Former Keane Singer Tom Chaplin Discusses the Addiction That Almost Killed Him

Life in the spotlight can be immensely stressful, and some famous people find it extremely difficult to cope. It is not uncommon for them to turn to chemical substances that will provide them with temporary relief. However, constant abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs can lead to devastating addictions, and many individuals in the public eye have struggled with these crippling illnesses.

Take former Keane singer Tom Chaplin, for example. Tom is set to return to the stage soon as a solo artist after beating a drug addiction that he says nearly cost him his life. Recalling the time when he feared he would die, Tom said, “I thought I was going to die. I’ve had that feeling before but this time, it was very intense. I had been on a massive bender for days, and I couldnâ’t breathe, I was having a panic attack, I was standing next to a wall thinking, I’m going to keel over and that’s it.”

Crippling Drug Addiction

Tom was the lead singer for Keane, but he says he became ‘a raging drug addict’; his story is something that many celebrities will be able to relate to. Taking drugs and drinking alcohol are often part and parcel of fame, but for some, it can be a destructive force that rips their lives apart. Many will be able to hide their illness from their fans, but they will be struggling to cope on the inside.

In 2015, when he felt as though he was going to die, Tom said that he knew he was at rock bottom. He said, “There had been a change in other people’s behaviour. The people I loved were giving up on me. My wife said: “I want to tell you that I love you because I don’t know whether I will get a chance to again.”

He said it was at that moment that he knew he needed to change. He has now told his story in the songs on his new album, The Wave. Unlike other artists who say that they need drugs or alcohol to allow them to be creative, Tom said he believes that creativity is completely incompatible with chemical substances.

Sheltered Life

Tom stated that his childhood was quite sheltered in that he never realised how bad things could get. He said of his youth, “It was a very middle-class existence, with a straight path and quite clichéd ideas about the way life is lived. I kind of grew up with no idea of how bad things could be.”

Keane’s first album was released back in 2004, and they had a number of hits that propelled them into the limelight. However, fame came at a cost for Tom, who found it hard to cope. He said, “The environment is intoxicating: the money, the adoration, the sense of people around you singing your praises all the time.”
Being in the glare of the media spotlight led to Tom becoming insecure, and he suffered anxiety about his voice, adding, “On the one hand, it is a beautiful instrument, and I am in sole charge of it. But it seems to suggest a kind of pure and angelic quality in me as a person. And there is real darkness in my soul.”

The weight of his concerns and fears led to crippling anxiety, depression and panic attacks. He sought to self-medicate with drugs, which resulted in addiction.

Tom completed a programme of rehabilitation in 2006, but after leaving Keane in 2013, he relapsed. Thankfully, he is back on track now and enjoying life with his wife and daughter, who was born in 2014. Tom said he is more prepared for life in the spotlight this time. He knows the dangers but is ready to face them.


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