31 Aug Macklemore – Member of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous member, Macklemore, puts sobriety before fame and fortune. His goal is to appeal to a younger generation in recovery and music.
Ben Haggerty otherwise known for his stage name, Macklemore, was born June 19th, 1983 in Seattle, Washington. You probably know him from his rise to fame from his hit, “Thrift Shop,” which landed at #1 on the U.S. Billboard in 2013. He notably won Best New Artist, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance at the 2014 Grammy Awards for his work on The Heist.
Macklemore grew up like any average kid in the suburban town of Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington in a happy household. Ben was not born into a musical family, but they were supportive of his musical ventures. At age six, Hip Hop came into Haggerty’s life through the group Digital Underground. He was fourteen when he first started writing lyrics, and during that time found his inspiration through various east coast rap artists. As he progressed in his journey with music, he made it a goal to appeal to a younger generation. While receiving a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College, he was part of a program that focused on cultural identity and education called “Gateways for Incarcerated Youth,” where he facilitated music workshops.
What you probably didn’t know about Macklemore is that he is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Ben spent the majority of his twenties trying to combat his addictions and destructive way of life. In his song, “Otherside,” Ben references his struggles with drugs and alcohol, which he received attention for as well as a social media following. After an intervention by his father in August 2008 he admitted himself into a rehab for drug addiction and alcoholism. He celebrated three years of sobriety before a brief relapse in 2011, which he describes in his song “Starting Over.” In a recent interview with Rolling Stone he opens up about his struggle to balance his career along with his sobriety. “The last three months haven’t been good for me – the pressure, the expectation, lack of sleep, the stress, the traveling.” He also talks about the importance of being involved in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and being a participant in his sobriety. “It’s been a struggle this past year,” he admits. “It’s very important to go into the rooms of AA, smell the shitty coffee and be reminded that without sobriety, I would have no career.” (Rolling Stone) It is remarkable to see Macklemore put his sobriety ahead of the fame and fortune from his career in the music industry. It would be very difficult to maintain this level of humility in his shoes.
It is difficult to be a Hip Hop icon in sobriety, especially with all of the image, drugs, alcohol, and sex personification that dominate the profession. It is commendable that Macklemore is so public and honest with his sobriety and talks about it so freely. He has now become a role model for people who are in recovery and has opened the door for those who are struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism to seek help. “I want to be someone who is respected and not just in terms of my music. I want to be respected in the terms the way I treat people…Music is my creative outlet in terms of expressing what is important to me; what has importance, what has value. And I want to be respected for that.” If we were to look past the newfound fame and all the hype behind Macklemore as a rapper, and see him for Ben Haggerty, we would see an ordinary guy, trying to be the best person he can be, and stay sober one day at a time.
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