Judy Collins on Depression and Alcoholism

The legendary singer tells Father Beck about her new book and her spirituality.
9:19 | 10/28/11

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Transcript for Judy Collins on Depression and Alcoholism
Hi and welcome to focus on faith on father Edward back. My guess today's voice has been compared to that of an Angel. And talking about the one and only Judy Collins. She's recorded over forty albums in her career and by the way -- -- -- new and out called bohemian. But she may not know is that she is also an accomplished author and she has a new memoir out it's called suite Judy blue lies. My life in music. Judy welcome to focus thank you for. Will be here. It's so it's -- to me when I read this book. That what you have done is exactly what the title says you looked at your life through the lands of music music that. Matter to you music you recorder. Musical influences that -- Q what should choose who approached the book. The uses those songs that I've recorded probably tell the story of my life in a way that nothing else quite can. Even though I have now looked behind and within all of those songs to find out. What I think about the people that wrote them how I found them just -- Just the coincidences of where they came from from the very beginning you know from being a child. In a musical family where I learned Danny boy from the singing of my father -- I learned. Where a plan and all -- great American songbook songs from my dad and from all the people he interviewed on Newsradio -- listening to that show. Where I learned Mozart and and -- -- from the playing the studying that I did. And what some may not know is that the title of the book suite Judy blue eyes is a song written by Stephen -- with whom you had. Around a long love affair. Yes well it was so -- love it was a hot -- heavy love affair for. But some short time for a year you're now. And actually the French -- -- lasted four and 4740. Years which is quite remarkable. And then when I read the book there were stuff that he recorded even songs to. You -- value that went in -- vault here for the middle of the night all alone in even a big. This you know not released. And they trying to and they work they were released in 2007. In in an album called just -- tape. And I had remembered vaguely that he said. I'm going to sit down here. In the studio with John mania are our engineer on my album that we've been making together in 1968. And you're gonna go to I was coming back to New York to do some things here they lived here didn't live in -- So he -- in the dark. And recorded all these songs free Crosby stills and that she had just begun just -- that group in David Crosby decided they do this. I don't think Graham had had to -- yet to be part of the group. Everything was all about me on that album except wooden ships. And as I said maybe that was to a nice. He noted that whole area. Which has been called the drugs sex and rock and roll era and -- written the book I found out. That was pretty accurate even with your life through what do you think it was just the air that led you to get involved in all of that was it just wouldn't -- no -- when he Whitman. I was convinced that freedom sexual freedom was important that breaking all the rules was important. That that finding a way to talk about secrets was important and now in my family there were secrets there was alcoholism. Which no one talked about minority. A suicide attempt at fourteen which -- and talked about and so I was really on the brink of one into dive into an activist role. And my music and my social consciousness brought me right into that role big time. And you mention. With that role in this alcohol addiction and you -- very movingly on how severe that addiction was became -- drinking at one -- -- court. Of alcohol a day. And -- I was amazed that in the writing is that you lasted so long drinking now -- looking for a cure going to different psychiatrists have been there tests. Tell me why you think alcohol -- such a -- -- and illness. And of course there was no there were no alternatives being present it to -- -- mean this was a time when. Therapists including all of my therapists I've found a bunch of therapists in New York with -- was an excellent idea for people to use. Alcohol to treat their depression and their anxiety so -- I I would -- -- stuck with them for fifteen years I mean I want. I knew I was an alcoholic from the time I was probably. Nineteen or twenty. I was in therapy by the time -- -- -- century and a I was a working functioning. Alcoholic very very high functioning. And it was not only you but I want to buy your son Clark their only son. He also drug and alcohol addicted -- much of his life exit is not a fact when you go into -- through detox rehab. You write to you need to know where he was who's coming out on drugs somewhere he was struggling at the same time you know when you lose and we have -- And he gets clean but then at least 33 has a daughter. He commit suicide. Why do you think. He relapsed why do you think he committed suicide after all of that journey that he -- me. Complicated. Answer there never any -- every suicide of course. Has reasons I mean there are things that we think we can't live through. The past midnight and the illness of course. He had been sober for almost seven years and of course along with the illness of alcoholism. When you're sober. It's a lot of work of course but also -- happens to people and he was in -- What you write in the book is would really help to heal from the alcoholism from his. With spirituality and your music -- those two. And your spirituality intrigued me because -- mr. raised Methodist. Yes the little Emerson philosophy does -- Sony and messages that are and -- in Methodist. And yet its -- evolved. You -- something rather eclectic I think you write in the book that you have. Buddha in your house you have -- Francis. An interest in -- yes I do tell me what you're spirituality really is about -- When I found the meditation. System that really works for me which was given to me by my teacher doctor Rico who led me to -- and on -- after -- -- -- I got so -- in treatment treatments it saved my life I highly recommended to anyone and everyone who has anything. Going on that they can't deal with. -- I've signed for me although it can be helpful in life of course tried to have -- all those years I was drinking but you know you can't go to therapy drunk I did many many many times but finally. When I found. Doctor New York who sent me treatment. The lights went on and I came out of the darkness. But I -- been hunting and searching for many many years I had done a lot of yoga had been done a lot of Reading. Adventure with. Krishna -- met such a -- on the minute yoga and -- Through doctor Rico and when I started doing the self realization. Practice. That comes with a prayer that says -- balances. That we we -- to you know going on. Krishna Buddha All Saints and all gurus from all religions. -- asking every every one of those people. Those those presences to take a look -- -- -- spend a moment thinking about it -- I'm sort of a naturalist I suppose. And I'm very eager to find whatever it is and whatever religion is going on that might make sense. It is. It is an adventure because I've I've always been told that if you find one thing that works. That allows you dive deeply. Into the spiritual practice then all the others will reveal their secrets to you and I think that's true. I think that there is comfort to be found in all aspects of any contemplation. Contemplative life. Any life which involves. -- and prayer and I do think meditation is the necessity just like any. Everyday stuff I do in some -- -- -- it's not always directly doing my yoga and then sitting. But I do it in various. Segments when I -- get it. Wherever and however -- can so weather and an airplane or walking by a river where sitting at home by myself. I find a way to stay in touch with something bigger than myself.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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