If there is one thing that entertainers, performers, and actors are known for struggling with, it is substance abuse and addiction. As actor Matthew Perry’s recent passing shows, even advancing age is no guarantee they’ll get sober and recover. But, for country star Chris Stapleton, a bit more age and experience luckily gave him the wisdom to see the danger of that lifestyle and recover in time.
Such is what Stapleton told GQ Magazine in an interview about “The Bottom,” a new song of his about “alcoholic self-delusion,” as GQ described it. Stapleton was inspired to create the powerful song by his past, which involved lots of whiskey and pre-show tequila, and his victorious battle to get sober.
Describing his mindset around sobriety and why he moved away from his hard-charging, heavy-drinking younger days, Stapleton said, “I didn’t have to go to rehab, but from a 45-year-old-man health perspective, a doctor’s gonna look at me and go, ‘Hey, man, probably cut out the drinking,’ and I’d be like, ‘Okay, cool.’ ”
He continued, joking about how much he used to drink by saying that he, as an adult, got into a drinking contest with his younger self and lost, leading him to realize that he needed to sober up. “I like to tell people that I got into a drinking contest with myself in my 20s, and I lost,” he said.
Continuing, he noted how younger people, particularly those in the entertainment space, feel the need to do things like drink a whole, whole lot to make their presence known and carve out a space within a notoriously crowded, cutthroat, and fame-obsessed industry.
Beginning, he said, “When you’re younger, you feel like you have to do certain things in order to occupy some of these spaces, to make yourself feel like you’re legit. You want to feel things. You want to be able to write about things authentically.”
He then used that to show how little sense it makes in context, saying, “If somebody working a different kind of job drank themselves to death in the name of being better at that job, it wouldn’t make sense to anybody. We wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, he must have been the greatest electrician who ever lived.’ ”
Relatedly, Stapleton spoke about the hit new song, “Mountains of My Mind,” saying that he thinks it is real because people, whatever their job or profession, or even just general life situation, feel the need to become bigger than themselves and escape their current situation.
He said, “Everybody has some version of that. Just ‘I want to get the fuck out of here. I’ve had enough. I don’t want to be whoever I’m supposed to be today.’ Whether it’s a mother raising kids or somebody getting older and lonely.”
Continuing, he added, “And anybody who’s been in the position we’re in has some kind of impostor syndrome. You start to not feel like a real person, you know what I’m saying? You start to understand when you see guys talk about themselves in the third person. The reason they do that, I believe, is that they’re not really talking about themselves. They’re talking about whatever the thing is of themselves that people want to purchase or go see.”
Featured image credit: By Missmojorising – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80123836
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