Eminem has marked a major milestone in his battle with addiction: 12 years of sobriety. The 47-year-old rapper – whose real name is Marshall Mathers – posted a pic of his 12-year coin on Instagram, and in the caption he referenced his song Not Afraid.
“Clean dozen, in the books! I’m not afraid,” Eminem wrote in the caption, referencing the 2010 song that detailed his battle with addiction and recovery. The 15-time Grammy Award winner recorded the song after he overdosed on methadone in 2007 when he took blue pills that someone gave him.
“I just can’t keep livin’ this way / So startin’ today / I’m breakin’ out of this cage / I’m standin’ up, I’mma face my demons / I’m mannin’ up, I’mma hold my ground / I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up / Time to put my life back together right now,” rapped Eminem in the track.
He also says later in the song that he decided to get clean, but he “probably did it subliminally for” his daughters: Alaina, 26, Hailie, 24, and Whitney, 18. Eminem shares Hailie with his ex-wife Kim Scott, while Alaina is his adopted niece and Whitney is Kim’s daughter from a previous relationship.
Eminem has been candid about his struggles with prescription meds, including Vicodin, Ambien, Valium, and methadone. He told the New York Times in 2010 that when he took the blue pills that caused his overdose he “didn’t know it was methadone.” He added that he used to get pills wherever he could.
“I was just taking anything that anybody was giving me,” said the rapper.
His addiction trouble reportedly started when he filmed the 2002 movie 8 Mile and he took Ambien while working extra-long days on the set. He told Rolling Stone in 2011 that he was taking so many pills that he wasn’t even taking them to get high. Instead, he got to the point where he had to take them to feel normal.
“I was taking them to feel normal. Not that I didn’t get high. I just had to take a ridiculous amount. I want to say in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium. And Vicodin … maybe 20, 30? I don’t know. I was taking a lot of s–t,” said Eminem.
After his December 2007 overdose, Eminem started attending meetings to help him get clean, and Elton John became his sponsor. The rapper explained that John had substance abuse problems in the past, so when he first wanted to get sober he called the singer.
Eminem says he chose John because he was somebody in the business who can relate to the lifestyle and understands how hectic things can be. In Elton John’s 2019 memoir Me, he wrote that every time he calls Eminem to check up on him, he always answers the phone by saying, “Hello, you old c**t,” which he guesses is “very Eminem.”