Macklemore: Fame, Relapse & Recovery

Famed rapper Ben Haggerty, also known as Macklemore, has become well-known not only for his music but also for his sobriety. From the beginning of his career, he has been very open and honest about his road to recovery which is why his recent relapse in 2014 was shocking.

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Following his success in 2013 with Ryan Lewis, the pressure and expectations of fame became too much for Ben. “I held it together for a while,” he says. “But, eventually, I stopped going to my 12-step meetings.” He explains, “I was burnt out, I was super-stressed. We weren’t sleeping — doing a show every day, zigzagging all over the country. In terms of the media, I was getting put into a box that I never saw for myself. The pressure and the fame — everything. All the clichés, man — like not being able to walk around, having no privacy, and from this TV appearance to this TV appearance, and the criticism, and the lack of connection, and the lack of [12-step] meetings — all of that put into one pie was just… I just wanted to escape.”

Relapse Can Happen to Anyone

Probably filled with shame and embarrassment, he began taking prescription opiate pills and smoking marijuana again. In the beginning, he resorted to sneaking around as many addicts do. He said, “everyone knew, but they didn’t necessarily know”. He knew he should stop and then the bargaining with himself began: “You know, like, Monday, I’ma stop…. OK. Tuesday, I’ma stop…. OK, fuck it, I might as well go on to the weekend. Sunday, I’m done. But after this bag of weed…”. His fiancée, Tricia Davis, found sleeping pills in his shoes at the SXSW festival. This prompted him to sober up for a short period of time. He knew things were getting bad when he began showing up to meetings in sunglasses because it was too obvious that he was high and he stopped making music with Ryan Lewis. But, it wasn’t until the news of his fiancé being pregnant that he actually decided it was time to put an end to all of this. He said, “Since I heard that Tricia was pregnant, I was like, I need to grow up right now.”

Ben started by getting back into the routine that worked for him before. He begins his days with meditation, yoga, journaling and meetings before getting into his work.  “I’ve gotten back to what makes me happy,” he says. “Not in the immediate moment, [but] what’s going to make me happy in the long run. None of the money, the fame, the attention, the touring, the endorsement, the Jordan shoes, the TV appearances—none of that, literally none of it, comes close to the fulfillment and gratitude that I feel showing up to a meeting and being sober today”, he says. He further explained that his sobriety is like an “on switch” for his music writing: “And, as it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery—not just sobriety, but recovery—music is there…”.

Since his newfound sobriety his creative juices have been truly flowing. Ben and Lewis claim to be putting their final touches on their follow up album to The Heist. “I’ve never been that type of person who’s going to turn out a mixtape every few months,” says Ben. “I needed to figure out my path back to the studio, and figure out what I wanted to say. So I had to live.”

He says, We’ve been able to take our time with it, and it’s a great feeling to get to that point.” Their most recent single “Downtown” has gained praise with more than 80 million YouTube views over the past few months.

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How to Get Help if You or a Loved One are Struggling

Has a loved one recently approached you asking for help with their addiction? If you or someone you love is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction and would like to learn about the PHP program or other treatments Find Addiction Rehabs offers, call us at 1-877-959-7271 today.

Relapse doesn’t have to be part of your story, but it is part of the story of many other former addicts and alcoholics. Help is out here, and just a phone call away!

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