Macklemore opens up about sobriety journey, says he started drinking at 14

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Macklemore remembers the day he first tried alcohol — and he wasn’t even old enough to drive at the time.

On a recent On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast appearance, the artist revealed he was 14 when he drank for the first time and was instantly hooked. Because of that, Macklemore says he considers alcohol a drug.

He remembered raiding his parents’ liquor cabinet and pouring himself a shot of vodka. “I had on my undershirt. I had Tupac [playing] in the background. I poured one shot. I took the shot and I was like, ‘Oh my God. I love the way that I feel right now,'” he recalled. 

Macklemore, who estimated he was about 130 pounds at the time, said he kept going back for more until he “took 12 shots of vodka in maybe a 30-minute time period.”

“That was the beginning of my drinking career, which turned out to be a very painful one,” he added. He says it led him to drugs and other bad habits.

Macklemore also likened his addiction to an allergy: if he took a hit of anything, he wanted more and didn’t want to stop. He believes he turned to drugs and alcohol as a toxic coping mechanism to deal with trauma that happened to him as a child.

Macklemore is now sober after relapsing in 2020. He said he’s found a community where he can express himself openly and found the acceptance he needed to recover.

“This is the disease of addiction. This is an incurable disease,” he continued, noting this isn’t something he will graduate or go into remission from. “This will be with me forever.”

Macklemore’s new album, Ben, is out now.

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