Macklemore describes drinking 12 shots a night aged 14 as he discusses addiction: ‘That never stopped for me’

·2-min read

Macklemore has opened up about first getting addicted to alcohol aged 14.

The “Thrift Shop” rapper appeared onThe Diary of a CEO podcast on Thursday (4 May), when he discussed starting drinking when he was a “hormonal teenager”.

“I had the allergy from the very beginning,” he said. “It was one shot, two shots. What does four feel like? What does eight feel like?

“All of a sudden I’m taking 12 shots of vodka on a school night by myself, hopping on the bus and running from the police. It was a crazy first time drinking alcohol that never stopped for me.”

Discussing the moment he knew he needed help, Macklemore – whose real name is Benjamin Haggerty – recalled being 25 and having taken an opioid for a month. The musician described how he had lost a lot of weight on the medication, making him truly “dopesick” for the first time.

“All the happiness, any serotonin was gone,” he said, describing crying because he realised he couldn’t feel any joy standing in the Seattle sunshine.

“I didn’t really want to be here anymore. There was no suicidal ideation or plan, but it was just like, maybe this world’s not for me, because I don’t know what I’m doing here anymore. I feel nothing, except deep, deep grief, and the obsession to get more.”

Macklemore in 2013, at the height of his fame (Getty Images)
Macklemore in 2013, at the height of his fame (Getty Images)

Shortly after this, his dad pulled him aside at a family function and asked him if he was happy.

“That was my surrender moment,” the 39-year-old explained. “I kind of lied to him. I kind of lied to myself. It was a very clear answer of absolutely not.”

Macklemore’s father offered to pay for him to go to rehab, and he initially refused, but later said yes.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” he said.

If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol addiction, you can confidentially call the national alcohol helpline Drinkline on 0300 123 1110 or visit the NHS website here for information about the programmes available to you.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support:,,,