The first time rapper Macklemore drank, he was 13 or 14. He drank alone—stealing from his parents’ liquor cabinet—and had about 12 shots. Throughout his freshman year of high school, he skipped school to drink and smoke weed. He later began misusing OxyContin.
Macklemore has been making music since about the age he started drinking, but he knew he couldn’t write unless he was sober. He would get sober for a month in order to write music, go back to using substances and not writing at all, then get sober for another month to write more music. He wrote this way through his teens and some of his 20’s. 
He says he understands firsthand how younger people might struggle with accepting that they have an addiction. They might wonder if they’ve been drinking or using long enough to even know. They might feel it’s unfair that they don’t “get” to use substances like their friends.
“I went for years like, ‘Why can I not f*cking stop? Why can I not drink and smoke like my friends? Why when I wake up, that’s the first thing I’m thinking about and I have to go get and other people can just do it on the weekend or three nights a week?'”
In 2008, at age 25, he had a stay at addiction treatment that he says saved his life. He also says Alcoholics Anonymous taught him the power of sober community and being of service. “That’s the most important thing in this world is being of service to other people; getting outside of your f*cking head. That has been my story.”
Though Macklemore relapsed in 2011 and 2014, he has now been continuously sober for over six years. This time, his now-wife’s first pregnancy was what prompted him to recommit to his recovery. But with this recommitment to recovery, he’s once again found that music comes more easily.
“As it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery—not just sobriety, but recovery—music is there. It always has been. Songs write themselves. My work ethic turns off-to-on in a second and I get happy again. I get grateful again.”
And Macklemore is happy. He says that recovery is what brings him this joy, more than any of the benefits he gets from being famous.
“I’ve gotten back to what makes me happy,” he said. “Not in the immediate moment; what’s going to make me happy in the long run. None of the money, fame, the attention, the touring, the endorsement, the Jordan shoe, 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.”
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build a sober life you can feel grateful for. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.