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Today, Brantley Gilbert is a country music star, a husband, and the father to a brand-new baby boy. However, as he recalls in a tell-all interview with People, he came dangerously close to never becoming any of those things.
You’ve likely heard a few of Brantley’s pumped up party songs, such as “The Weekend.” But did you have any idea that he’s a sober man, and has been since 2011?
Brantley took his final drink on December 11, 2011, and spent the entirety of Christmas detoxing. You see, Brantley wasn’t just giving up booze, he was also addicted to pills.
He remembers how his mom acted during that time, saying, “I put her through hell.” But it was nothing compared to what he dealt with prior to then.
Brantley’s addictions brought him close to death not once, but twice. The first time was when he wrapped his truck around an oak tree after he had been out partying. The crash was so bad that Brantley was thrown from the truck.
He hit his head pretty hard in the process, and because of this, his memory isn’t what it used to be. He says that he still has a hard time remembering his childhood and early adulthood.
After the crash, Brantley decided to move to Nashville, saying, “I remember thinking, ‘This can be over at any point. I want to make sure I’m at least doing what I love.”
But the crash didn’t bring an end to Brantley’s addictions. He remembers carrying a black leather bag around Nashville that he filled with bottles of booze so he could have something to drink “at arm’s reach at all times.” Here’s just how often he’d pause to take a drink:
“Every hour and a half to two hours it’d be time to get two or three good pulls on the bottle. And every three or four hours it’s time for a pill or two.”
Nothing, not even his love for the woman of his dreams, Amber Cochran, could pull Brantley away from the booze and pills. Her mama would tell her not to see him, saying “he’s bad news.” Looking back now, Brantley knows she was right.
“From the time I met [Amber], I loved her and I wanted to be a better person for her, but I just wasn’t ready because I couldn’t be a better person for me yet,” he said.
His addictions led to the end of their relationship. Not long after that, they nearly led to the end of his life, again.
Brantley recalls ending up in the hospital with terrible abdominal pains in late 2011. While in the hospital, he got a dose of reality: he had to give up drinking, or else he wouldn’t live to see his next birthday.
After everything he’d been through, that was the push Brantley needed to finally get sober. He tried to do so himself by weaning himself off slowly, but it wasn’t an effective technique.
Brantley finally took his last drink on December 18, 2011, and hasn’t had another since. Now, he has his career, his life, and his love. Once he got sober, he and Amber reconnected and married on June 28, 2015. They welcomed their first child, a son named Barrett, on November 11, 2017.
After spending so many years sober, Brantley can’t believe what his life used to look like.
“Knowing where I am now, looking back almost makes me sick to my stomach,” he said. “To go back to that frame of mind now is hard. Just what the hell was I thinking?“