In a new interview with Complex, the Seattle native admits he relapsed into taking pills and smoking marijuana last year. The "Thrift Shop" rapper has been open about his addiction to alcohol and drugs in the past, entering rehab in 2008, and suffering a brief relapse in 2011.
"I held it together for a while," Macklemore tells the magazine about his latest relapse. "But, eventually, I stopped going to my 12-step meetings. ... Everyone knew, but they didn't necessarily know."
Macklemore says he sobered up a bit when his fiancee, Tricia Davis, found some sleeping pills that he had hidden in his shoe at the SXSW Festival, but then tried to fill himself with buying sneakers and expensive jewelry. Eventually, he started getting high on marijuana.
"I'm in meetings with management with sunglasses on and I’m rolling around like a 15-year-old trying not to get caught smoking weed in my car," he recalls, saying he became "sneaky" and "deceitful" to those closest to him. "Straight up, driving all around here, like I was 15 years ago. Same s**t. I felt so dumb. I felt like I'm just wasting time. What am I escaping here?"
In hindsight, the "Can't Hold Us" rapper blames his relapse on the newfound fame he experienced.
"I was super-stressed," he admits. "We weren't sleeping -- doing a show every day, zigzagging all over the country. In terms of the media I was getting put into a box that I never saw for myself. The pressure and the fame -- everything. All the clichés ... like not being able to walk around, having no privacy, and from this TV appearance to this TV appearance, and the criticism, and the lack of connection, and the lack of meetings -- all of that put into one pie was just … I just wanted to escape."
But when he found out Tricia was pregnant with the longtime couple's first child together, it pushed him to get sober again.
"Since I heard that Tricia was pregnant, I was like, I need to grow up right now," he says. "I've gotten back to what makes me happy. Not in the immediate moment, [but] what's going to make me happy in the long run. None of the money, the fame, the attention … none of that ... comes close to the fulfillment and gratitude that I feel showing up to a meeting and being sober today."
These days, Macklemore says he has a healthy morning routine filled with meditation, yoga, journaling and attending meetings. Clearly, it's helped him with his new music.
"The sobriety was the wake-up call that I needed," he stresses. "And, as it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery -- not just sobriety, but recovery -- music is there. It always has been. Songs write themselves. My work ethic turns off-to-on in a second and I get happy again. I get grateful again."