Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Sober life: How Eminem stays clean and sober

The New York Times put the question straight to the rapper—“How do you stay sober?”—and here’s what he said:

My kids, and also I see a rehab counselor once a week. I’ve been clean for two years.

I don’t know Eminem’s work. But I’m interested in how people stay clean, and it seems to me the interview gives other clues as to the things Eminem might be practicing to stay sober… • He says he has given up the idea of touring for this album—a huge ego trip—because “Touring is hard on the body. It used to be a big trigger for me with drinking and drugging.” (surrender) • He says he’s “calmed down a bit” from the boy who called women “bitches” and “hos”—he admits that he once felt those things at one time, but that his “overall look on things is a lot more mature than it used to be.” (awareness of character defects) • He says that he saves and invests his money: “I try to treat all the money I’m making like it’s the last time I’m going to make it.” (responsibility) • He sloughs off the interviewer’s compliment that he’s been praised for his “complex rhyme schemes” and demurs when asked if he reads poetry, saying, “I’m not really book-smart.” He also says he “felt like Bugs Bunny in rehab” because people were stealing his stuff and pestering him for autographs, “and I couldn’t concentrate on my problem.” (humility) He’s also able to call himself a good dad. He does this in “Not Afraid,” the first song he released from the album (watch the video here). Humility is knowing what you are and what you aren’t. The root of the word “humble” is the Latin word, humus, the soil—or close to the ground. Just like he’s able to say he’s “not book-smart,” and later in the interview that his music goes back to his “white-trash roots,” he’s also able to admit now that he’s earned the rank of “Good Dad.” Cool.


  1. He also seems to be leaving his homophobia behind. Love & tolerance 🙂

  2. I am so glad you posted this! I love learning about others’ journeys in sobriety. For me, the 12 steps and the program are my only answer but I think anybody making the decision to change their life and actually live is amazing and it makes me smile 🙂

    I am so grateful that I no longer live my life around my addictions.

  3. guinevere

    June 19, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Em, I know. I have absolutely no idea about Eminem’s work, I should listen to his music (my husband was kind of appalled that I would put him on my blog, he was like, “Isn’t he totally homophobic, racist and misogynist??”)… But this just seemed to me to be evidence that he’s changing… And I love to put evidence out there that people can change. Particularly addicts. Because so many people (including so many addicts) think we CAN’T change… but we can.

  4. Great blog and all the best to you.

    Just to answer a couple of points…to suggest Eminem is racist is absolutely ludicrous, and he’s never been homophobic either. Listen closely to his early albums and you’ll hear they are actually startlingly good works of satire. What they did do, however, was promote drug use as being cool, and that was his only real ‘crime’.

    Yet one thing Marshall always has been is humble, confessional and brutally honest and I really think that by making his drug battle public it will inspire so many of his fans to try to get clean too. For this he should be admired, amid the sea of celebrities who seek our sympathy in their own battles with drugs yet don’t make the effort to change.

  5. guinevere

    July 14, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Kevin, thanks for posting.

    I think it’s interesting that you say that “by making his drug battle public it will inspire so many of his fans to try to get clean too.” Some people in recovery think we shouldn’t be looking at what other people are doing—that our “primary purpose” is to stay sober. I also think the other part of my primary purpose is to help others achieve sobriety, and one way in particular I’ve been led to do this is to bring attention to the ways the principles are at work in the culture.

    And I agree: he should be admired.

    Thanks also for your insights about Eminem’s work. –G

  6. Thanks for the mentioning to watch the video. This is your another interesting post update I have to love this. Keep updating such a good thing.

  7. Eminem is a very different person in real life than his stage persona exudes. He’s such a humble person and has given a lot back to the city of Detroit. Glad he sees that the money from touring isn’t more important than his sobriety.

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