Looking at rapper Eminem today, you’d never know he was in a struggle with addiction just a few short years ago, forced to fight for his life. Now he’s on “The Monster Tour” with Rihanna, selling out arenas and entertaining fans around the globe. He’s on top of his game and living proof that there’s life after addiction.
Last week, in front of a packed house in Pasadena, California, Eminem (whose real name is Marshal Mathers) addressed his own problems with addiction and took an opportunity to encourage the fans in attendance.
This song I want to dedicate to anyone who ever lost anyone to addiction.-Eminem
Before launching into a heart-felt performance of “Not Afraid,” Slim Shady said: “I am under the impression there are a lot of people in the world under the influence of an illegal substance. This song I want to dedicate to anyone who ever lost anyone to addiction.”
A Life Nearly Lost
In 2007, Eminem nearly died from a methadone overdose. Without even asking what the drugs were, the rap star swallowed a handful of pills he scored from an “acquaintance.”
“Had I known what it was, I probably wouldn’t have taken it. But as bad as I was back then, I can’t even say 100 percent for sure. My doctor told me the amount of methadone I’d taken was equivalent to shooting up four bags of heroin. Even when they told me I almost died, it didn’t click,” he told Vibe magazine.
“Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died,” he said. “My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything. They were gonna have to put me on dialysis, they didn’t think I was gonna make it.”
Eminem’s Long Road to Recovery
Fans got an unfiltered and shocking glimpse into Slim Shady’s life in 2012, after the rap star released a documentary entitled “How to Make Money Selling Drugs.” In the film, it becomes painfully clear just how far opiate, benzodiazepine, and zolpidem (Ambien) addictions took Eminem down the rabbit hole.
At his peak, Eminem was taking up to 60 Valium and 30 Vicodin pills a day. He also admits he was addicted to the prescription sleep medication Ambien, saying the drug caused him to suffer massive memory loss.
The rap star entered a rehab facility in 2005 and stayed clean for a while. However, the pain of a knee surgery later derailed his sobriety. Luckily, Eminem quickly recognized he needed help and returned to rehab. He’s been sober since 2008 and hopes his life story will serve as a source of encouragement.
It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you
So I could come back a brand new me, you helped see me through
-Eminem, “Not Afraid”