How to Overcome a Rough Past With Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx

Verywell / Julie Bang

On The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews experts, authors, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx is the co-founder, bassist, and primary songwriter for the legendary rock band Mötley Crüe. He’s also a member of the successful band Sixx:A.M.

His book, "The Heroin Diaries," was a New York Times bestseller. In it, he shares journal entries from the days he was doing hard drugs. He also shares what that was like for the people around him to see his ascent into drug use.

Now, he’s written a new book called "The First 21" where he shares how his upbringing shaped him. The adversity he experienced as a child is linked to his addiction. But he’s sober now and he’s sharing how his rough past made him mentally stronger.

Why Nikki Sixx Is Mentally Strong

When Nikki was young, his father left. His sister, who was born with Down syndrome, was placed in a residential facility. And then, his mother left the family too.

He was raised primarily by his grandparents. The family moved frequently and didn’t have a lot of money.

Fortunately, Nikki found music to help him cope. Unfortunately, however, he also found drugs. He battled addiction for years. 

Unlike many rock stars whose addiction ends in tragedy, Nikki was able to get sober. During his recovery, he worked through the unresolved issues from his childhood. He’s open about the fact that he attends therapy and that he makes his mental health a top priority.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • The “aha" moment that helped Nikki know what he wanted to do with his life
  • How the first 21 years shaped Nikki’s life
  • How feelings about certain events in our lives often come up later
  • What it was like for Nikki to relapse after 20 years of sobriety
  • How Nikki stays creative
  • How Nikki uses meditation in his life
  • Why stability is a major component of his current success
  • How therapy has helped Nikki make sense of his past
  • The role journaling has played in his life
  • How he changed the story that he’d been telling himself about his childhood

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

Childhood adversity can take a lifelong toll on us. It can certainly lead to unhealthy behaviors during adulthood, such as addiction.

Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn healthier coping skills. Some strategies that could help might involve self-help strategies, like writing in a journal or reading books. Other strategies may include professional help, like seeing a therapist

It’s tempting to avoid the emotional pain that stems from past trauma or difficult experiences. But the key to becoming better and growing stronger is about addressing those issues head-on.

Quotes From Nikki

Nikki Sixx

I'd say to anybody out there don't be scared of the work. Go to a therapist.

— Nikki Sixx
  • "It was through recovery that I was able to do the work."
  • "I had to accept the fact that I'll be an addict for the rest of my life."
  • "Meditation is a big part of my life."
  • "I suggest putting the baggage down and seeing what life feels like to not be carrying around all this because it gets heavy."

More About the Podcast

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Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

Links and Resources

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.