Photo: Daniel DeSlover / Sipa / USA Today

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea Comes Clean About the Horrors of Addiction in New Essay

February 26, 2018

By Scott T. Sterling

Flea knows all about drug addiction.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist has opened up about his battles with drugs in a bracing new essay penned for Time magazine.

“I’ve been around substance abuse since the day I was born,” Flea shared in the piece. “All the adults in my life regularly numbed themselves to ease their troubles, and alcohol or drugs were everywhere, always. I started smoking weed when I was eleven, and then proceeded to snort, shoot, pop, smoke, drop and dragon chase my way through my teens and twenties.”

Flea goes on to detail the ravages of living with addiction, and how it took becoming a father to finally give him the strength to get clean and sober.

“I didn’t get clean through rehab or a 12-step program. I believe wholeheartedly in organizations like AA, but that was not my path,” the bassist revealed. “What worked for me was learning that the best way to grow is to consciously experience the hard times. I had a burning desire for good health and love, and found that I had to go through periods of suffering to get there. That realization was not easy, but it freed me up to have faith in myself.”

Flea then turns his attention to the growing culture of addiction that’s afflicting America, placing blame squarely on the shoulders of the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

“Many who are suffering today were introduced to drugs through their healthcare providers. When I was a kid, my doctor would give me a butterscotch candy after a checkup. Now, they’re handing out scripts. It’s hard to beat temptation when the person supplying you has a fancy job and credentials and it’s usually bad advice not to trust them.”

He details his own experience with prescription drugs after breaking his arm snowboarding.

“My doctor put me back together perfectly, and thanks to him I can still play bass with all my heart,” Flea wrote. “But he also gave me two-month supply of Oxycontin. The bottle said to take four each day. I was high as hell when I took those things. It not only quelled my physical pain, but all my emotions as well. I only took one a day, but I was not present for my kids, my creative spirit went into decline and I became depressed. I stopped taking them after a month, but I could have easily gotten another refill.”

Read Flea’s moving essay here.