As the coronavirus lockdown and growing political unrest darken the planet, Eminem shared an inspiring milestone on Instagram late Monday evening.
The 47-year-old “Rap God” has been sober for 12 years.
That is certainly an enormous feat of strength for Marshall Mathers. The famous rapper struggled for years with an addiction to prescription pills.
That is to say, at one point, his daily consumption of Vicodin, Ambien, and Valium topped 90 pills a day during his darkest moments.
Mathers described his harrowing addiction in uncomfortable detail for an incredible 2011 Rolling Stone interview entitled, “Eminem: On The Road Back From Hell.”
In the single “3 a.m.” from his 2009 album Relapse, Eminem rapped:
Swallowin’ a Klonopin while I’m noddin’ in and out on the ottoman
At the Ramada Inn, holding onto the pill bottle, then
Lick my finger and swirl it ’round the bottom
And make sure I got all of it
After his first attempt at sobriety in 2005 with some time in rehab, Mathers relapsed when someone he knew gave him some unidentified blue pills.
They turned out to be methadone, and taking them landed the erstwhile sober rapper in the hospital:
My doctor told me the amount of methadone I’d taken was equivalent to shooting up four bags of heroin. I probably wouldn’t have taken it. But as bad as I was back then, I can’t even say 100 percent for sure.
After getting knee surgery in 2008, Eminem had another relapse. His pill addiction spiraled out of control again. But this time, his recovery would last for 12 years and counting.
The following year he released Relapse, his first studio album in five years. And he hasn’t looked back ever since.
Little did he know winning his battle with drugs would be so inspiring to others in 2020. Eminem’s 12-year sobriety milestone might be exactly what other addicts need to see during the coronavirus lockdown.
It’s good that Eminem has continued his streak despite the unique challenges we all face this year. Recovering addicts are having a tough time during the coronavirus lockdown. According to the Addiction Center:
Eminem had the benefit of treatment centers to kickstart his sobriety with rehab. But the coronavirus lockdown has left many without support.
In Italy, a psychologist at an addiction treatment center in Rome says the lockdown has prevented recovering addicts from accessing methadone, an opioid substitution therapy. It’s a problem all over Europe.
Earlier this month, ABC News reported that coronavirus lockdowns have shuttered U.S. support groups for recovering addicts. A 29-year-old recovering opioid addict who uses meetings to stay sober said:
I got sober in 2009 from opioid addiction. I just celebrated 10 years in September. For me, I got sober at 19 and I thought I was the only person who had these issues and then I started going to meetings and I started to see all these other people who had gone through similar things and connecting with them.
But he says the coronavirus lockdown is preventing other alcohol and substance addicts from getting the help he needed ten years ago:
That’s just something you can’t produce with the Zoom meetings.
A primary therapist at a Florida rehab center warned relapses are spiking during the coronavirus lockdown:
We have already seen relapses happening, moments of crisis, obviously a lot of mental health issues associated with the addiction and all the stresses that are going on in the world. I’m definitely afraid that the numbers are just getting started now.
As recovering addicts face unique challenges during the coronavirus lockdown, Eminem’s milestone is a reminder that it is possible to stay sober for years, one day at a time.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.