Eminem Celebrates 11 Years Of Sobriety

By Paul Gaita 04/23/19

The iconic rapper took to social media to celebrate his sober milestone.

Photo via Instagram

Hip-hop superstar Eminem marked a milestone of sobriety on Instagram with an image of a medallion and the caption, "11 years - still not afraid."

The rap veteran (real name Marshall Mathers) has spoken in depth about his struggle with and recovery from a dependency on prescription medications, which he described in 2013 as "dark times… mostly due to taking a lot of pills and f—king drooling on myself."

Since then, he has rebounded both personally and professionally, as evidenced by the reception for his most recent album, Kamikaze (2018).

Mathers told Rolling Stone in 2011 that his dependencies on Vicodin, Ambien and Xanax began while he was filming the semi-autobiographical, Oscar-winning 8 Mile in 2002.

"We were doing 16 hours on the set, and you had a certain window where you had to sleep," he recalled. Ambien "knocked me the f—k out," which led to a prescription and constant use combined with the opioid painkiller Vicodin.

"I was taking so many pills that I wasn't even taking them to get high anymore," he told Rolling Stone. "I was taking them to feel normal. I want to say that in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium. And Vicodin… maybe 20, 30?"

In 2007, Mathers tried methadone, which he was told was "just like Vicodin, and they're easier on your liver." He soon began consuming large quantities of that drug as well. "My doctor told me the amount of methadone I'd taken was equivalent to shooting up four bags of heroin," he said in 2009.

In late December of that year, Mathers suffered a catastrophic overdose that left him unconscious for two days. 

But after only a week in the hospital, the rapper returned home, where weakness and exhaustion led to a torn meniscus, which in turn led to a relapse, seizure and a return to the hospital. "That's when I knew," he recalled. "I could either get help, or I am going to die."

With the aid of a rehab counselor, a rigid exercise schedule and the support of friends in recovery like Elton John, whom Mathers described as "like my sponsor," he committed to sobriety and in 2018 celebrated a decade of clean and sober living. 

The experience has given the rapper perspective on the addictions that have run throughout his family and his career.

"Rap was my drug," he said in 2009. "It used to get me high, and then it stopped getting me high. Then I had to resort to other things to make me feel that… now rap's getting me high again."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.