Back in April when Macklemore appeared on Dax Shepard‘s podcast, he did not expect to share that he had relapsed during COVID.
Macklemore felt inspired to share as Shepard had a relapse of his own.
“It was really painful for myself and for the people who loved me. I stopped doing the work,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue of his relapse during summer 2020.
“When I have to be still and exist within my own head, that’s where my disease lives… [But] I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t need to pretend like I’m some perfect dude in recovery.’ I am not at all, and there’s no shame.”
Macklemore’s 2020 relapse was the latest in a recovery journey that began in 2008, when his father helped get him into treatment after years of drug and alcohol abuse. The Grammy-winning rapper credits his dad for helping him get the help he needed.
“Getting that help saved my life,” he says. “I hope that people will come out of the shadows, that the guilt and the shame of the disease of addiction lessen and we don’t feel like we need to hide anymore.”
Macklemore shares daughters Sloane, 6, and Colette, 3, and son Hugo, 6 months, with wife Tricia Davis — and shares how Sloane has known about his struggles since she was 3 or 4.
“Why would I hide it? It is who I am,” he says. “In terms of Daddy’s sober meetings that he needs to go to, she’s well aware and has been for quite some time.”
And while he believes that being a dad his “greatest success,” the artist also knows that his kids can’t fix him. “I remember being like, ‘I don’t ever want my kids to see me loaded,'” he says of learning Davis was pregnant with their first child.
“There was this relief like, ‘Okay, now I can stay clean for someone else.’ But that’s not how this disease works. My kids can’t keep me clean. I have to do the work.”
Recently, Macklemore joined sparkling Yerba Maté beverage’s CLEAN Cause as an investor and a creative director in order to support the personal mission. The company donates 50 percent of net profits to fund sober-living scholarships for individuals in recovery.
“I would not be where I am without that treatment. And I just so happened to have a dad that could help me pay for a treatment facility,” he says. “So many people in America cannot afford rehab.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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