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When Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975, she began using cocaine alongside her bandmates. She thought of the drug as a recreational creativity booster, but it began to cause problems for her. After a doctor’s warning, she checked herself into a rehabilitation center. Just before she went, those close to her staged an intervention, which infuriated her.

A black and white picture of Stevie Nicks standing on stage and holding a microphone.
Stevie Nicks | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks’ doctor warned her that using more cocaine could kill her

Nicks began using cocaine after she joined Fleetwood Mac. She had rarely done it before this, but she explained that she had heightened access to the job as a musician. 

“When we joined Fleetwood Mac, it’s not like we ever bought it or really did it, so it wasn’t a very big deal,” she told The Face in 2020. “But when we joined Fleetwood Mac in ​’75, for the whole of ​’75, it was around but we never bought it. And then when we got into 1976, it started to really be around.”

Roughly a decade later, a doctor warned her that continued usage could kill her.

“One day I went to a doctor who told me I had a really big hole in my nose and that if I didn’t stop I could have a brain hemorrhage and if nobody was around, I could collapse and die,” she explained. “And I said, well, of course then my vanity kicked in and I’m like, oh my God, my nose could just fall off my face, oh no, no, no!”

After hearing this, Nicks called the Betty Ford Center to reserve a room for herself. She decided she wanted to keep this under wraps, though, and told no one.

She lashed out during her intervention

Soon after reserving a space for herself, her ear, nose, and throat doctor asked Nicks to join him for dinner.

“I’m like, OK, maybe he’s dying or something, you know, and he wants to tell me. So I go, OK,” she explained. “We go out and we drive up to this big house, we pull up in the driveway and I’m going, this house looks familiar, but I’m not sure whose house it is, but it’s familiar. So we walk up, knock on the door, and he says he has to get something, he has to pick up something, right. I’m like, this is crazy. And so the door opens up, and it’s my manager.”

When she walked into the house, her mother and father were there.

“My manager is like, we want you to go into rehab, we think it’s a good idea because you’re not doing well — I mean, you’re doing fine, you’re singing great, and everything but you need to go in. I was so mad that I said, OK, where do you want me to go and when? They’re like, oh … I said, I’ll go tomorrow, you a**holes. And they’re all looking at me, they were all stone faced by now, because I’m furious.”

As Nicks was being secretive, they didn’t realize that she was already planning to go. She didn’t like that they were staging an intervention after she made the decision.

“I said, well, f*** all of you, I have a bed at Betty Ford and I’m leaving the day after tomorrow to go to Palm Springs, to go to rehab on my own dime and it’s my idea, not your idea, and you’re all fired,” she said. “And mom and dad, I’ll see you in Phoenix later. I walked out, got in the car, and made my doctor take me home and I never spoke to that doctor again for five years.”

Stevie Nicks is proud of herself for stopping her cocaine use

Nicks expressed her happiness that she decided to go to rehab on her own.

“I managed to save myself,” she said on Beyond the Influence Radio, per Vanity Fair. “I got through some pretty scary moments, but I saved me, nobody else saved me.”


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She credits herself for surviving her more difficult years.

“I survived by myself. I checked myself into rehab,” she said. “Nobody did that for me. I did it and that’s like with my whole life.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.