Brantley Gilbert is seven years sober, but there was a time when the “Bottoms Up” singer was addicted to booze and pain pills.
“Knowing where I am now, looking back almost makes me sick to my stomach,” Brantley tells People. “To go back to that frame of mind now is hard. Just what the hell was I thinking?”
The Georgia native began hitting the liquor bottles after graduating high school and the pills became a source to hide the pain he incurred through playing football. Both addictions became more prevalent as Brantley began his college career and started playing in a band at college gigs.
After a car accident almost ended it all, one would think that would be the catalyst to stop the hard partying. Not for Brantley. He took advantage of his brush with death by moving to Nashville to further his music career. While there the partying continued.
“Every day was a party. Every hour and a half to two hours it’d be time to get two or three good pulls on the bottle. And every three or four hours it’s time for a pill or two. It wasn’t like I was stumbling around all day,” Brantley adds. “I was fully functioning — I wrote more songs then than I do now. That was the scary part.”
While Brantley was finding success amongst his addiction, garnering a top five album, his relationship with girlfriend Amber Cochran suffered.
“From the time I met her, I loved her and I wanted to be a better person for her, but I just wasn’t ready because I couldn’t be a better person for me yet,” Brantley told the magazine.
It was 2011 when doctors told Brantley that if he didn’t give up the bottle, he would surely die. However, the singer only slowed down, not completely stopping. “I still put it off and was trying to slow down on my own. It would work a couple days — and then somebody throws a party.”
Later that year Brantley decided enough was enough and got himself into rehab. “Nobody wakes up one morning and goes, ‘I want to be a drunk and a pill addict.’ I definitely wasn’t raised that way.”
The 33-year-old has been sober since leaving rehab and credits superstar Keith Urban, who also dealt with addiction issues himself, with helping him through.
“One of the best things that could have happened to me in my life,” Brantley said. “I remember him telling me, ‘Hey man, it’s gonna be scary, it’s gonna freak you out, but it’s gonna be beautiful.’ That was the opposite of the way I felt, and it that gave me that extra kick to go, ‘I can do this.’”
And he did. Brantley also married his longtime girlfriend, Amber, in 2015 and recently welcomed a son, Barrett Hardy-Clay Gilbert, in Nov. 2017. “God blessed me more than I could have ever known to ask to be blessed.”
Brantley’s home life and career are hotter than ever, the “Country Must Be Country Wide” singer can be found on select dates of Kid Rock’s Red Blooded Rock N’ Roll Extravaganza Tour.