Keith Urban posted a video message on his Web site Monday (Jan. 22) to thank his fans, family and friends for supporting him during his recent three-month stay in the Betty Ford Center for treatment of alcohol abuse.
The message follows Urban’s live appearance Saturday (Jan. 20) on the German television series, Wetten, Dass … ?. Backed by his full band, Urban performed “Once in a Lifetime” on the program hosted by German actor and television personality Thomas Gottschalk.
Urban will play his first U.S. show of 2007 in Chicago on Feb. 8. He also has dates scheduled in Germany and the U.K. in April before touring in the U.S. and Canada in June.
In the video on his Web site, Urban explains the circumstances that led him to enter the rehabilitation center, as well as the life lessons he learned there.
“I feel so much gratitude and it feels really good to have gone through it and be where I am right now. Because where I am right now is starting on that road to getting back to doing what I love which is playing music,” he said in the video message.
Here is a transcript of Keith Urban’s video message:
“I just wanted to take a moment today to talk a bit about the last three months. On Oct. 19, I checked into the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, Calif., with the support of my wife and family and friends, for what I thought was going to be a 30-day stay at Betty Ford.
“Now, there was no big, cataclysmic event that happened right before I went in. But, what it was, was a lot of small things that were happening in my life, and a lot of small moments that were starting to accumulate that were telling me very loud and clear that I was a long way from my program of recovery, and they were making my life unmanageable.
“I got to a point where I wanted to go in to treatment, so I went in on that date. It was far from an ideal time to go into treatment. I want to say that much, too. While I was in there, of course, I had my birthday on Oct. 26, my record was released, I missed Thanksgiving and all the holidays. So, it was a time that had a lot of consequences, that particular three months.
“The reason why it was so long, too, was just what I was learning as I stayed in there. That first 30 days, I learned what they say in there: Abstinence is the ticket into the movie. It’s not the movie. So, learning about abstinence was one thing, but then there was all this other area of my life to start learning about. So, 30 days became 60 … 60 days became 90 … and with each week that passed, I found myself really learning to surrender — especially with my career, with playing music — because it’s what I’ve always done. I love playing guitar, I love touring and I was going to be doing a lot of that right when I went in.
“But, I had amazing support from everybody while I was in there that helped. I can’t even tell you guys how much that helped me. I felt very, very, loved, and I felt very supported, and [it] made the time go by. I never felt alone. And, as I say, during that time, I started to learn a lot about myself and how I got to be in this position that I’m in right now.
“And, it’s hard to quantify what I learned in 90 days, but suffice to say, it’s been one of the most impactful times of my whole life. And I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everybody out there that’s watching this right now for your support. I got cards, I got letters, I got e-mails when I finally got to my laptop and I could retrieve them all. There were hundreds of e-mails, and I just didn’t expect that kind of support. I truly didn’t, and it helped so much. Especially through a lot of the lonely days which there was plenty of those in there.
“But my wife stayed extraordinarily strong and loving, and my friends and family were there, and, man, it’s just been really overwhelming. I feel so much gratitude, and it feels really good to have gone through it and be where I am right now. Because where I am right now is starting on that road to getting back to doing what I love — which is playing music. And I’m looking forward to coming to your town to see all you guys and thank you personally for the support I’ve gotten. And I know I keep harping on that, but it’s meant so much to me, and I wanted you guys to hear that from me personally.
“I look forward to seeing you guys very soon. And from the bottom of my heart, thank you, and God bless every one of you.”