Sir Elton John believes he'd be dead if he didn't have his music.
The 68-year-old singer admits his excessive drug taking would have killed him if he hadn't also kept recording and performing.
He said: "I was still working and listening and making records, which kept me alive. I didn't suddenly take three years off and sit in my room taking coke otherwise I wouldn't be here now. I worked through it."
The 'Benny and the Jets' hitmaker recalled a night he realised he had a real problem but admits he made things worse for himself by being too "stubborn" to ask for help.
He said: "I think one of the nights I remember I was sitting in a hotel and I played 'Don't Give Up' by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush and 'Lost Soul' by Bruce Hornsby and then I played 'The Enigma Variations' and I just cried and cried and cried because I thought, 'You're so ill, you're so sick, you want to live' and I went, 'Yeah of course I want to live'.
"I knew I had a problem and even though I was crying, music helped me get through that, I was drowning in my own tears but it was helping me make me realise that I did have a problem.
"The only problem with me is I'm so stubborn and I couldn't ask for help and when I did ask for help everything changed immediately. But 16 years, I couldn't say those three years."
The turning point came for Elton when 18-year-old Ryan White - who contracted HIV from a contaminated blood transfusion - passed away in 1990 and he realised he had hit "rock bottom" and had to change.
He recalled in a radio interview: "It was really when Ryan White died and I spent a week in Indianapolis that I realised I'd reached rock bottom, I looked dreadful, I was so overweight. I was just completely at rock bottom then and six months later I was in rehab.
"I thought, 'This boy has had AIDS, he's had it since he was 11 or 12, he's never complained to anybody, he's been so incredible, his family are incredible and I go back to the hotel suite... that's probably the nadir. Six months later I was clean.
"I always say a big thank you to him and his family because through life and death they showed there was more to life than what I was doing, I was so ashamed and disgusted with myself."