Kix Guitarist Ronnie Younkins on Addiction: ‘My Disease Has Gotten Worse’
Kix guitarist Ronnie Younkins (seen inner left in the photo above) has had a pretty rough year, when at the end of March he no-showed a gig and went missing. The guitarist reappeared the next day "not in great condition and very upset." After that, Younkins entered rehab, and is currently in between recovery houses, and speaking on his current state of being.
Younkins recently spoke to Metal Rules about his sobriety and where's he's at health-wise in life, and what lead to the events earlier this year:
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 f-ked 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 sh-t had happened, and I worked through [it], and some serious things happened.
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 f-king made me feel like I had the flu for 11 months, my f-king hair fell out, all kinds of crazy sh-t, 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, 'F-k, 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 f-king 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.
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.
He capped the interview off, thanking his band for all their support, saying "I love those guys in the band. 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 s--t together once and for all on a daily basis."
Forsythe has been helping to fill the void for Younkins while the band has continued touring. The group currently has tour dates booked through the end of the year. See where they're playing here.