The 2022 Super Bowl provided a spectacular halftime show. Millions of Americans and people around the globe watched as the NFL featured several of the top stars in hip-hop music. However, this was more than a celebration of the music loved by many. The country’s recovery community applauded the hard-earned sobriety of many of these top performers on Facebook and other social media platforms.
Eminem’s Sobriety in Its Second Decade
Roughly two weeks before his appearance in the Super Bowl halftime show, Detroit-based rapper Eminem celebrated his 13th year of sobriety.
When he was at the peak of his career in the mid-90s and producing numerous award-winning albums, Eminem was also struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. His addiction was not to illegal street drugs but to prescription opioids. When he was working long hours with little rest or food, a friend recommended he try Valium and Vicodin to help him sleep. At one point, he was taking up to 60 Valium and 30 Vicodin pills a day.
Then in 2007, he almost died from a methadone overdose.
“The doctors told me I’d done the equivalent of four bags of heroin,” he told an interviewer in 2011. “They said I was about two hours from dying.”
He told Men’s Journal magazine in 2015 that he weighed over 200 pounds when admitted to the hospital in 2007. To avoid stomachaches caused by the Vicodin and Valium, he said he ate “constantly and badly.”
After his near-death experience, he knew he’d have to give up drugs and alcohol or he’d die. He checked into rehab and with the help of his children, friends and other pop stars like Elton John, who calls him regularly to see if he’s okay, he began his long journey of sobriety.
Every year on the anniversary of his first day of abstinence, he posts his latest sobriety chip on Instagram to encourage others on their journeys to sobriety. His best-selling 2010 album, Recovery, deals with his addictions and his struggles to overcome them.
Mary J. Blige’s Sobriety Relies on Routine
Another hip-hop star featured during the NFL’s halftime Super Bowl show, Mary J. Blige, started doing drugs as a teenager to cope with a sexual assault she suffered as a young girl. When she shot to hip-hop prominence in the ’90s and early 2000s, many fans and critics assumed her partying lifestyle was simply part of her fame.
Then in 2011, in her “Behind the Music” video special, she revealed that a family friend had sexually abused her as a child. To break her chain of addiction, she had to address the demons inspired by that attack.
“We numb ourselves with drugs and alcohol and people and shopping and s**t, to cover up what’s really going on inside,” she told Self magazine in 2019.” You’re taking drugs so you can go out and feel courageous or go out and feel beautiful or whatever. You’re doing it to cover up something.”
Blige says once she realized what her future held if she didn’t change, she found the strength to move forward. She also credits her fans with saving her from suicidal thoughts early in her career. Blige has also spoken out about her battles with drugs and mental illness in the 2021 Amazon Prime video documentary “Mary J Blige’s My Life.”
“’My Life’ is probably my darkest album, at one of the darkest times I’ve had. Most of the time, I just was just depressed and didn’t want to live,” she said. “I didn’t know that so many people felt the same way.”
These days Blige uses routine to help her stay sober. She works out daily, eats a healthy diet and drinks lots of water. She regularly discusses her abstinence and why drugs are so bad for people and their mental health in her many interviews.
Kendrick Lamar and Avoiding the Crutch of Drugs
Kendrick Lamar, another hip-hop star featured at Super Bowl LVI, has been free of drugs and alcohol since his youth. He used drugs when he was young, primarily because he grew up in a family where alcohol and drugs were part of a partying lifestyle. However, he grew out of them by the time he was a teenager.
In an interview with GQ magazine in 2013, when he was named Rap Star of the year, Lamar said part of his reason for giving up drugs was that he didn’t want them to become a “crutch for his career.”
He’s always been an outspoken critic of the use of drug lyrics in hip-hop music, particularly the song “Molly Rap.” Molly is a form of Ecstasy.
“When everybody consciously now uses this term or this phrase and putting it in lyrics, it waters the culture down,” Lamar told MTV in 2013. “So it’s really just time to move on.”
Lamar has repeatedly said he wants to advocate for a drug-free lifestyle and often uses his music to repeat that message. A team of British doctors who study the effect of rap music on mental health has also praised his lyrics for dealing with complex issues. One magazine called him the “street poet of mental health.”
Snoop Dogg’s Battle for Improved Mental Health Care in Prisons
Perhaps the most recognizable singer during the NFL’s halftime show was Snoop Dogg. He’s built much of his music career on his use of marijuana, and no one would be foolish enough to refer to Snoop Dogg as an advocate for drug abstinence. However, Snoop Dogg has been an outspoken advocate for improved mental health care in American prisons.
This concern comes from his family’s involvement with the American prison system and mental health. His brother, who has bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was sent to prison when he was only 17. Prison officials treated his condition with drugs that created long-term side effects.
Snoop Dogg told a conference at SXSW in 2017 that he has a duty to use his voice and celebrity to raise awareness about the prison system’s effect on African-American men.
If you’ve become dependent on drugs or alcohol because of work pressures or past experiences, you can reach out for help. Regardless of the reason for your dependency, our counselors can help. Call them now and start your journey to recovery. Our team of compassionate counselors is available 24/7 at (833) 596-3502.