The more we learn about his tortured past, the sadder we are - but then we remember he’s okay now and we’re a little happier.
Nick Carter is opening all the way up in his new memoir Facing the Music and Living to Talk About It, and we're finally hearing more about his troubled youth.
As we previously mentioned, the Backstreet Boys singer talks about his family, and how his alcoholism started there, explaining that he lived above a bar, The Yankee Rebel. In fact, he recalls that his drinking problem may have started as young as when he was TWO YEARS OLD! He remembers:
“Family legend has it that when I was two years old, I crawled into one of the Yankee Rebel’s liquor storage rooms where I was caught drinking for the first time. My parents always laughed at that. I laughed too, for a while, and then I didn’t laugh at it any more… My parents …always stressed about money, which is another reason they turned to alcohol so much. I’m shocked to see home movies taken when I was nine and ten; in them, I’m pretending to be drinking. Clearly, I’m mimicking my parents. In one home movie, my cousin and I are acting as if we were going out to a bar like two adults. We danced and feigned we were partying. Looking back at how alcohol was part of our playtime, I realize just how deeply my parents’ drinking affected me. It was as if I was programmed to drink.”
When Nick was 13, he joined BSB and his troubles only got worse. His teen days went like this:
“I began drinking heavily in my teens, and then moved on to drugs at eighteen or nineteen, starting with marijuana and moving up to cocaine, Ecstasy, and prescription painkillers among other substances. Kevin [Richardson]and the other BSB members saw me drinking and getting into trouble and all they could do was shake their heads…They told me that I had the potential to be a better person and make more of my talents. They knew I had a good heart and soul and wasn’t using my head. The guys warned me many times that my partying was out of control and that I was headed for serious trouble.”
At least they tried to help!
Then in 2002, Nick got his first arrest in Tampa:
“We hit it hard and then things got out of control around closing time. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn from it. I just kept compounding my problems by continuing the same unacceptable behavior and messing up. No internal alarms went off for me, despite what the other guys in Backstreet said. I rolled on, repeating the same self-destructive pattern for quite a while longer.”
Once he was in his 20s, Nick went to harder drugs like Ecstasy and painkillers:
“I did a lot of Ecstasy over one particular three or four month period, and I probably regret taking that illegal and dangerous drug more than anything I’ve ever done. I’m afraid the amount I did caused changes in my brain that are responsible for bouts of depression that I now struggle to control. [After one night] when I woke up, I was back in my apartment and scared as hell because I didn’t know how I got there or what had happened during the time in between. Blacking out like that was typical when I was drinking… [Another night] I was doing prescription painkillers on top of drinking alcohol and I remember going back to my condo, getting in bed alone, listening to my heart pound and feeling as if my body was falling apart from the inside out … But despite those fears, I never seemed to learn from my mistakes.”
Things were falling apart in his life too because in 2005, Nick got a DUI and had to go to 13 AA meetings. They helped him see this horrible path he was on, but it wasn’t enough to make him stop:
“My life plummeted to an all-time low… We’d chug beers and pound down shot after shot until we reached the semi-comatose state where the alcohol made us sleepy and lethargic. Then we’d do a bump of cocaine for an energy boost. My crowd made partying an extreme sport. We repeated that binge and bump cycle night after night.”
Then came his awakening! Finally! Nick was going home one night and had such bad hallucinations that it looked like everyone was a zombie, and the city bus driver wouldn’t let him on. He said of this moment:
“My face looked bloated, the way it would in a carnival fun house mirror. My body was twice its normal width due to the 50 pounds I’d gained from hard drinking, overeating, and a lack of exercise. My skin was ashen gray tending towards translucent… I had never been in such frightening shape emotionally, mentally, or physically. I was scared for my life. My body seemed to be crashing and my brain was close behind.”
That’s when Nick called his publicist and asked to go to rehab, but after touring Promises Malibu, Nick decided he wanted to do it all on his own at his own at his house in Cool Springs, Tennessee. And yup, you guessed it, in six months Nick was back to his partying ways. He recounted a hard partying night:
“When I woke up, my first thought was ‘Oh my god. I’m dying.’ My heart was doing a dance routine in my chest. My lungs felt like someone was stomping the air out of them. My gut was swollen. I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed. I partied like it was my last night on Earth… I drank like I was trying to drown the demons inside my body. Then I did enough blow to make up for the six months I’d stayed clean.”
He saw a doctor the next day and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the heart.
But did that stop this Backstreet Boy from partying? Unbelievably, no!
“I drank, did drugs, and partied until I was paralyzed and passed out. I woke up in a hotel room with my head pounding so hard I couldn’t focus my eyes… My heart was pounding so loud, I thought someone was at the door. I decided my body was trying to get me to pay attention one last time… It was change or die.”
FINALLY Nick got the message that his body was sending him and gave up his partying ways. Now he’s happier, healthier and engaged to a super fit woman who will keep him in shape!
“I’m not perfect now. I still slip up when it comes to drinking. But I’m alive and great things have happened for me in the last few years. I would have missed them. I’m glad I didn’t. Take care of yourself so you’ll be present for the great things in your life too.”
We're so happy he made it through that tough time, and we're still rooting for him because every day is a battle.
[Image via PNP/WENN.]