Keith Urban was "enslaved" by alcoholism.
The 50-year-old country singer entered rehab in 1998 but wishes he had taken steps to get sober much sooner as he was unable to reach his "full potential" while in the grips of addiction.
Speaking at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Texas, he said: "I wished I had gotten sober many years before I did, but I'm glad I finally got here.
"It has made it possible to do the things I do. I wasn't at my full potential. I was enslaved, is what I was."
And the 'Fighter' hitmaker admitted he still relies on his sobriety sponsor to help calm his anxiety about his career.
He said: "I have a very good sponsor; He said to me, 'Keith, do you know how much people think of you? ... Rarely.' It's a great leveller."
And Keith is grateful for the support of his wife Nicole Kidman - the mother of his daughters Sunday, nine, and seven-year-old Faith - who helped him "dare to suck" when it comes to trying new things.
He added: "The way I approach it [now] is, 'Let's do it. We can scrap it after the fact.' I learned that from my wife."
Meanwhile, Nicole previously credited Keith for boosting her self-esteem.
She explained: "I didn't [feel comfortable] as a kid or a teenager. Not even in my early 20s. Your confidence grows as you get older, particularly when you're in a loving relationship. Everything strengthens. A lot of that insecurity and desire to please is based on low self-esteem, so trying to build that is important. And Keith has been a huge part of it.
"I'm aware of being in a sweet spot right now but it takes contrasts to have that awareness. You have to have experiences, ups and downs and the idea that life is a long path. Right now, I'm the most balanced, awake, and alive I've ever been."