Travis Barker: Drummer Extraordinaire Caught in the Grips of Pharmaceutical drugs
With the opioid crisis entering all facets of American society, it should not be any surprise that even the most unlikely people get hooked. Recently, Travis Barker of Blink-182 fame opened up about his drug addiction in a tell-all interview with Billboard to promote his published memoirs. Barker’s life spiraled out of control after he and friend DJ AM were the sole survivors of a tragic plane crash that killed four other close friends of Barker, only to find acceptance, peace and sobriety years later.
Barker had struggled with mental illness before the crash. Bi-polar disorder was something he had to live with and possibly self-medicated as a way of living with it. After the crash, he found himself also struggling with survivor’s guilt and PTSD. He felt medicating himself was the only way that he could function. “My attitude was like, ‘Shit, I could be dead tomorrow.’” He also confessed that his upbringing was rough and he felt drugs at the time were the perfect escape, but his real desire to get clean and sober was the birth of his two children. “I grew up losing my mom at a young age, being shot at at a young age. Doing lots of drugs. If it was my time, it was my time, but then it wasn’t until when I had my kids — everything changed. Then it was like, Oh my gosh, what did I put in my body? What did I do that for?”
Barker had a morning ritual that involved smoking many blunts and taking a deadly concoction of opiates. He told Billboard that he was completely unable to get out of bed without the drugs. As Barker came to a point where he simply could not function without drugs, his disease progressively got deadlier and his life unmanageable. “I was so addicted to Oxycodone, and I had a security that would actually sleep during the day and then stay up at night to make sure I was breathing. That was pretty pathetic. My bones were so brittle from so much painkiller use,” Barker’s disease had advanced so much that he could no longer perform his job and was thinking about suicide. On a 2004 tour with Blink-182, Barker had to quit two days into the tour to get help. At the time Barker sought recovery and considered this to be his true rock bottom.
Unfortunately, things took and even darker turn for Barker when a plane crash took the lives of many of his close friends. Only Barker and his best friend Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein survived. Barker, still recovering from the crash with burns on 65% of his body, was forced to be on morphine for over four months. Barker went into a severe depression and suffered from survivor’s guilt. Only a year later his friend DJ AM passed away from a suspected drug overdose. Barker was devastated by the loss, he wondered if there was anything he could do and wondered if he was on the same path.
However, this was the beginning of the end for Barker. The doctors soon told him that at the rate he was going, with his extensive injuries that he would be on these pills for the rest of his life and he would probably never play drums again. At that moment Barker knew that he had to stop, for his kids, for his life and his career. He became extremely grateful for his sobriety, being clearheaded for the first time in many years. “Once I was clear-headed, and I hadn’t been clear-headed in so long, I was like, I can never go back. And I’m still thankful,” he said.
Barker said that getting sober has helped him grow and function more responsibly. He looks back on his choices with a tinge of regret, he said “I was just a punk taking so many pills” but hopefully his new memoir “Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death and Drums, Drums, Drums” Where he details his struggles through addiction, surviving cancer and divorce may help others with problems they may be facing in their own lives.
To this day, Barker is enjoying 8 years sober, He credits his success in recovery to his children. “I loved being a father. I want to stay home with my kids“ and may be the happiest he’s been in a while. Barker, so committed to his sobriety, continued his sobriety after cancer cells were discovered in his throat. He knew that not matter what, for himself and for the people that he loved that he had to stay sober. ”I still question myself sometimes — even though I did smoke before I go to sleep, I’d be like, do I need this? Am I addicted to it? Is it like one more thing I have to hide from my kids or be disappointed in myself about? Once I was clear-headed, and I hadn’t been clear-headed in so long, I was like, I can never go back. And I’m still thankful.” To this day, Barker stays active in his recovery, he is a single father of three and recently began a relationship with Rita Ora.
What we see with Travis Barker is all too common and as fans and members of the recovery community, SoberTimes is extremely grateful that Travis Barker has found his peace, serenity and drive in sobriety. Thanks for all the great years of music from Blink-182 to the aqua bats, from +44 to TRV$DJAM! Sober Times wishes you the best!
If you have any struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, there is hope. Don’t hesitate to call SoberTimes to get connected with the drug and alcohol recovery community in Colorado today.