Music & Musicians

Macklemore Details What Led to His ‘Very Painful' Relapse

Macklemore reflected on how his struggles have played a part in his music

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Macklemore is feeling glorious for his chance to start again.

The musician — born Ben Haggerty — opened up about relapsing during the pandemic after being 14 years sober and revealed how he found a path back to sobriety.  

"I am a recovering addict and alcoholic and have been for the last 14 years," he shared on "The Tonight Show" Feb. 28. "And then COVID happened and a big part of my recovery community is going to physical 12 step meetings. Once those stopped, I was alone and the disease of addiction was like, 'Yo, this is crazy. The world has stoped you can get high.'"

Macklemore explained that he had "stopped doing the things that prevented me from getting high and I listened to that voice."

"It was a couple weeks of a relapse and very painful," the 39-year-old recalled. "And I'm still working on trust issues with myself and within my close circle of friends."

However, the "Can't Hold Us" singer took away a valuable lesson.

Host Jimmy Fallon brings out Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to take on Elle Fanning, his guest for the night, for a game of catch phrase.

"It definitely was a reminder that whatever I put in front of my recovery will be the first thing that I lose," Macklemore admitted. "I think, for me, it's not a linear path. It's the one disease that tells you, ‘You don't have a disease.'"

He noted that along with trying his best and making mistakes along the way, "There's some [mistakes] in the future too, somewhere along the line, in some capacity with my life but I just want to be able to share that with the people that I love and that follow me."

Macklemore—whose third studio album Ben comes out March 3—reflected on how his struggles have played a part in his music.

"The relapse was an opportunity for me to get back to that place of, 'Okay, what went on?'" he shared. "Let me talk about it and let's get vulnerable."

Back in January 2021, Macklemore opened up about the help he received from the sober community.

"I didn't know that there was a community that was there to support, love me unconditionally, and had the same f--king disease," he said during an appearance on "People's Party with Talib Kweli." "It continues to save my life."

He noted, "That's the most important thing in the world, is being of service to other people, getting outside of your own f--king head."

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