Macklemore is using his platform to be candid about recovery. In an interview with "Good Morning America" during National Recovery Month, the rapper spoke about what this journey has looked like for him over the years. While everyone's experience is different, Macklemore has relied on his community for support, and we've heard him express this through various interviews and even through his music. He said, "There is this kind of notion that, like, oh, if you want to be a rapper, if you want to be a rock star, drugs and alcohol go hand in hand, and for me that's just never been the case."
"I've been close to death too many times to count and it's scary. I choose life over death, I choose happiness over depression, I choose fulfillment over trying to fill an empty void," he said, per the show's site. "I got tired of being sick, I got tired of feeling like I didn't have a reason to wake up in the morning. I have purpose now. Those are all things that drugs and alcohol strip away from me immediately."
"I was definitely gambling with my life."
Macklemore said that his first "rock bottom" was what caused him to go to rehab in 2008. "I was definitely gambling with my life," he said, adding that he was misusing a prescription painkiller and "couldn't stop." He has relapsed "numerous" times since then, but earlier this year, he shared that he relapsed during the first summer of COVID. He's been sober since then, and he's aware of the fact that recovery can look different at different points in his life.
"Something that's so important in recovery is time. What I've realized along the way is that it's one day at a time. It's how am I showing up today. I can't get back that relapse from two years ago. I also didn't lose what I had before that," Macklemore said. "And I think that that's something that we kind of like beat ourselves up with the guilt and shame part of it is like, 'Oh, my God, I lost this time, I lost my date. And now, I have to, I have a new date. And I have to start over' — It's not all starting over, it's not all lost. And you didn't lose the time that you had. You just got a new clean date. And that's how I look at it."
He added: "In 2008, the idea of speaking about the disease of addiction, as a disease, hadn't really become commonplace. Mental health, therapy — all of these ways that now, today in 2022, are more used phrases or ways in seeking help, hadn't really been discussed publicly and I leaned into it. I think that when we do that and we share openly and honestly, then the stigma lessens and the disease of addiction is put at rest [momentarily] when we're talking about it."
If you or someone you know is in need of drug-related treatment or counseling, you can reach the Substance and Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on its Treatment Referral Routing Service helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).