In a heartfelt message shared on January 3, 2024, Joe Don Rooney, guitarist and former member of Rascal Flatts, opened up about the challenges he faced during a tumultuous period. Breaking his silence on social media, Rooney addressed rumors, clarified misconceptions, and shared the intimate details of his personal struggles with alcohol. In this candid letter to fans and followers, he reflects on his journey towards recovery and redemption.
Expressing his regret for the prolonged absence from social media, Rooney explained that he felt compelled to reach out at the beginning of the new year. Addressing swirling rumors, he assured his fans, “I’m alive,” and debunked speculations about transitioning, emphasizing, “NO, I’m not transitioning to be a woman. That thought has never entered my mind.”
“NO, I’m not transitioning to be a woman. That thought has never entered my mind.” – Joe Don Rooney
The 48-year-old guitarist delved into the highly publicized DUI incident that altered the course of his life. On September 9, 2021, Rooney’s life took a harrowing turn when he crashed into a tree while under the influence. Admitting his struggles with alcohol, he revealed, “My drinking had been an issue for many years – and as they say in AA and treatment, it’s a progressive disease.”
Acknowledging the destructive impact of his alcoholism on his career, family, and mental health, Rooney confessed, “I was not a good father – I was not a good husband – and I was not a good band mate to my business partners.”
Believing in divine intervention, Rooney candidly shared his perspective on the car wreck that led him to seek treatment for alcoholism. Expressing gratitude that the incident didn’t harm others, he acknowledged the severity of the situation and recognized it as a pivotal moment in his life.
The guitarist underwent a four-month rehabilitation in the mountains of Utah, acknowledging his initial reluctance and shame. Rooney expressed his transformative experience during treatment, crediting clinicians, counselors, and fellow patients for providing him with invaluable tools for recovery.
Rooney proudly declared that his life has been “changed forever” since completing rehabilitation and achieving nearly 28 months of sobriety as of January 13. Reflecting on his journey, he admitted, “I never believed I could actually live my life without drinking,” expressing gratitude for the support of his family, clinical advisors, and newfound sober friends.
Read Rooney’s full statement below:
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