Jimmy Barnes reveals how meeting homeless woman helped him overcome alcohol and drug abuse

'This encounter made me realise how lucky I was': Jimmy Barnes, 64, has revealed how a chance encounter with a homeless woman 20 years ago helped him overcome years of alcohol and drug abuse

Jimmy Barnes reveals how a chance encounter with a homeless woman helped him overcome years of alcohol and drug abuse

Jimmy Barnes is not shy of discussing his devastating battle with drugs and alcohol in the late 1990s. 

And Jimmy, 64, has now revealed how meeting a homeless woman selling her drawings on the street was the trigger he needed to begin recovering from his substance abuse spiral.  

Appearing on his new podcast Story Time with Jimmy Barnes, the Cold Chisel rocker said he was living in Los Angels to record his 2000 album Soul Deeper, when he decided to venture out in search of vodka and cocaine.  

'This encounter made me realise how lucky I was': Jimmy Barnes, 64, has revealed how a chance encounter with a homeless woman 20 years ago helped him overcome years of alcohol and drug abuse

‘This encounter made me realise how lucky I was’: Jimmy Barnes, 64, has revealed how a chance encounter with a homeless woman in 2000 helped him overcome years of alcohol and drug abuse

‘I walked out of the studio. It was 11, or 12 o’clock in the day and we’re just about to get stared. And the horn section weren’t there yet, so I thought I could dash out and get prepped for the day.’ 

‘I was going to buy a bottle of vodka and then I was going to get a whole pile of cash from the ATM in case any drug dealers walk up,’ he explained.    

During his outing, Jimmy crossed paths with a woman sitting under a tree trying to sell her paintings. 

'I thought I could dash out and get prepped for the day': The Cold Chisel rocker said he was living in Los Angels to record his 2000 album Soul Deeper, when he decided to venture out in search of drugs and alcohol. Pictured in 2000

‘I thought I could dash out and get prepped for the day’: The Cold Chisel rocker said he was living in Los Angels to record his 2000 album Soul Deeper, when he decided to venture out in search of drugs and alcohol. Pictured in 2000 

Feeling sorry for her, Jimmy struck up a conversation and discovered that the woman was a former art teacher whose husband had died. 

‘I was in a bit of a bad state, but this encounter made me realise how lucky I was,’ the songwriter recalled. 

‘She was educated, sweet woman who just before this had lived in a nice house with a dog and her husband died and his finances weren’t in order and suddenly she ended up on the street. Her kids didn’t care, they’d moved away.’  

I felt better about myself': During his outing, Jimmy crossed paths with a woman sitting under a tree trying to sell her paintings. Heartbroken, Jimmy decided to purchase all her artworks using the $500 he was going to spend on drugs.

I felt better about myself’: During his outing, Jimmy crossed paths with a woman sitting under a tree trying to sell her paintings. Heartbroken, Jimmy decided to purchase all her artworks using the $500 he was going to spend on drugs.

Heartbroken, Jimmy decided to purchase all her artworks using the $500 he was going to spend on drugs. 

‘I went back to the studio and realised I wasn’t going to buy any drugs that day, but I felt better about myself,’ he explained. 

‘It’s like the dominoes, it was one of those things that started making me change the way I thought about life,’ he said, describing the woman as an ‘angel’.     

For confidential support in Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or click here 

Fate: 'It's like the dominoes, it was one of those things that started making me change the way I thought about life,' he said, describing the woman as an 'angel'

Fate: ‘It’s like the dominoes, it was one of those things that started making me change the way I thought about life,’ he said, describing the woman as an ‘angel’  

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