Eminem Raps Rhapsodically About Recovery
Eminem, who’s known for his volatile relationship with his ex-wife, Kim, his addict mom, and his acerbic yet skillful lyricism, certainly has the “ism” running deeply within his veins. Often singing about his mom’s addiction, his turbulent childhood, and even touching upon his own issues with drugs and violence, there always remained a separation between “their” problems and his own. On Eminem’s latest album, “Recovery,” he covers a broad array of subject matter, perhaps this time his lyrics have been written with a clearer head. The album is certainly weathering controversy with songs like “Love the Way You Lie” and its glorified, skewed, and yet occasionally candid view of domestic violence, but it’s also garnering respect and kudos for the song “Not Afraid” where Eminem speaks frankly about getting sober and his personal path to recovery. It wasn’t until he overdosed on methadone in 2005, briefly landing up in rehab, that the public started to realize the man behind the lyrics had his own dragons to slay. Despite a near-death experience, and doctors telling him he had taken the equivalent of 4 bags of heroin, he proceeded to relapse twice, struggling to admit he was an addict.
Eminem struggled with Vicodin, Ambien, and Valium and ended up taking upwards of 10-20 pills a day. Eventually, he was taking anything he could get his hands on–your average garbage-disposal addict. It took a while for him to grasp the idea that addiction is part of his fabric, but his final acceptance that he is an addict is key to his recovery and ultimately may be his saving grace. He said in 2009, “Now that I understand that I’m an addict, I definitely have compassion for my mother. I get it.” Is this the beginning stages of forgiveness, I hear? With 18+ months sober and a new album out (which he’s dedicated to “kicking his addiction to painkillers and anti-depressants”), it looks like this rapper may slowly but surely be paving a new, healthier path for himself. Eminem says his daughter, Hailie, and his adopted daughters Lainey and Whitney are his inspiration to stay sober. He also has the support of Elton John, who’s openly in recovery himself. Perhaps Eminem is beginning to realize he doesn’t have to do it alone. He’s perhaps learning that the path of recovery, while certainly not easy, is best walked with the support and love of healthy, caring people in your life. For some, that may mean recreating the idea of “family” while in recovery, and for others it may be about rediscovering what’s already right in front of them. Bottom line: there’s help out there if you want it.