Walker Hayes Got Sober When He Realized 'If I Do It One More Day I Might Die'

The country star chronicles his sobriety journey in his new album, 'Sober Thoughts'

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty</p> Walker Hayes performs live in December 2023

Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty

Walker Hayes performs live in December 2023

Country star Walker Hayes continues to share his sobriety journey — revealing the exact moment when he realized he needed to stop drinking.

“I was working a night job at Costco stocking produce and playing shows at night,” Hayes, 44, told TODAY hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager, adding that his wife Laney had just welcomed their sixth child, daughter Everly.

“Life was just wild, it was a lot on my body and I just woke up on a Saturday and I just knew if I did this one more day my body would be affected,” the "Fancy Like" singer said. “Some organ — you know, look, I'm not a scientist. I'm not a doctor. I just woke up and it felt like if I do it one more day I might die.”

Hayes, who shared that he started drinking at age 13, said that he had this epiphany at age 36 — and started his sobriety journey in small stages.

<p>Walker Hayes/Instagram</p> Walker Hayes with his wife and kids.

Walker Hayes/Instagram

Walker Hayes with his wife and kids.

“I went one day to two, two days turned into a week,” Hayes — who chronicles relationship with alcohol in his new album, Sober Thoughts — said.

“Sobriety — [when] you've been drunk that long ... you get addicted to ... the clarity, the pep in your step. You go to the gym and you're like, ‘I feel like I'm 17.’”

“A month turned into a year and then I just didn't want to go backwards,” Hayes said.

Related: Macklemore Describes Addiction as 'Like an Allergy' and Says Recovery Was a Choice Between 'Life and Death'

Hayes said he’s not shy to talk about being eight years sober, saying, “I want to share that as much as I can.”

“I think most recovering alcoholics feel the same way, you know. Sobriety is so amazing that you'd love to pass it along. It's a great option that we have in life and there is freedom from addiction,” Hayes said.

<p> Jason Davis/Getty</p> Walker Hayes performs live.

Jason Davis/Getty

Walker Hayes performs live.

“So, I'm always thinking about it. I like to make the world, my audience, my accountability partner — that's how I go about it. I'm not very anonymous, I love to just share, ‘Hey, it's a struggle. I'm weak in that area. Help! You know, we can help each other.’”

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Related: Lucy Hale Celebrates 2 Years of Sobriety: 'Continues to Be the Greatest Gift I've Given Myself'

“I swear, if you ask my publishing company, I probably write a song a week about recovery, and so, I'm so grateful,” he said, explaining that one song, “Same Drunk,” is about coping mechanisms.

“A lot of our life, we just balance from coping mechanism to coping mechanism. Like coffee, for instance. I’m so addicted to coffee,” he said, adding, “But you know, it doesn’t destroy my life.”  

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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