Macklemore has been a longtime advocate for addiction recovery, and has always been honest about his own struggles with sobriety since he first admitted himself into rehab for drug addiction and alcoholism in August 2008.
In a new interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show, the star opened up about his relapse in the summer of 2020. “It was an intense time. The life that I knew, just like all of our lives, was stripped away. I’m used to a certain schedule of touring, of being gone, of being home, of recovery and being able to go to a physical 12-step meeting,” he explained. “That stopped during COVID. Eventually, I’m on Instagram while being on Zoom and I’m just not really paying attention to the meetings. Eventually — and this is what happens when I don’t prioritize my recovery — if I don’t put that first, then I will lose everything that I’m putting in front of it. That’s what happens.”
He added that “luckily,” the relapse only lasted a few weeks, but caused a lot of “pain” that he still feels two and a half years later. “I’m still working on getting back trust, but I think that it gave me a reprieve, a reminder again, a slap in the face. Not a delicate reminder, but a slap in the face reminder,” he said. “‘This is your life. You get one of these. What are you going to do with this precious time on this Earth? Do you want to be secretive? Do you want to be hiding? Do you want to be in the shadows, or do you want to live your life to it’s fullest potential, get back on it and be honest?’”
Macklemore also channeled that pain into Ben, his upcoming album out on March 3. “I think that pain is a catalyst for great art. I don’t want to inflict the pain on myself anymore to make art. It’s not like I need to self-sabotage in order to create, but I think that it created some darker, more honest and vulnerable moments on the album,” he shared. “Again, a relapse is not […] any sort of part of the process, but it does create that vulnerability.”
Watch the full interview below.