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Heart's Ann Wilson on Getting Sober: 'The Tarp Has Come Off'

Norman Seeff via Heart

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart cover a lot of ground in their new memoir ‘Kicking & Dreaming,’ which hits stores on Sept. 18. In the book, Nancy talks about moving past the end of her longtime marriage to film director Cameron Crowe [she has remarried since then], while Ann reveals that she’s been sober now for nearly three years.

Realizing that she had a problem with alcohol, Ann hit her own personal “rock bottom” and decided that it was time to quit in late 2009. In the book, she writes that “there was only one way this situation would turn out if I continued and that meant not being alive.”

Ann had seen plenty of warning signs all around her in prior years, but as she says, “even after witnessing Andrew Wood, Kurt Cobain and my friend Layne Staley die, I still didn’t understand the power of my own demons.”

But she would see the light eventually and as the end of 2009 was approaching, Wilson quit cold turkey. While she didn’t go the traditional route with treatment and a 12 step program, Wilson found crucial support from her friends, family and bandmates who had been through similar situations. She also went to therapy.

Revitalized as the band began working on material for what would become their new studio album ‘Fanatic,’ Ann told Ultimate Classic Rock in an interview earlier this week that she immediately noticed a very clear difference.

She says that it had “the effect of kind of lifting a tarp off of me, creatively.  I was having so much trouble writing songs and just coming up with ideas when I was still drinking. Once I stopped, and have been going through this whole process of recovery and everything, it’s just as if the tarp has come off and I’m just more aware.”

“It’s all about mindfulness and being aware that the very reason why you drink is to protect yourself from all of these things that hurt and in the meantime, you protect yourself from everything good too. So it really has helped a lot. Especially with songs [from the new album] like ‘Dear Old America’ and ‘Mashallah.’”

‘Fanatic’ will be released on Oct. 2. 


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