Since she's preparing to return to the music scene, the timing seemed right to bare her soul over the drug habit that she's recently kicked.
For the first time, Abdul reveals how hard it was for her to detox from a 12-year-long painkiller addiction.
"I could have killed myself," she tells this month's issue of Ladies' Home Journal.
The withdrawal was "the worst thing. I was freezing cold, then sweating hot, then chattering and in so much pain. It was excruciating. But at my very core, I did not like existing the way I had been."
Although Abdul claims that she never filmed an episode of "Idol" while under the influence — and vehemently denied any illegal drug use in the past — she did spend at least part of the last decade relying on painkillers and Chinese medicine to quietly combat her injury-induced chronic debilitating pain, she says.
Years of cheerleading, dancing injuries and two crashes — a 1992 car crash and a 1993 plane crash that required 15 spinal surgeries — contributed to a diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome in 2005. The illness left her with disabling pain, chattering teeth and shingles-like lesions.