Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody has revealed he suffered from depression and alcoholism and is grateful to have had great people around him who helped him get healthy.
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has revealed he has been struggling with depression and alcoholism but is now two years' sober.
The 41-year-old singer has admitted that he spent five of the last seven years ''pretty much drinking solidly'' and when he was at his lowest with depression he ''didn't want to go any further'', but he is thankful that those closest to him stepped in to get him help.
And it is his battle with the booze and mental health issues that are the reason for their being seven years between Snow Patrol's last LP 'Fallen Empires' and new album 'Wildness' - which comes out in May.
Speaking to Jo Whiley about the upcoming record on UK station BBC Radio Two, he shared: ''It's been a while, it's seven years since our last album but it's nice ... This record took a lot to make, not just time-wise but it took a lot out of me and I gave everything to it, so I couldn't be more proud of it, I could talk about it until the cows come home. I wanted it to be right and it wasn't right until recently, the music had been written a while, but the lyrics took a lot longer, just a lot, lot longer. I wanted to delve deeper than I'd ever done before and talk about things I've never spoken about before and some of it is heavy stuff but I don't think the album feels like a heavy record I think the album is quite a hopeful record ... It comes from quite a lot of kind of heavy soul searching, like depression that I've suffered with from I was a kid, I never really spoke about that before, my father's dementia, he's had dementia for a few years now, my alcoholism and that I am sober now for two years, and am able to speak about it with clarity and with hope. ''I'm actually talking about these things in a way I've tried to deal with them positively and hopefully people can hear that in the record.''
Gary - who is from Bangor in Northern Ireland - admits it was ''very hard'' for him to quit alcohol but he has managed to go teetotal with the aid of a therapist and the use of acupuncture and meditation.
He said: ''Stopping drinking, that was very hard for me, it was a crutch, I didn't have to think about anything when I was drunk. I didn't do any rehab but I did what Irish people find very difficult to do and I found very difficult to do and I saw a therapist who was very helpful ... I've had acupuncture for many years now and I'm a big believer in it as well, my acupuncturist in LA is the most amazing person and friend of mine who more than anyone I think helped me out of it, she also taught me how to meditate ... The last time I was on tour, I didn't drink that much because my voice would go when I drank, so when I was on tour I wasn't too bad but it was when I was off tour and again seven years since the last album so pretty much five of those were spent pretty much drinking solidly.''
Gary has nothing but gratitude to his friends and loved ones who helped him in his quest to get sober and also when he reached rock bottom with his depression - which he has suffered with since he was a teenager.
Candidly talking about his bouts of depression, he said: ''When it hits me it takes so much, and I'm sure that's the same with everyone and people are incapacitated ... The only thing that worked for me in the end was reaching out to people, plenty of people reached out to me to try and find me in my darkness, bless their hearts for doing that, it means a lot to me now but at the time I felt hurried, I wanted to stay in the place I was in. But it's not something that's every day, it comes and goes ... I think when I got to my lowest I realised I didn't want to go any further and I think sometimes you have to get to your lowest, where your ground is and then you have to climb out. So then it was really reaching out to friends and they helped pull me out of it. I had people to turn to, not everyone has that, I'm very lucky.''
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