Macklemore on his addiction: ‘As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be clean’

Macklemore, 39, has a new single out with MLE Choppa called “Faithful,” about his struggle with addiction. He’s been open for years in his lyrics and in interviews about his drug and alcohol addiction about and relapsing. Unfortunately he had a relapse over the pandemic, which he revealed earlier but I’m just hearing about it now. I covered an interview he did back in 2018 and was so impressed with his candor and how vulnerable he was about losing friends – and himself – to addiction. I feel the same about this recent interview with People and about his new music. He’s helping people know they’re not alone.

Macklemore is reflecting on his journey with addiction.

The Grammy-winning MC, 39, released his latest single, “Faithful,” on Friday, giving listeners a glimpse into his past struggles with addiction and remembering the friends he lost early on. The song, featuring NLE Choppa, was written after Macklemore says he was faced with a “familiar darkness I naïvely thought I had escaped” two years ago.

“It’s a personal song for me, reflecting on my struggles with addiction,” he shared in a release. “As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be clean, and yet the disease I have is always present, it always follows me. The record explores the presence of addiction in every facet of my life, and how pervasive and insidious it can be.”

The song’s first verse starts with Macklemore reflecting on friendships that ended early, including one with “Malcolm” — seemingly in reference to his friend Mac Miller, who died of an accidental overdose in September 2018. He goes on to touch on popping pills, facing his inner thoughts, and the need for “AA,” in the track. NLE treats his verse like a letter to a friend, as he raps about considering your actions before touching a loaded gun, and the importance of being there for your daughters. Macklemore has three kids with his wife Tricia Davis: Sloane, 7, and Colette, 4, and their baby son Hugo, whom they welcomed last year.

“He brought the song into his world, writing from the perspective of a supportive friend and showing up in a desperate time,” Macklemore shared. “I thought the song would push him out of his comfort zone, but honestly he sounded right at home in the pocket and brought a whole new concept to the record. It’s been refreshing spending some time with him. I’m hella impressed not only by his pen, but his perspective on life and quest for spiritual growth.”

The musician previously opened up to PEOPLE earlier this year about his relapse during the pandemic, which came 12 years after he first started his recovery journey in 2008, when his father helped get him into treatment after drug and alcohol abuse.

“It was really painful for myself and for the people who loved me. I stopped doing the work,” he told PEOPLE of his 2020 relapse. “When I have to be still and exist within my own head, that’s where my disease lives… [But] I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t need to pretend like I’m some perfect dude in recovery.’ I am not at all, and there’s no shame.”

[From People]

I’m sorry to hear that he relapsed over the pandemic and am glad that Macklemore is doing better now and focusing on his work and family. It must have been especially hard for musicians to deal with lockdown. He’s telling on himself here with “Faithful” and in this interview. As they say in AA, we’re only as sick as our secrets. I have mixed feelings about AA as it’s religious and it can be insular, but it’s absolutely helped me stay sober through tough times and you can take what you need from it. Plus it’s free and in the city where I live now there are meetings all day. I’ve made good friends there who are dedicated to turning their lives around. When celebrities are open about how they struggled and how precious their sobriety is to them, it surely saves lives.

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5 Responses to “Macklemore on his addiction: ‘As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be clean’”

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  1. Stef says:

    He is an incredible talent and it’s good to see him being so candid and open about addiction. Hopefully his message can reach others as a beacon of hope.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    AA has failed. AA has succeeded. These two have coexisted in almost equal measure imo. It is the very nature of humans to have it so. My husband began his sober fever dream in the aughts. He didn’t become sober until almost four years ago. The time between is riddled with emotional roller coasters for everyone orbiting the alcoholic, but the alcoholic is the only one who can do the work, who must do the work. It’s all hard.

    • Christine says:

      This, thank you, and I am so glad your husband found his sobriety.

      My ex-husband was an alcoholic, who died of Covid, while in the hospital for the pancreatitis he had lived with for years, due to alcohol.

      It’s all hard.

  3. Katy says:

    AA shouldn’t be thought of as a religious program. But the spiritual awakening/reliance it champions is often portrayed in those words as it is up to the individual to determine their own concept of a higher power. (Just last night I heard someone refer to the “big book and the other good book” and I shuddered internally.) Thankfully there are so many places in the readings and programs where it makes this distinction clear. It helps me if I remember the primary purpose of staying sober and helping others achieve sobriety. Thankfully, religion plays no part in that 🙂

  4. theotherviv says:

    Let me not lie, Choppa is a puppy and not my target group but I am a lil in love with that green suit.