On Friday, country singer and songwriter Brantley Gilbert hit the nine-year mark on his journey through sobriety.
Gilbert celebrated by posting a family photo to Instagram, along with a message of gratitude.
Brantley Gilbert is 9 Years Sober
“9 years drink free today,” he wrote. “And couldn’t have done it without my family, my brothers, my road family and the #bgnation. If y’all pop a top today drink one for ya boy.”
Gilbert said the secret to his sobriety is his tapestry of tattoos. They keep him grounded and remind him of what he went through.
“The one on my left side is really the story of my life, and goes through my addiction and the tribulations and trials,” he recently told his record label, according to Country Now. “I got the devil trying to get on my shoulder over here, and I got two angels – I got one chubby angel with a spear keepin’ him from gettin’ up here.”
“It’s just little things like that that I remember the struggle every time I look at my arm,” he added. “That’s one of the things, people ask me, ‘How are you staying sober?’ And honest to God, this has a lot to do with it. Every time I look down, I see flames and skulls and the fact that I put myself and everybody that works for me through hell.”
A Little Help From a Friend
Gilbert wrestled with addictions to alcohol and opiates, Taste of Country reports. That led to a terrible car accident and a breakup with the woman who is now his wife.
The singer told the Tennessean he almost walked out of rehab, afraid that he needed the substance abuse to be a good musician.
“I don’t think I can do my job. I don’t know if I can ever play a song at my shows without being [messed] up,” Gilbert said he worried at the time. “Or writing, I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level. It’s a drinking environment.”
Gilbert has thanked Keith Urban for visiting him and encouraging him to stick it out. Urban reportedly told him sobriety had made him a better musician.
Now, nine years later, Gilbert is glad to be sober, in the music industry, and still alive – which he might not be had he taken a different path.