One night in 1987, Ricky Byrd, then the lead guitarist for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, stood in front of a mirror. Thirty years old and 128 pounds, he thought, wryly, "Dude, you always wanted to look like Keith Richards. I think you did it!" The next day, he went to his first 12-step meeting, and he's been sober in recovery ever since.
This week, Byrd appeared on the Verywell Mind Podcast to talk a little about how he reached that point, and a lot more about how he's maintained a fulfilling sober life in the following three decades. In conversation with host Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and bestselling author, Byrd reflected on how he has tried to "plant seeds" for others struggling with addiction, promoting a message he counts himself lucky to have heard at the right time 34 years ago.
Byrd, a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, has been particularly involved in helping others in recent years, hosting recovery music groups at treatment centers and earning addiction counseling and coaching certifications. "That's the incredible cure for life, in general. Be of service somehow. Whatever your thing is—charity, volunteering—that's the best drug in the world: Helping somebody else. It makes you feel better. And when you feel better, you don't want to hurt yourself."
In the spirit of service, Byrd has also recently partnered with All Sober, and he spoke about his excitement for the platform. "What I've found is a lot of confusion out there" surrounding recovery, he said. "This platform is insanely great, because it's going to put everything in one place that you can find. As this progresses, I think it's going to be a huge help to the recovery community, whether you're struggling or already in recovery."
Listen to the interview to hear Byrd's take on total abstinence, the dangers of isolation in recovery, the notion that drug use fuels creativity, and much more. It's available on Verywell Mind, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. (Photo credit: Frankie Byrd.)