Macklemore Opened up about “Painful” Relapse in Order to Help Others

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But because Shepard himself had also shared a relapse of his own, the rapper, 38, felt inspired to do so — and in turn, hopes that his openness regarding the subject of addiction will help others struggling to feel less alone.

“It was really painful for myself and for the people who loved me. I stopped doing the work,” he told PEOPLE magazine of his relapse during the summer of 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.”

He’s not alone; the pandemic has acted as a catalyst of sorts for those struggling with addiction, as Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer of Addiction Centers of America says that it’s “produced the perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances that can cause someone to relapse.

For Macklemore, his 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 recognizes that he would not be where he is today had his dad not stepped in.

“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.”

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