The singer told The New York Times: "I was kind of in a mental fog, and it had nothing to do with the booze. "My mind wasn't right. I wasn't focused. I went into a deep, deep depression after 9/11.
"9/11 just knocked the wind out of me, and I don't know even now if I've recovered from it. It really, really hurt that man could do that to man." Joel admitted that he doesn't "subscribe" to the 12-step program by Alcoholics Anonymous and has "a glass of wine once in a while".
William Martin "Billy" Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth-best-selling recording artist and the third-best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to the RIAA. His compilation album Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 is the third-best-selling album in the United States by discs shipped.
Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner, a 23-time Grammy nominee and one of the world's best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 150 million records worldwide. He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's 50th anniversary, with Billy Joel positioned at No. 23.
With the exception of the 2007 songs "All My Life" and "Christmas in Fallujah," Joel stopped writing and recording popular music after 1993's River of Dreams, but he continued to tour extensively until 2010.
Joel also responded to previous touring partner Elton John, who suggested that he had stopped songwriting "out of fear or laziness" and needed to take rehab more seriously. He replied: "He doesn't know anything about my private life."
Unfortunately for Joel, self-medicating is a sign of alcoholism. When someone uses alcohol on a regular basis as a coping mechanism, it may be a sign of a more serious problem. Drinking only worsens depression. Also, people who are depressed and who abuse alcohol have more frequent and severe episodes of depression, and are more likely to think about committing suicide.