CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One man says music helped him battle through his addiction to alcohol.

What You Need To Know

  • Tom Cridland struggled with alcohol addiction for several years

  • He says it impacted his work, health, relationships and finances

  • The music of Elton John, who is also sober, inspired him to quit

  • Cridland has music on Spotify and has toured across the world playing Elton John cover songs 

From the moment Tom Cridland strokes the piano, his mind feels at ease. He feels cut off from the stress of the day.

“It’s hard to articulate music and why we like music,” Cridland said. “But it feels pretty good.”

Cridland hasn’t always been a musician. He learned to play the piano only a few years ago.

“I took up music in 2018 shortly after I gave up drinking,” Cridland said. 

Cridland struggled with alcohol addiction for more than a decade. He says he hit rock bottom in 2017.

“It was my weight, my finances and I was also saying things to people, insulting them and being so rude and abrasive,” Cridland said. “It was just not a good way to be living your life really.”

One day he was listening to the music of Elton John, and things began to shift. The musician has been sober for 30 years, according to the American Addiction Centers. It inspired Cridland to follow the same path.

“Elton’s music in particular was like a friend to turn to in the hard times during the drinking era,” Cridland said.

Cridland says he learned to appreciate music, concerts and all sorts of entertaining activities without alcohol. Three years ago, he started performing Elton John cover songs. He has toured at several small venues across the world.

“People seem to really like it, and venues have rebooked my band, Tom Elton’s Tributes, so it has definitely been a good start,” Cridland said.

He says his biggest tip to others battling addiction is to just ask for help.

“I think that is the first step,” Cridland said. “Don’t be too proud. Just be shameless and tell the truth. That is what I am trying to do even though I have my moments. But I think the more honest you are, the easier everything tends to be.”

Tom Cridland has some of his original music available on Spotify and iTunes. He will be touring next in Australia.