what Mike Inez of the band Alice in Chains jokingly calls the Stevie Ray Vaughan award, a music award that has often gone to current or ex-junkies in the past few years and was recently awarded to his band mate, Jerry Cantrell – also an ex-junkie.
At the eighth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit, Cantrell received the award, and in his acceptance speech, he mentioned his struggle to remain clean and sober after years spent living with an active addiction.
Said Cantrell: “It’s been an amazing day. It’s overwhelming. I’m as imperfect as they come. I just don’t get high today, and wake up the next morning and try and do the same thing.”
According to Rolling Stone magazine, Cantrell has been sober for nine years, having made it through some times that Ann Wilson, of the band Heart, describes as “dark.”
Wilson told Rolling Stone: “This is a triumphant night because things have been very dark. We’ve all hit different kinds of bottom and been there for each other, trying to help each other. ‘Send money,’ or, ‘We need people with cars that are not drunk to drive.’ All of those things that you can think of, we probably had it all.”
Cantrell experienced the loss that often characterizes drug addiction firsthand, losing two band mates – Mike Starr and Layne Staley – to overdoses.
Said Cantrell to Rolling Stone: “A lot of people stand and get the f*** back up after falling. Some people don’t get that chance. My band’s been a harsh example of that – what happens when you don’t deal with it. We really miss Layne and Mike, and we carry them with us in our hearts.”
It can be devastating to lose someone you care about to a drug overdose – but if you are living with an active addiction, it can be the wakeup call that gets you to recognize just how deadly addiction can be and the risks that you take with every hit.
MusiCares is working to raise funds to help people get the addiction treatment help they need – before drug overdose strikes. If drug dependence is a problem for you or someone you care about, don’t allow an overdose to take it all away. Contact us at to discuss your future in recovery. Call now.