When Belinda Carlisle Knew Cocaine Would Kill Her
Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle said she finally escaped from the “horrible cycle” of addiction in 2005, long after she’d become convinced that drugs were going to kill her.
She’d started using cocaine during the band’s climb to success as she struggled with the trappings of fame and constant media discussion about her appearance.
“I always had that little voice: ‘What are you doing?’” Carlisle told the Guardian in a recent interview. “[W]hen I was introduced to coke, I thought: ‘Oh my God, when I get money, I’m going to buy lots of this.’ And I did.” While she said she’d had a “great time” at first, she continued: “I had a complete blast, but it does become a problem normally at some point. It was fun until it stopped being fun, and then it just became a real fucking nightmare.” She admitted drugs were a contributing factor to the Go-Go’s split in 1985, reporting: “I mean, everybody was just off their trolley.”
She’d managed to get off drugs on a number of occasions, but always went back. “It was a horrible cycle,” she said. “I was just sick of the lies and the drama, and I hated myself.” When she decided to avoid a recording session in London in 2005, choosing to indulge in a hotel room coke binge instead, matters came to a head. “I just knew that it was only a matter of time before I died.”
Returning to her home in France, Carlisle managed to take control of the situation as last. “I went out, got a big bottle of wine to celebrate my sobriety, and then the next morning, I woke up and that was it,” she said. “I was over cigarettes, over pills, over everything. I just stopped and got myself some help.”
With the Go-Go’s celebrating their upcoming Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, Carlisle reflected on the members' four-decade relationship, which she admitted remained “tumultuous.” She explained: “It’s not colleagues, it’s sisters. I know that we all love each other but the dynamics are really complicated. We may have taken others within the band for granted; we do not do that now. Forgiveness is important.”