Sir Elton John feared he couldn't perform sober following debilitating drug addiction

Sir Elton John feared he wouldn't be able to perform sober again after his debilitating drug addiction resulted in a year-long hiatus in 1990.

The 'Bennie and the Jets' hitmaker, 72, revealed that the prospect of performing sober became highly distressing following his treatment with Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous.

"After I finally surrendered and decided to seek treatment for my addiction, there came a point when I wondered if I would ever go back to work as Elton John again," the musical icon admitted in an interview for Variety's recovery issue. 

"But at that time, I wasn't thinking too much about being an artist. I had reached the lowest ebb in my life - the absolute bottom."

John said he was consumed by feelings of self-hatred and shame as he abused multiple substances, including alcohol, marijuana and his self-proclaimed "worst best friend", cocaine. 

"All I wanted to do was get well. I put all of the energy I had left towards my recovery," he revealed.

Although John took a brief hiatus during his recovery, he was determined to fulfill one scheduled charity concert performance. The prospect of performing with his newfound sobriety "terrified" the artist.

"When the day arrived, I was terrified - but I did manage to get through," he told the outlet.

"It was the only time I stepped on a stage that year, and I had to do it on my own without the band. 

"In retrospect, I'm glad I went straight in at the deep end... that show gave me confidence to know that I could still perform sober."

Following his treatment, John completed his 1992 album, The One, and contributed to the Oscar-winning soundtrack for Disney's The Lion King

The artist acknowledged that he continued to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings while on tour, finding local groups in non-English speaking countries to keep his recovery on track. 

John celebrated 29 years of sobriety on July 29 this year, sharing a snap of his sobriety coin to his 2.3 million Instagram followers.

"Twenty-nine years ago today, I was a broken man," he captioned the post. "I finally summoned up the courage to say three words that would change my life: 'I need help.' 

"Thank you to all the selfless people who have helped me on my journey through sobriety. I am eternally grateful."

John used his experience to mentor US rapper Eminem through his near-fatal prescription drug addiction in the mid-2000s. Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, celebrated 11 years of sobriety in April this year.