Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney is breaking his silence, revealing that he's been sober for more than two years since he was arrested in 2021 for DUI after a crash outside Nashville, Tennessee.
The country music musician wrote a lengthy post on X on Jan. 3 in which he reflected on the past two years and the changes in his life.
"First off, I am alive!" he wrote. "There have been so many rumors and opinions thrown around about me — but I’m finally healthy and ready for the world."
In 2021, Rooney was arrested for DUI when he hit a line of trees in Franklin, Tennessee, at 4 a.m., authorities said. He pleaded guilty in 2022 and served two days in jail.
"I was drunk and I was so far gone with my life — I was completely out of control and finished with trying to fight the fears, depression and anxieties that had spun me out in a way I’ve never experienced before," he wrote about that time in the new post. "My drinking had been an issue for many years — and as they say in AA and treatment, it’s a progressive disease. I am living proof that the progressive nature of drinking can really ratchet up and as I grew older as an adult my drinking grew worse."
Rooney wrote that a combination of the pressures of his career and "pain and trauma" from his childhood contributed to his drinking. Rascal Flatts, which was nominated for four Grammy Awards and produced 12 No. 1 country hits, disbanded in 2020 when a farewell tour was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The musician also detailed how his drinking affected his marriage. Rooney finalized his divorce from ex-wife Tiffany Fallon, with whom he shares three children, in September, according to People.
"I was not a good father — I was not a good husband — and I was not a good band mate to my business partners," he wrote. "I probably would’ve never taken responsibility for any of this if it hadn’t been for my car wreck on Sep 9, 2021. And btw, going to jail sucks!"
Rooney was thankful no one else was involved or injured in his DUI crash. He wrote that it led to four months of treatment for alcoholism in Utah.
"I was ashamed of myself. I was so full of fear and guilt, that it took me all of the those 4 months to really start understanding treatment and the AA way and how to best utilize these new tools that I downloaded from the amazing clinicians, counselors and other patients there," he wrote. "My life has been changed forever — and I’m grateful for the change."
The guitarist said that Jan. 13 will mark 28 months of sobriety.
"I never believed I could actually live my life without drinking," he wrote. "It had become such a huge part of my daily and nightly routine. I had tried to stop on my own in the past but the powerful nature of alcohol always found its way back into my life.
"I learned that I had to come to the realization that I was powerless over alcohol — and a power much greater than myself (and much greater than alcohol) was the only way to stop drinking and completely restore my sanity. God intervened and helped me to get my life back."
He is now focused on working to protect his family and sobriety.
"I have new healthy boundaries for the first time in my life," he wrote. "Only positive, loving, caring & understanding people may enter. It’s an absolute blessing in ways I can barely put into proper words. But for now, I’ll just say — thank you God!!
"Here’s to making the best of 2024 and living our most healthiest, happiest and goal oriented lives ever!!"