Mighty Monday: Brantley Gilbert Finds Himself Again after Addiction

Brantley Gilbert fought hard to be the husband, father, and artist that he is today.

May 14, 2018

Brantley Gilbert was always able to function.  Even when he was in the depths of his addiction, he was still recording hits and playing shows.

But he wasn't really living.

He was losing the trust and loyalty of his longtime, hometown girlfriend, Amber Cochran.  One night, he wrapped his car around a tree and suffered a head injury.  He found himself, though he wasn't able to admit it, reliant upon the bottle of liquor he would keep in his bag and the pain pills he would regularly pop.

Through it all, he kept up appearances.  He moved to Nashville.  He got a CMA nomination.  He had a top five album.  His life, from the outside, was blessed.  From the inside, however, he felt dependent, out of control, unhinged.  

Finally, the night his single "Countrywide" hit No. 1, he had a revelation after a full night of partying and, probably, some behind-the-scenes ugliness.  (As he was quoted by "People", "...I put my life under a microscope and I wasn’t real proud of it.")  He admitted to his manager that it was time for rehab after taking his last drink on December 8th, 2011.

He's been sober for seven years now.  That's seven years of fighting, of constant vigilance, of effort and work and discipline.  He is fully transparent, speaking of withdrawing over Christmas as "a prison", and his anxiety over not being able to sell out shows, to play music, even to function without the substances upon which he had relied for so many years.  

Interestingly, he credits a fellow country artist with giving him the motivation he needed at a low moment.  Keith Urban, also a recovering addict, visited him in rehab, speaking some sage words to get Brantley over the worst of the early stages of recovery.  Brantley says, " “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 gave me that extra kick to go, ‘I can do this.’”

And do it he has.  He married that hometown girlfriend, and they have a son together, Barrett.  He has been getting over the shame which accompanies the stigma of addiction; as he said, "Nobody wakes up one morning and goes, ‘I want to be a drunk and a pill addict.’ I definitely wasn’t raised that way.”  But those seven years of sobriety are a testament to his strength and willpower, and that certainly outshines the darker times.

Mighty Monday is all about redemption, and Brantley Gilbert is a picture-perfect example of the strength of the human spirit.  We are honored to support him, and wish him and his new family nothing but the best.  You are an example to be emulated, Brantley...because it's always ok to ask for help.