Phil Collins' unhappy retirement from music found him spiraling helplessly into alcohol abuse. Without his band, as well as his youngest children -- who now live in the U.S. -- the former Genesis star turned to the bottle. He reveals that things got so bad, "I nearly died."

Collins retired in 2010, hoping to spend more time with his sons, who are 9 and 13. At the time, he saw them regularly because his ex-wife lived nearby in Switzerland. The couple divorced in 2008, but remained friendly. Then she remarried, and moved with the children to Miami. "And, really, retiring -- well, not working -- and not having the kids, I guess left a big void," Collins told the Daily Mail.

He began to suffer from pancreatitis, brought on by alcohol consumption. Meanwhile, the drinks were having strange interactions with medication Collins was already taking for the severe tendon problems that have kept him away from the drums for years. Something had to change. Collins tried rehab, but left after just one week, he said. He then found a stateside specialist, and finally kicked the habit. He says he hasn't had a drink for nearly two years.

"I didn’t go around rolling drunk, but I just started to drink," Collins recalled. "I used to get up and I’d start drinking and watch the cricket. Red wine, white wine. And before long ... " His problems followed decades spent far away from the vices that have derailed so many rockers' lives. "People who know me know that I never went down that road; I was always too sensible," Collins added. "Nevertheless, I got sick."

Genesis: R-Kive,’ a new three-CD career-spanning Genesis anthology, comes out today. A documentary titled ‘Together And Apart’ follows in October.