Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix Talks Addiction, Childhood Trauma

By Bryan Le 08/12/19

The Papa Roach singer revealed his struggles with addiction and expressed sympathy to those suffering from trauma.

Papa Roach and their frontman Jacoby Shaddix performing live at Ray Just Arena in Russia
Hurricanehank |

Jacoby Shaddix, the lead singer of Papa Roach, got candid about his struggles with recovery in a conversation with Philadelphia radio station WMMR-FM. Shaddix touched on his own sober journey, the childhood trauma he experienced, and how he feels for others who have had their lives affected by trauma.

The rock star is now sober, but he said that the path to clarity was not an easy one for him, nor one he could have walked alone.

“I had a mean struggle with it, man. I tried to get sober for the first time when I was 27 and struggled with it for years and fell off and got back on,” he recalled. “Then I finally found a support group of other musicians that were traveling the road and living the life that I was living, 'cause it's quite unique, in a sense. And I found a way to do it and a way to find some peace.”

Rock Bottom

Shaddix was inspired to get sober after hitting rock bottom. In a moment of clarity, he realized he was only hurting himself and others.

“My behaviors and my actions and the ways that I was treating myself and my loved ones, it was just not acceptable. I was just drinking to numb my feelings and try to escape it, but the problem was always there,” Shaddix admitted. “I was like, 'Alright, it's time to face it.' I don't wanna repeat this cycle of broken family and broken children.”

His own struggles with substance abuse stems from his own traumatic experiences as a child.

“I grew up and didn't know how to deal with my emotions and my feelings of the dark experience that happened to me as a child and the brokenness that I carried from that,” Shaddix said. “Trauma, it's real. Trauma affects people in a lot of different ways, and you've gotta find a way to deal with it. I'm still unpackaging all this stuff from my youth and coming to peace with it.”

Trauma & Addiction

Now that Shaddix is sober, he is sensitive to the trauma of others, especially military vets.

“You see a lot of U.S. military veterans are coming back and they've experienced just horrific traumas… and my heart just goes out to them,” he said. "I did a bunch of research on homelessness in America, and a large portion of our [homeless] population are U.S. military veterans.”

His own father was a Vietnam veteran who passed his trauma onto Shaddix.

“My father was a Vietnam veteran and he had that experience and I saw how that played out in his life,” he revealed. “Man, the horrors of war… the trauma doesn't end on the battlefield, people carry that trauma home. Soldiers got families, and you see how it affects the family and the kids.”

Shaddix urged anyone listening to seek help if they feel like they need it.

“The struggle for people is real, and I just encourage anybody that's out there struggling, if you've got these demons that you're dealing with, I guarantee there's somebody around you that wants to help you, and do not be silent about your struggle,” he advised. “If you're alone in this, it's gonna take you out. If you don't speak up, it's just gonna take you down farther and farther and farther. So speak. Call a hotline if you're struggling with life itself. There's a lot of avenues for people to go out there and get help.”

If you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, immediately seek help. You are not alone.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)

Call 911

Send a text to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. This free text-message service provides 24/7 support to those in crisis.

Call a friend or family member to stay with you until emergency medical personnel arrive to help you.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter