Last year, Nita Strauss bowed out of Alice Cooper‘s band to join Demi Lovato‘s touring band. But on top of any musical rewards she might have reaped from the experience, Strauss also revealed there was a major personal reward as well. “Demi has been a huge ally on my journey,” revealed Strauss in a new interview addressing her personal sobriety.
Speaking with Guitar World, Strauss dove into her personal history with sobriety (her sober anniversary is coming up on 8 years in September) and recalls why last year’s touring with Lovato ended up being such a special run.
“It was an incredible experience because it was my first time on a tour that prioritized sobriety,” she recalls. “All the other tours I’ve been on have been respectful of people who don’t partake, but it’s still around all the time. It was such a healthy experience being on a tour that didn’t have alcohol backstage. It wasn’t a dry tour; people could go out and partake at their leisure if they wanted to, but not in the dressing rooms or areas where Demi and the band were going to be. There were a lot of sober people on that tour and a lot of people in recovery to talk to.”
She went on to add, “Demi has been a huge ally on my journey. When I was recovering from knee surgery [in December 2022/January 2023], I had to take pain pills for a few days. Demi was the first person to reach out and ask how I was feeling, and whether I was triggered in any way or needed anything. That struck me as incredible, because she’s one of the biggest stars in the world, and she took the time to reach out to one of her band members, check in, and make sure my recovery was doing okay.”
Lovato has had their own journey with sobriety, revealing in 2021 that they were no longer “California sober” and had now ruled out all substances after a 2018 overdose.
As for her own sobriety, Strauss says music played a big role in it. “Guitar is therapeutic. I have always been not the most social person. As a kid, I had a hard time making friends. I found that when I picked up the guitar, it was a universal way to communicate where I didn’t have to worry about being cool. I didn’t have to worry about what people were going to think. All that came later, when I started getting more well known! But when I first started playing, it was a healthy way to communicate and make friends. I could go out and kill it onstage and I didn’t have to worry about anything else at that moment. I could just let loose and enjoy playing.”
As someone who has branched out solo, Strauss is aware of how much is upon her in supporting those around her, but she says that the time performing for others gives her the mental break from the daily anxieties.
“When I’m playing, I’m not worrying about interviews, album numbers, if an email got sent out, if a T-shirt order was placed, or any of the day-to-day things that come with being a musician that are constantly circling around in my mind. All I’m focusing on is the show and my playing and if the audience is having a good time. That, to me, is the best therapy in the world,” she explains.
In closing, Strauss says that not every sober recovery is identical, and the one piece of advice she’d offer is “if you are on this path, to give yourself grace to walk at your own pace. If there is someone in your life who is on this journey, you also have to allow them to walk this path at their own pace, because things that trigger some people might not trigger others, and things that don’t seem like a big deal to one person might be a big deal to someone else.”
“So, as you navigate whatever path you’re on,” she continues. “Make sure to give grace, kindness, and empathy to the people around you and also to yourself, because we’re all figuring it out together.”
See more of Nita’s discussion about her sobriety journey at Guitar World.
Where Can You See Nita Strauss?
Strauss has since returned to Alice Cooper’s band while also balancing her solo career. As a solo artist, Strauss will return to the road in November in support of her The Call of the Void album. Dates and ticketing info can be found here
But before that you can see her playing as part of Alice Cooper’s band in support of The Road album, with dates continuing tomorrow (Sept. 1) in Tinley Park, Illinois. See all the upcoming stops and get ticketing info here.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug and/or alcohol dependence, help is available through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. To speak to someone on the phone, dial 1-800-622-HELP (1-800-622-4357) or send a text message to 1-800-487-4889.
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