considers himself "blessed" to have survived the September 19 plane crash that left him and Travis Barker with second- and third-degree burns and killed four others, including Barker's assistant, Chris Baker, and bodyguard Charles Still.
In his first interview since the crash, AM told People magazine that during his recovery, he grew closer to God and that he now believes he was saved "for a reason."
"I've prayed every night for the past 10 years. There's a lot more to thank God for now. My philosophy is 'live life to the fullest,' [and] I was saved for a reason," he told the magazine. "Maybe I'm going to help someone else. I don't question it. All I know is, I'm thankful I'm still here."
(Click for People Magazine's first post-crash photos of DJ AM.)
He also said that while he's grateful to be alive, he's wrestled with guilt, knowing that four people didn't survive the crash.
"My emotions go back and forth," he said. "At the first hospital, I screamed, 'Thank you!' Then I wondered, 'Why did I live?' I can't believe I made it. Any second, it can all be gone."
AM (born Adam Goldstein) also gave People his harrowing account of the crash itself, saying that he had just taken off his shoes and fallen asleep when he "woke up to Travis screaming and the plane engulfed in flames."
"I remember thinking it was like 'Miami Vice,' where a car is on fire and you run before the gas tank explodes — 'We gotta get out of here!' " he said. "Travis jerked open the door and slid on his butt down a wing that was on fire. I tried to cover my face as I jumped through a fireball. As soon as I hit the ground, I remembered 'stop, drop and roll,' so I started rolling.
"I saw Travis running and flailing, trying to put out fire on his body. He screamed, 'What do I do?' and I said, 'Roll!' He did, but the fire didn't go out," AM continued. "He tried to rip his clothes off. I finally put the flames out by smothering him with my body. Some of my burns are from that. His sock was on fire — I burned my fingers taking it off."
Goldstein was eventually transferred to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, where he was "in and out of consciousness" receiving treatment on his burns. On September 26, he took a 40-hour bus ride from Georgia to California, where he entered the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital to undergo further treatment, including receiving skin grafts on his arm and neck.
"They shaved my head and took layers of skin from my scalp. To heal the wounds, I was in a hyperbaric chamber for 90 minutes twice daily for four days. It's claustrophobic," he told People. "One of my first nights home, I watched 'Iron Man' with friends. In the scene where Robert Downey Jr. comes out of the cave with a blowtorch, my whole body cringed. That night, I had a nightmare someone spilled fuel on me and was trying to light me on fire. I woke up and thought, 'Oh my God, this is going to happen forever.' "
Goldstein said he's considering seeing a therapist to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder, but he's started to recover mentally too, thanks to events like Tuesday night's "Welcome Home DJ AM" party at Hollywood's Avalon club and a high-profile gig DJing for Jay-Z at the Palladium, scheduled for Wednesday night. "I realize I have 1,000 friends who've been there for me. I am blessed," he said.
And though he's on the mend both physically and spiritually, he said there's one thing that will never be the same again: travel.
"I'm looking forward to every part but traveling. For four years, I've flown to Vegas almost every weekend to DJ," he told the magazine. "I think, 'Will I drive? Maybe.' I think I'll fly again commercially, but never on a small plane. It's too scary."