Finding sobriety was one of the most difficult challenges that country music star Brantley Gilbert has ever had to face. But he credits the journey for his ongoing success in both love and career.
Gilbert never imagined that he would become a chart-topping musician or a family man. In fact, he grew up with dreams of becoming a biker, and he assumed he wouldn’t live past 30. But at 37, he has a wife, two children, and several major awards. And he’s completely sober.
Earlier in his career, however, Gilbert was a functioning alcoholic. And one night, while drunkenly celebrating his 2011 No. 1 hit, Country Wide, he realized he had to kick the habit if he wanted to truly enjoy his success.
“It was like, ‘Man, we’re supposed to be celebrating something that an overwhelming majority of people that try to do something with music will never accomplish experience,'” he told Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country. “And we’re not really celebrating. We’re doing the same shit we do every night.”
Brantley Gilbert remembers walking back into his tour bus while his bandmates continued the party. He picked up the phone, called a friend, and pledged to do whatever it took to get the “junk” out of his life.
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“I’m a guy that says if I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it or die trying,” Gilbert continued. “And with alcohol, it got to a point with it where I knew it was something I needed to change and cut back on. And I said, ‘You know what? This has a little more control over me than I like. And I just need to get it out of my life,’ and couldn’t do it.”
The singer realized that he wasn’t “valuing or prioritizing the things in life” that he “was raised to value and prioritize.” So he used that to fuel his road to recovery.
Gilbert recently dropped an album titled So Help Me God, which features duets with Blake Shelton and Vince Gill. And the title track highlights the “uncomfortable place” in life where he had to drop his pride and fight.
Gilbert told Bannen that the song is about more than just drinking. It’s about surrendering and relying on faith and friends to get him through the “big stuff.”
“I’m supposed to be a rock, man. I’m supposed to be able to handle anything on my own, this, that, and the other. And it’s kind of like that saying a lot of people say, ‘God won’t put you through anything you can’t handle,'” he said.
“And I just feel like it’s so far from the truth,” the singer continued. “He will on a regular basis. That’s when you’re supposed to surrender a little bit.”