After 19 years of sobriety, Metallica’s James Hetfield returns to rehab

In 1981, guitarist and singer James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich came together in Los Angeles, California and formed the metal rock band Metallica. The group quickly gained popularity and went on to become one of the most well-known and successful metal rock bands in the music industry. Metallica’s major hits included “Master of Puppets,” “One” and “Enter Sandman.” 

In 2001, while filming the documentary, “Some Kind of Monster,” James Hetfield entered rehab due to an alcohol addiction. Nine months later, he came out of rehab and embraced sobriety. Hetfield became not only an inspiration to other musicians, but also to everyday people for his admirable act of seeking help and becoming sober.

Unfortunately, nearly 19 years later on Sept. 27, 2019, the band announced on Twitter they were canceling upcoming tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, as Hetfield had reentered rehab. 

When this news broke, fans were devastated to hear Hetfield had returned to his past addictions. Many were even shocked since he seemed well and happy. Metallica had been on and off tour for the better part of the last three years. Many believe it might have been this crazy, busy schedule that led Hetfield back to alcohol. 

There is currently no set time for Hetfield’s return from rehab or the band’s return to tour. This situation does bring up one question: how does someone who seems happy and well fall so quickly? The truth is celebrities, singers, athletes and influencers are the same as us. Even though they make a substantial amount of money and have many adoring fans, they still deal with the same issues as everyday citizens. 

Alcoholism is a major issue facing people around the world and it is a disease that does not discriminate from whether one is successful or not. Though, it does beg the question: are rock stars and others who live these crazy lifestyles destined to deal with these struggles more so than the average person who lives a regular 9 to 5 lifestyle?

Even college students can be impacted by alcohol and other influences, which have the potential to take young adults down the wrong road. 

If you or anyone you know is facing issues with alcohol or drug abuse, here are some important resources:


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 24-hour helpline: 800-662-HELP (4357)


Director of Health Education & Alcohol/Drug Prevention Coordinator

Donna Lynn Darmody MS, CWP | Contact: [email protected] or (401) 254-2413

Health Services: (401) 254-3156 | Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Counseling Center: (401) 254-3124 | Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.