We often see a lot of celebrities, especially rock stars, struggling in public, but unless you’re a mental health expert, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong. Five years ago, Scott Stapp, the former lead singer of Creed, was having a major meltdown in public, and it was the culmination of a crash and burn we often see in rock n roll fueled by meth addiction. But the full story is a lot more complicated than the usual VH1 cautionary tale.

As it turned out, mental illness was one of the roots of Stapp’s problems, and he’s now alive and well, celebrating five years sobriety with his family.

“Nothing Is More Important Than My Sobriety”

Stapp appeared on social media with his fourteen-month-old son with newly short hair. “Headed to Puerto Rico for a show this Saturday in Bellas Artes,” he wrote. “Gonna miss my little guy. I think he’s digging the new cut.”

Before cutting off his rock star mane, Stapp appeared at an event for Music Cares, an organization that helps a lot of musicians get sober, and the Music Cares also played a significant role in Stapp’s sobriety as well.

Stapp hit bottom five years ago. He told People he realized he was dealing with “more than just addiction…[I was] fighting bipolar disorder, untreated? That was a huge turning point for me and then coming to the place where I almost lost my family. That was really an eye-opener, and it put me in a position where I’d be willing to do anything for that not to happen. And that’s really where you’ve got to be to make changes in your life.”

Aware of the stigma that surrounds addiction and mental illness, Stapp told the Longview News-Journal, “A lot of times when people are suffering from a mental illness, they self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, and I was no different. It’s really not in their control. It’s a disease just like cancer.”

A Tough Dose of Reality

At one point, Stapp was singing in a band called Art of Anarchy, which used to feature Scott Weiland as well. Weiland died of an overdose in 2015 at the age of 48, and it was a big reminder to Stapp of how his life could end if he didn’t get help.

He told Music Radar, “His life was a reminder to me of where my life was headed if I continued to use alcohol and drugs. Having that reminder that he used to sing in this band was almost like him speaking to me from the grave, saying, ‘Brother, you need to stay on the straight and narrow, or this is what could happen to you.’ That’s really impacted me in my desire and drive to stay sober one day at a time.”

Looking around at what he has, and what he came very close to losing, Stapp says today that, “Nothing is more important than my sobriety.”