Former Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney had a lot to say upon his return to X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday — nearly 4,000 characters’ worth — about his battle with addiction and his road to recovery.
The 48-year-old musician, who was active on Twitter two years ago, began his lengthy post by apologizing to fans for his inactivity on social media. With a new year marking a new chapter, Rooney said it seemed like a “good day to send a message out to the world.”
“First off, I am alive!” Ronney said, before dispelling rumors that he was “transitioning to be a woman.” Instead, the “Life Is a Highway” rocker revealed that he nearly took his own life on Sept. 9, 2021, in a drunk-driving incident.
The Grammy-nominated musician was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after he drove his car into a tree line near Nashville, according to a 2021 Fox News report.
“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 said. “My drinking had been an issue for many years — and as they say in AA and treatment, it’s a progressive disease.”
Rooney said that the combination of work, family life and moving on from the “pain and trauma” of his childhood and early adult years had “become too much to bear.” He added that he was not a “good” presence for his three children, wife and band — a revelation he said he would not have realized without the 2021 crash.
The guitarist crashed his car more than a year after Rascal Flatts — also comprising Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus — announced its final tour, which was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the group also reportedly disbanded and Rooney filed for divorce from wife Tiffany Fallon.
After a contentious legal battle that included allegations of infidelity, Rooney and Fallon finalized their split in December 2023. They have three children: Jagger, Raquel and Devon.
In his tweet, Rooney praised God for the wake-up call and shared the details about his efforts to get sober, which began with four months of treatment at a Utah facility. Now, Rooney said, “My life has been changed for ever — and I’m grateful for this change.”
Come Jan. 13, Rooney said he will be sober for 28 months. The musician also praised his family and clinical advisors for helping him “get my life back.” This year, Rooney said he’s seeking to “protect my family and protect my sobriety.”
His missive concluded with his intentions to spread positivity and love to other people, including his social media followers.
“Thank you for all the love, support and prayers. I promise you, I’ve felt them all and I’m super appreciative,” he wrote. “Here’s to making the best of 2024 and living our most healthiest, happiest and goal oriented lives ever!!”