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Jack Antonoff Says a Bad Mushroom Trip After His Sister Died Stopped Him from Doing Drugs: 'I Completely Lost My Mind'

"I never wanted to be out of control again," Antonoff said of how the experience changed his life

<p>Dave Benett/ Getty</p> Jack Antonoff in London in November 2023

Dave Benett/ Getty

Jack Antonoff in London in November 2023

Jack Antonoff had a life-changing experience taking mushrooms when he was grieving the loss of his sister.

In a new interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe on Tuesday, Antonoff, 39, reflected on a time growing up when he and his friends would "get really f---ed up" on pills, before the fentanyl epidemic made them inherently dangerous.

He was 18 years old still, experimenting with drugs and touring with his band Steel Train when his younger sister Sarah died of brain cancer at 13 years old.

"We were touring a lot and I was obviously just so f---ed up emotionally that I took a whole bunch of mushrooms one night with some friends and I completely freaked out," he recalled, referring to a time when he was grieving her death. "I completely lost my mind."

Related: Jack Antonoff Says Questioning Taylor Swift's Songwriting 'Is Like Challenging Someone’s Faith in God'

"And I think it was a combination of how much I took and the grief and the long story short is I was so f---ed up from that experience that to this day I feel allergic [to drugs]," he continued.

Antonoff said he's "grateful" for the experience, which he called "profound."

The music producer said that sometimes he still has "a drink or two" but the experience made him realize, "I never wanted to be out of control again."

"I'm grateful that I made that stupid mistake because a lot of my friends struggled, I know a lot of people who have struggled and continue to struggle," Antonoff said. "I got lucky that my rock bottom was more one that was mixing psychedelics and grief and not needles and fast cars and whatnot."

Related: Jack Antonoff Reveals His Other Grammys 'Lived' at His Parents' House

The lead singer of Bleachers talked to Lowe, 50, about the commercialization of grief today, saying that he recently learned there are more TikTok videos about domestic abuse these days than beauty products.

He's glad people are talking about difficult topics, but said it makes grief "isolating."

"I think that words like grief and trauma and depression are so commonly used right now that we almost need new words for people who are really… down there because there's depression and then there's not leaving the house," Antonoff explained.

<p>Dominik Bindl/WireImage)</p> Jack Antonoff at The New Look premiere in New York City in February 2024

Dominik Bindl/WireImage)

Jack Antonoff at The New Look premiere in New York City in February 2024

Related: Jack Antonoff Explains Why Working with Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey Has Gotten 'Loonier and Loonier'

He described the moment he realized that other people had moved on or "forgot" about Sarah's death as "gripping' and "informative."

"I don't blame anyone, but when life really carried on and I was still there, I was still in grief town and everyone just moves on and life does carry on which is beautiful," he said. "You really got to f---ing drag yourself into reality and it's not only the hardest work in the world, but it's also so sad because to re-enter reality is to also leave some stuff in the past."

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<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty </p> Jack Antonoff and wife Margaret Qualley at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2024

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Jack Antonoff and wife Margaret Qualley at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in February 2024

In 2017, Antonoff spoke exclusively with PEOPLE about how songwriting helps him grieve Sarah.

“Songwriting can be this tool to connect with people and talk about what you are going through," he said at the time.

"I used to write from a very lonely place, like, ‘Here’s my story, this is it.’ Now I’m writing from a place, like: ‘Well, everybody has that! Everybody’s got a then and now, and everybody’s trying to figure out how you not let go of the then but also not compromise the now.'"

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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