FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH bassist Chris Kael celebrated his 76th day of sobriety on Saturday, April 21, telling KLAQ‘s Lisa Sanchez that he hasn’t had a drink or done drugs in almost three months.
“I was going through about an eight-ball of cocaine a week,” Kael admitted at this past weekend’s Las Rageous festival in Las Vegas, Nevada (see video below). “That got to be the biggest problem for me. That and depression, the two things, were not good. I didn’t realize it until I got into rehab that I was self-medicating with cocaine to get my dopamine levels up to fight the depression. I never even thought about that. And then when you come off it, you crash hard.”
Saying that he is “one line away from falling off the wagon,” Chris admitted that “every day is a struggle to get things through,” but he confirmed that “it’s much better now” than it was earlier in his sobriety.
According to the bassist, the hardest thing for him to adjust to was being at home after spending so much time on tour with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. “The downtime was real rough for me, because, hell, I’d been off since December of last year; we got off the road in December,” he said. “So normally, I was bartending, I had an everyday job, something to do, going to the gym, this and this. And when I got home from this [last tour], I was, like, ‘What do I do? Do I wanna try to figure out something to do? Or do I wanna spend eight hours doing blow and watching Netflix? I’m gonna do blow and watch Netflix. I don’t wanna figure out what to do.’ So I really got into that thing. And it just got to a point where I felt like the real me was getting eaten up by the character that I portrayed on stage — the ‘He-Man,’ fucking… that guy.”
Kael is not the first member of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH to publicly discuss his struggle with addiction. Drummer Jeremy Spencer got clean and sober more than six years ago after a particularly bad episode of drug and alcohol abuse, saying that he didn’t want to let his parents down after achieving the kind of success he dreamed of as a kid. Ivan Moody‘s own substance abuse has caused him to miss a couple of the band’s tours, with the singer later apologizing to fans and revealing that he had been in a treatment facility “addressing the addiction issues that have interfered with everything in my life.”
Chris said that he had feelings of guilt over the way Moody was publicly battling his addiction while he was silently dealing with issues of his own. “Ivan was going through his thing, and me, no one really knew, I was the quiet one that was kind of doing things on the side,” Kael said. “That was one of the things that was eating away at me too — my guy had a huge problem, and here I am, a quiet problem. It hit me hard when I got off the road last time. Going home was always hard anyway, ’cause you’ve got so much stimulation out on the road, and then you come home and you’re, like, ‘Wait a minute? I’ve gotta take out the trash? That’s the biggest part of my job now?'”
Kael first revealed his battle with addiction in a series of tweets, saying that his wife played a “major role” in helping him get clean. “Had she not busted me trying to restock after burning through $1300 in blow in two days in late January, I truly believe that I would not be here today,” he wrote. “She has silently and bravely dealt with far more than what would have crushed any other woman. Her loyalty, patience, TRUE love and resolve are unmatched by any other woman I’ve ever known.”
Kael also said: “Throwing my hands to the universe and admitting I was at a fucking low and no longer able to do it myself was one of the most humbling and powerful things I’ve ever done in my life.”
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH will release its seventh full-length studio album, “And Justice For None”, on May 18.