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Billy Joel Says He ‘Used Booze As Medication’ To Deal With 9/11 Trauma

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He has been to rehab twice and was involved in three suspicious car accidents in as many years, and now Billy Joel is opening up about his struggle with alcohol.

In a new interview with The New York Times, the rock ‘n’ roll legend says his battle with the bottle stems from his inability to deal with depression stemming from post 9/11 trauma.

And the 64-year-old claims two of three car smashes that grabbed international headlines did not involve drinking.

“The first accident, there was no booze involved,” The Piano Man singer insisted.

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“I didn’t hit a tree. It’s these really dark roads back up here at night. The car went off the road and into a mud rut.

“I had gone through a breakup and was really broken up about it and I decided I’m drinking too much. I should go to rehab. But people made a connection, like, ‘Oh, he went there because he was in a car accident from drinking.’ No.”

The second accident was the result of black ice, Joel added.

Said Joel: “The car slid and smashed into a tree. I went to rehab in ’05 because, when I was with Katie, she said, ‘You’re drinking way too much.’ I never had a D.U.I. in my life. That’s another fallacy. Look at the police records.”

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Despite his two trips to rehab, Joel explained that he doesn’t “subscribe to A.A.” or “12-step stuff,” because he believes that sometimes he “just overdid it” and was more of a periodic drinker during rough times.

After the 9/11 terror attacks, Joel confessed he “used booze as medication,” instead of taking prescribed medication.

“I was kind of in a mental fog and it had nothing to do with the booze. My mind wasn’t right. I wasn’t focused. I went into a deep, deep depression after 9/11,” he revealed.

“9/11 just knocked the wind out of me and I don’t know even now if I’ve recovered from it. It really, really hurt that man could do that to man. And then there was a breakup with somebody and it took me a while to get me back on my feet again.”

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When he drank, he drank hard, starting with Dewars White Label Scotch and then moving onto vodka.

“But it wasn’t consistent, it would be periods of time, during a divorce or something,” he insisted.

And Joel, who was slammed for not taking rehab seriously by Elton John in 2011, said he refuses to quit drinking completely.

“I have a glass of wine once in a while and I don’t hide it,” he admitted. “I have a glass of wine with a meal.”

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