Eminem’s Struggle with an Addiction to Painkillers

Eminem’s Struggle with an Addiction to Painkillers

Fame, money and a recording contract aren’t enough to keep a star away from the destructive world of drugs. Surprisingly, some may have believed they have escaped the curse if they never lay a hand on illegal substances. For too many, however, the relief is not sought in something they buy from a dealer on the street, but instead something a well-trusted physician will prescribe.

For rapper Eminem, otherwise known as Marshall Mathers, the reality of his world came crashing down in a spiral of painkiller addiction. At the height of his addiction, the celebrity was taking as many as 20 pills a day that included medications such as Vicodin, Ambien and Valium. In 2005, he left the music scene for his first round at rehabilitation, but it wasn’t his only wake up call.

Eminem was not yet skilled at handling his addiction when he left rehab for the first time. His detox complete, he nearly overdosed on methadone when he took some pills from a friend. Later, he suffered a knee injury that required surgery. As a result of his addictions to painkillers, however, he could not be prescribed anything for the pain. He searched his house for a left over stash of anything that could cut through the pain and found some extra strength Vicodin and a few Valium. It would take this relapse to make him accept the fact that he had an addiction to drugs.

To hear the musician describe his addiction, he first relied on his art of rapping to achieve the high he sought. When that method stopped producing the high he wanted, he turned to painkillers. Like other drug addicts, he fights against the messages in his brain that push him to turn back to the painkillers, once again trying to achieve the high. Eminem claims he can once again get that high from his rapping, yet he will have to continue to fight to stay sober.

One of the biggest challenges for Eminem moving forward is the fact that he is back working in the same business that led to his drug use in the first place. While he has been clean for the past year, he is now immersed in the environment that holds temptation, and abstinence is bound to be an ongoing challenge.

As part of his new role as a recovered addict, Eminem is taking his message to his fans. His latest album talks of addiction and the struggles that accompany it. Much of his fame was built on an early career and songs focused on the lifestyle by which his mother lived and raised him. She was often the point of haughty criticism in his lyrics, yet today he says he finally understands her struggle. While this realization is poignant for mother and son, it is the lesson learned that can be used to try and help others.

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