Seattle based rap sensation Macklemore, along with his partner Ryan Lewis, was a runaway hit at the 2014 Grammys, topping off a whirlwind year with a handful of Grammys, including best new artist, and sending the media into a whirlwind by using his performance as a means of marrying thirty three couples during the broadcast.
Macklemore has been dubbed by many individuals both in and outside of the industry as a “conscious rapper,” because of the fact that he often raps about social and personal issues that are close to him. Although Macklemore has long used his music to speak out about a variety of issues, many people did not realize until recently that the break out recording artist has a history of drug abuse and a strong personal reason for fighting the crusade against addiction.
Close Friend Lost to Addiction
In a recent interview for a new program launched by MTV called “Half of Us,” which is designed to help college students fight prescription drug addiction, Macklemore relayed the heartbreaking story of a younger friend with whom Macklemore had known when he was younger and gone through twelve step meetings with.
Like Macklemore, the young friend was also an aspiring recording artist who struggled with prescription drug addiction. When that friend was only twenty years old, he died of a drug overdose just hours after Macklemore had seen him for what would be the last time. The tragedy had a huge impact on Macklemore.
Macklemore “Walks That Line”
Macklemore continues to be heavily impacted by his young friend’s death for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that the rapper says he “walks the line” between sobriety and drug use all the time, regardless of how successful he has, and that he always will.
He explained that if it were not for the fact that he surrounded himself with a sober community that helped to support him and his health, he would be in grave danger of succumbing to addiction in the same way that his friend did. This position supports what has long been known by recovering addicts and recovery professionals: that there is no cure for addiction and that staying sober is a lifelong process that requires a strong support system.
Advice On Giving Advice
Macklemore also urged friends who are concerned about a loved one to give advice in the form of a question, suggesting that many of the pieces of advice that a friend may want to give are thoughts that already exist within the mind of the person. The person they are worried about could already be thinking that and asking thought provoking questions can help someone who is going through a difficult time come to important realizations about whether they are really happy and fulfilled and whether there are any steps they can take to improve their lives and the ways in which they are working toward their dreams.
Giving advice in this way may be much more effective and have a much lower chance of making a person angry or defensive.
Justin Levin is a licensed Family and Marriage Therapist from Milwaukee, WI. As a Clinical Services Manager he is focused on providing teenagers with the addiction treatment they need at Adolescent Growth.