TW: Talk of suicide
The night musician Sia wrote the song “Breathe Me”—a 2004 hit that was on the season finale of the TV show Six Feet Under—she tried to kill herself by taking 22 Valium with a bottle of vodka. Six years later in 2010, she again planned to kill herself. She had been taking Xanax and OxyContin, drinking tons of alcohol, and was in a low place.
She planned to do it in a hotel, but as she was leaving, an old friend called and said, “Squiddly-diddly-doo.” This was how Sia used to answer the phone when she was feeling more connected and playful. Instead of going to the hotel, Sia called a sober friend. The next day she went to her first 12-step meeting. Last September marked 10 years of sobriety for the musician.
Sia had her first drink at 17, when she was nervous to perform with her band for the first time and someone handed her a glass of wine. After that, she barely went a day without a drink. Sia’s first love, Dan Pontifex, was hit by a car and killed on his 24th birthday. “It was my first big loss,” she said, “So I drank a lot and did a lot of drugs with all of his grieving friends.”
Later, Sia was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and began abusing prescription pills. She was also diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder exacerbated by stress. The life of a touring musician was not for her. Her manager Jonathan Daniel said, “The music business was essentially killing her.”
Fame in general was not Sia’s thing; after getting sober, she started wearing giant wigs in order to hide her face, which did become her thing. “I was really unhappy being an artist and I was getting sicker and sicker,” she said.
Sia released one album in 2014, always performing with her face hidden; a song from that album, “Chandelier”—which draws from her experience with addiction—is the 29th most watched video ever on YouTube. However, since getting sober she has mostly done what she’d always wanted to do, which is write songs for other artists. She’s written for Rhianna, Katy Perry, Brittney Spears, Beyoncé, and many more musicians.
Of the call she got from her friend that stopped her from going to the hotel, Sia later said, “There must have been a part of me that really wanted to live,” she said, “because in that moment, I thought, ‘There’s a world out there and I’m not a part of it. But I might like to be.’” Since being sober, she’s been able to connect to the world in the way that makes her happiest.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you figure out who you are without substances and build a good life for that person. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.