How Elton John Saved This Million Dollar Addict
Tom Cridland. The name may not mean much on this side of the pond, but in England it’s a bold-face icon. Why? Well, in the first place he flipped a £6,000 government start-up loan into a full-on clothing concern that’s bringing in six digits annually. In the second, he’s since branched out into podcasting, investing and music. None of which would be possible without the songs of Elton John.
Yet it’s not just the songs of Elton John that has given Cridland a new lease on life, it is Sir Elton himself, who’s both role model and, now, friend to the entrepreneur.
None of this would’ve happened without a shout-out from long-time Elton John drummer Nigel Olsson, who wore a purple Tom Cridland suit to 2017 Glastonbury. That appearance marked the beginning of a close and fruitful collaboration; a collaboration which helped Tom Cridland Clothing become a £3m brand.
Million Dollar Addict
“Stop drinking, start making millions.”
So goes the through-line on Cridland’s memoir, Million Dollar Addict. And while the line is nice and punchy, it took a few years of belts before it became a thing – belts from a singer as well as a fighter, sometimes simultaneously.
That brings us to Elton John. Someone down the corridor at the University of Bristol turned Tom on to Elton’s 60th Birthday Concert at Madison Square Garden.
“I was gobsmacked,” says Cridland. “I fell in love with the live show pretty much immediately. It wasn’t just Elton himself who I began to idolize, but also his longtime band members, Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar.”
That sparked a friendship with Olsson (and subsequently Johnstone), as well as a deep relationship with Elton’s music. In fact, so deep was the stirring that Cridland put together a live tribute show of him performing nothing but Elton.
The show was a hit. But not only because of the performer or the songs, but for the sobriety that John brought to the table. Cridland simply used Elton’s long-standing sobriety as a blueprint for how to behave in the world.
The results were phenomenal, right from the start. Once Cridland wrapped his head around the one day at a time dictum that John had been practicing since 1990, he found true strength and solace. And every part of his life benefited from the change.
In Praise of Elton John
Like we said, Elton John has been sober since 1990. He fought multiple addictions besides drugs too, including to sex and shopping. John also suffered from bulimia and anger management issues.
John admitted that if he hadn’t asked for help three decades ago, he would be dead.
“My soul was black, like a charred piece of steak, until I said, ‘I need help,’” John told Anna Chan at Billboard. “And suddenly, a little pilot light in my soul came along going, ‘Yes, I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m still here. I can still be rescued.’”
And rescued he was! But he took his time with sobriety. In fact, when John first got sober, he took a year off work to focus solely on his recovery. He now calls says that was “the best decision he ever made.” During that first year, he’d sometimes attend five Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings a day. He was determined to apply everything he learned in treatment and the program to his recovery.
Even when Elton John started touring again, he continued to make attending meetings a priority
“Wherever I went in the world, I found a meeting to attend,” John told Variety. “That’s not as hard as it might sound. Even if I didn’t speak the language, I still attended meetings abroad…Those meetings kept me grounded. The program gave me a structure for living so that I could go on stage every night, do my job well and actually enjoy it.”
It’s not hard to see how Elton John serves as an exemplary role model to follow, or how Cridland used the rockstar’s example as a blueprint for living. Thing about it is though, is that while John is indeed a high-flying rockstar, his example is as down to Earth as it gets. In other words, nothing but grounded honesty.
We congratulate Tom Cridland on finding a way to stop drinking and make millions; we hope he shares his mission with others as well. We especially thank Elton John for being such a beacon of bright light amid the darkness. And for providing the kinda catalog that compels people like Cridland to step up and sing for sobriety. There’s nothing like hearing someone truly sing for their sobriety that reinforces one’s faith in the power of song.
If you or someone you love is having issues with substance abuse, please give Healing Properties a call. We’ve been helping men get sober since 2002; we’d be honored to help you too. Really.
(Photo Courtesy Tom Cridland)