Pop Culture

Eminem Opens Up About Getting Sober Over a Decade After His Near-Fatal Drug Overdose

It took a near-death experience for Eminem to finally realize that he needed help with his drug addiction that, at one point, had him taking 75 to 80 Valium a night.

The rap legend appeared on the latest episode of his longtime manager Paul Rosenberg‘s Paul Pod podcast, during which he discussed the journey of recovery he went on following that 2007 event that both agreed almost ended his life. After getting sober on April 20, 2008, Eminem began working on his 2009 album Relapse, which he recalled in the interview was the first time he’d actually enjoyed the process of making music in a long time. “I remember when I first got sober and all the shit was out of my system, I remember just being, like, really happy and everything was fucking new to me again,” he said. “It was the first album and the first time that I had fun recording in a long time.” He continued, “It was like the first time I started having fun with music again, and re-learning how to rap, you remember that whole process. It took a long time for my brain to start working again.”

At the time he started recording the album, Eminem noted that he was still in withdrawal following the overdose, and taking “75 to 80 Valium a night.” The Grammy winner also mentioned Rosenberg being very concerned at the time that he might have suffered permanent brain damage. Eminem asked, “Didn’t you ask the doctors when I started recording new shit, when I first started rapping again, and sent it to you, didn’t you say, ‘I just wanted to make sure he didn’t have brain damage?’” The podcast host confirmed that he was in fact concerned during the recovery process that there might be some “permanent problems” with his health. Rosenberg added, “Nobody was pushing you, you were just finding your way and doing it slowly, but a record that leaked out, that ‘Detroit Basketball’ record, it wasn’t good.” The rapper agreed, “It was fucking weird, because as my brain was turning back on, I started going over lines like ‘Wait, that’s not good.’ If you remember, I don’t know which version leaked, but if you remember, there were like, 20 versions of that shit.” But eventually, after “five or six months total,” Eminem’s brain did turn back on and he was able to go on to create yet another hit album.

The musician first opened up about his struggles with addiction to the New York Times in 2011, explaining that the title of the album referred to his recovery from “Vicodin, Valium and Ambien, and toward the end, which caused my overdose, methadone. I didn’t know it was methadone. I used to get pills wherever I could. I was just taking anything that anybody was giving to me.” He added that after going to rehab once before, he decided the second time to detox at a hospital and then go home as rehab make him feel “like I was Bugs Bunny.” He explained, “When Bugs Bunny walks into rehab, people are going to turn and look. People at rehab were stealing my hats and pens and notebooks and asking for autographs. I couldn’t concentrate on my problem.”

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