KIX guitarist Ronnie Younkins has opened up about his drug addiction, saying that his “disease had gotten worse” after he relapsed several years ago following two decades of sobriety.
Younkins missed a KIX concert in Pennsylvania in March when the rest of the group was unable to reach him. He was eventually found “not in great condition and very upset,” according to TMZ. A month later, his bandmates revealed that he was “headed to a rehab facility” and promised that his spot in KIX would be “waiting for him” once he was ready to resume playing with the group.
While Younkins was in rehab, he took time out to join his KIX bandmates for a performance in early June at the Sweden Rock Festival, where he gave a wide-ranging interview to Metal Rules that also touched upon his continued battle against substance abuse.
Speaking about his current status, Ronnie said: “I’m living at a rehab now. I miss my daughter, and my son, and my home, but I’ve been there for almost two months now, and I’m going to move into a recovery home soon and stay there for a while.”
Regarding the circumstances that led him to check himself back in to rehab, Ronnie said: “My disease has gotten worse. I had 21 years of sobriety at one point. Got sober and cleaned up in 1989, but I’d get on… A long story short, what led me back out was complacency in my program. I wasn’t doing enough of my work for the AA program like I did in the early years. Then,I went on Hepatitis C treatment, or they should call it punishment, the old one that has many side effects, in 2010. One of them being insomnia, and the doctor put me on Ambien, and it fucked me up. It’s a sleep drug, and I got hooked on it, and then I wasn’t working the program, like with my mom’s death — I worked through that at ten years sober. I worked through that with my sponsor. [My] dad died, like, in 2012. Some other shit had happened, and I worked through [it], and some serious things happened.
“We all have issues,” he continued. “We all have shit happen in our lives and, you know, I worked through them in the program, but my when my father died, and I was complacent in the program, and I was already high on this fucking Ambien. I said, ‘Fuck it.’ And, I went out, and I started doing heroin and cocaine again within a month after my dad’s death, and it’s been nothing but downhill since. I’ve been through two rehabs, [in] 2014 [and] 2015.”
Drug and alcohol rehab statistics show that the percentage of people who will relapse after rehab and even a period of some recovery ranges from 50% to 90%.
Most people do not manage to quit their addiction with their first attempt. They may try and fail a number of times before they manage to secure lasting sobriety.
“My disease… The disease of alcoholism and drug addiction keeps progressing even while you’re sober and clean,” Ronnie said. “So, now it’s even… It got even worse than it was back when I was 31. I went to a great rehabilitation when I was 32, and I only spent 30 days there, and I got it. Well, I didn’t get it, you never get this, but I understood what I had to do. Let me clarify that. I took all suggestions, and I applied them in my life on a daily basis for 21 years, but once I started putting other things in front of that program and when I was on this Hep C treatment, I had all these side effects, crazy side effects. My teeth rotted out, I got freaking rashes all over my face, cramps, and it fucking made me feel like I had the flu for 11 months, my fucking hair fell out, all kinds of crazy shit, but I couldn’t sleep. That was the worst part. So, they put me on this Ambien. I don’t think they knew how dangerous that drug is, and it lit me up. I mean, I knew I was high. I was going to meetings. I used to [sit] in the back going, ‘Fuck, I relapsed.’ So, then I… This is the disease talking to me going, ‘Hey man, you can’t go back and say you relapsed on Ambien. Let’s do this right and go get some heroin, some cocaine, and some marijuana and fucking go off to the races.’ And, then when my wife found out and I went to rehab… She had a little bit of money we had left, and then I hadn’t been drinking, and I’m not minimizing or maximizing, that’s just a fact that once she gave me $30, $20 a week, I was off to the liquor store and I became fall-down drunk within six months. That’s how I noticed the disease had gotten worse — blackouts, shakes, DTs [delirium tremens], all kinds of craziness.”
For addicts that fall back into drug use, there is no guarantee that they will ever be able to stop again; their relapse may turn out to be a death sentence.
Over time, the life of the addict tends to deteriorate. This means that when people relapse, they may be going back to a life that is even worse than before.
“I can see the progress on of the drug use, how bad it got,” Ronnie said. “I honestly can tell you that it got bad. It was nightmarish. So, I’m grateful to be sober and clean, and I’ve got… I’m not even counting the days, but I’ve been in the rehab, but it will be about like two months in a couple of weeks or something. So, I’ve just been there since the middle of April, and now in a couple of weeks, I’m going to go to a recovery house.”
Younkins added that he was “grateful” to his bandmates for standing by him through all his problems. “I thought about it when I was playing [at Sweden Rock] today, like, ‘Fuck! I mean, I’m here playing with this band, and I’m not dead, and I’m not high, and I’m not drunk, and these guys let me come over here to play.’
“I love those guys in the band,” he said. “They’ve been my brothers, all of them, and [KIX guitarist [Brian‘s [Forsythe] been a big help, because he’s in the program as well, and yeah… So, I just want to get my shit together once and for all on a daily basis.”
Last October, KIX released the “Can’t Stop The Show: The Return Of Kix” two-disc DVD/CD set via Loud & Proud Records. The 71-minute film was an in-depth look into KIX‘s decision to record their first new album, 2014’s “Rock Your Face Off”, in almost twenty years.