Brantley Gilbert just celebrated a major milestone. He’s been alcohol and opiate free for five years as of December 15, 2016. Since getting sober, Brantley’s tied the knot with the love of his life, Amber, but their relationship was nearly destroyed because of his drug and alcohol use.
Brantley opened up about his journey to sobriety in the latest podcast from Big Machine Radio. Looking back on that dark period of his life, Brantley says, “The people that were close to me knew the alcohol was just out of control. Opiate use was out of control, but if you didn’t know me, no joke, I could carry on a conversation with you and chances are you wouldn’t ever know that something was up. I was intoxicated not just hours out of the day. This was a never ending thing. It was a constant thing. I think I was just worn out. I was just keeping up with chasing…It wasn’t getting messed up anymore, it was just staying on that level. I was putting in a lot of work to stay right here. Making sure you’ve always got that fix and you’ve always got a backup stash. It was exhausting”
In order to keep up with his drug and alcohol use, Brantley constantly carried a bag stocked with two bottles of Jaeger and his pills. The bag went with him everywhere, including into songwriting appointments in Nashville. The only time he’d sober up was when he knew he was going to see Amber.
“I’d go pick her up,” Brantley says. “We’d ride around and do whatever. I’d drop her back off. Before I got out of the driveway, literally driving out of the driveway, I was in that bottle.”
Even though Brantley was ready to marry Amber, she let him know her reservations.
Brantley recalls, “She said, ‘I want you to know I love you, but the things we’re talking about, I’m terrified of being in love with somebody and marrying somebody that rides around with two bottles of Jaeger and a bunch of pills in the console of their truck.'”
He adds, “I had no idea she knew what was in that bag. She did. I found out that what I thought was so secret, wasn’t so secret.”
Instead of getting sober then, Brantley got upset with Amber and shut her out just like everyone else in his life. As a result, Brantley isolated himself. It all came to a head one night when Brantley realized he’d abandoned all of his dreams of being a husband, and someday being a father, in favor of drugs and alcohol.
That realization led Brantley to go to rehab, and he credits his incredible family, friends and work family for helping him stay clean and sober. He also credits his sobriety for his rekindled relationship with Amber.
He says, ” It took losing almost everything. I was a snap away from it being gone. Very, very blessed. I consider it a success story, and [I’m] proud of where I am now.”
This post was originally published on January 18, 2017.