Below are some selected quotes from Eminem’s interview with Rolling Stone (Issue 118, November 25, 2010). I believe that Eminem’s story is one that in some way, we can relate to. Read to see what I mean…
(There is adult content below.)
What’s been the highlight so far?
The shows with Jay-Z. Just being on-stage in front of that many people, being able to command the crowd but not having to fall back on old crutches like drugs and drinking. You do get nervous – anybody who says they don’t is lying. But hitting that stage now, I want to feel those nerves. To look out and actually see girls crying and shit, it’s overwhelming. But not like it used to be, where I felt like I needed to [mimes drinking from bottle].
Your music also seems more serious now.
Around the tail end of [2004’s] Encore, the songs started getting really goofy…that’s when the wheels were coming off. Everyday I had a pocketful of pills, and I would go to the studio and goof off…I was sitting in the car listening to these older songs of mine, trying to figure out, “Why doesn’t the new stuff hit me like it used to?” That’s when I started to get away from the funny shit and do songs that had some emotion and aggression to them again.
When did you first get into drugs?
It didn’t really start until my career took off. I was probably in my early 20s before I even kicked back my first beer. But the bigger the shows got, the bigger the after-parties; drugs were always around. In the beginning it was recreational. I could come off tour and be able to shut it off. I’d spend time with the kids, and I’d be OK.
It probably started to become a problem around the 8 Mile movie. We were doing 16 hours on the set, and you you had a certain window where you had to sleep. One day somebody gave me an Ambien, and it knocked me the fuck out. I was like, “I need this all the time.” So I got a prescription. After four or five months, your tolerance starts building. You start breaking off another piece of the pill that’s supposed to be for tomorrow. Then, when I got off probation for my felonies [in 2003], and I didn’t have to drop urine anymore, the reins came off. On the Anger Management 3 tour [n 2005], I was fucked up every night.
How bad did it get?
I was taking so many pills that I wasn’t even taking them to get high anymore. I was taking them to feel normal. Not that I didn’t get high. I just had to take a ridiculous amount. I want to say in a day I could consume anywhere from 40 to 60 Valium. And Vicodin…maybe 20, 30? I don’t know. I was taking a lot of shit.
My everyday regimen would be, wake up in the morning and take an extra-strength Vicodin. I could never take more than one and a half, because it tore up my stomach lining. So I’d take the one and a half, and it’d kind of be Vicodin throughout the day. Then, as the evening crept up, around 5:00 or 6:00, I’d start with a Valium or two, or three or four. And every hour on the hour, I’d pop four or five more. the Ambien would put me over the top to go to sleep.
Toward the end, I don’t think the shit ever put me to sleep for more than two hours. It’s very similar to what I’ve read about Michael [Jackson]. I don’t know exactly what he was doing, but I read that he kept getting up in the middle of the night, asking for more. That’s what I was doing – two, three times a night, I would get up and take more.
Then, in 2006, Proof was killed. Can you talk a bit about what he meant to you?
[sighs] The best way to describe Proof would be a rock. Somebody to confide in, somebody who always had your back. At this point, it’s difficult to find people I know I can trust. I still have certain friends like that, but when you lose one, man…[trails off] It hit me pretty hard.
How much do you think his death had to do with your spiral?
It had a lot to do with it. I remember days I spent just taking fucking pills and crying. One day, I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t even want to get up to use the bathroom.
What was happening to you physically?
…It creeps me out sometimes to think of the person I was. I was a terrible person. I was mean to people. I treated people around me shitty. Obviously I was hiding something. I was fucked up inside, and people with those kinds of problems tend to put up this false bravado – let me attack everyone else, os the focus is off me. But of course everyone knew. There were whispers, murmurs.
And it peaked in December of 2007, when you were rushed to the hospital after overdosing on methadone. Can you walk me through the night?
I can try. There are certain parts I have to leave out because they have to do with my kids…My whole month of December leading up to [the overdose], I don’t remember shit. All I remember is I was not able to get out of bed. At some point – I don’t know if it was the middle of the day, I don’t know if it was nighttime – I got up to use the bathroom. I was standing there, trying to take a piss, and I fell. I hit the floor hard. I got back up, tried again – and boom, I fell again. And that time I couldn’t get up.
I’ve never really talked about it with anyone in detail, because I don’t want to know. they say I made it back to the bed somehow. I don’t remember that. All I remember was hitting the bathroom floor and waking up in the hospital.
What happened when you woke up?
the first thing I remember is trying to move, and I couldn’t…The doctors told me I’d done the equivalent of four bags of heroin. They said I was about two hours from dying.
I think I’d been out for two days, and when I woke up, I didn’t realize it was Christmas. So the first thing I wanted to do was call my kids. I wanted to get home, and show that that dad’s OK.
What happened next?
I checked myself out – I think I had been there a week – but I went home too soon. I wasn’t fully detoxed. It had zapped my strength – I couldn’t lift the fucking salt-and-pepper shaker. I remember lying on the couch, falling asleep for literally 10 minutes, and when I woke up, my knee was out of place. I’d somehow tore my meniscus…I had surgery a couple of days later came home…and had a seizure. Because I wasn’t detoxed. Boom, ambulance, right back to the hospital.
I knew I had to change my life. But addiction is a fucking tricky thing. I think I relapsed within…three weeks? And within a month it had ramped right back to where it was before. That’s what really freaked me out. That’s when I knew: I either get help, or I am going to die.
As a father, I want to be here for things. I don’t want to miss anything else.
How did you get clean?
…I also started running like a fucking maniac. Seventeen miles a day, every day. Just replacing one addiction with another. I had days where I could hardly walk. In my mind I was trying to get down to – what’s his name, in The Machinist? Christian Bale. Which was really fucking stupid. But I’d get a number of calories in my head I needed to burn, and no matter what, I would do it.
Are you ever tempted to use again?
Honestly, no. For one thing, I try not to be in a position where I could be tempted. I’ve performed in a few clubs where there is drinking and shit, but I think even if I’d never had a drug problem, at the age I’m at, I wouldn’t want to [use] anyway. I feel like this is the time in your life where you stop doing that stuff. Time to grow up.
I wonder how much your problems with your mom and ex-wife have to do with it. Do you think it’s hard for you to trust women?
I have trust issues. With women, friends, whatever. You always wonder what their real motives are. I’ve got a small circle of friends, and it’s a lot of the same friends I’ve known forever. Right now, that works for me.
I came out of some difficult things these past couple of years. I kind of feel like I’m just now finding my footing. So I want to make sure that’s secure before I go out and do anything else. I need to keep working on myself for a while.
And now you have kids. What does being a good father mean to you?
Just being there. Not missing things. If there’s anything importnat going on, regardless of what it is, I’m there. Helping them with homework whey you can. At the grades my older ones are in, it’s hard [laughs]. I never even passed ninth grade. They’re already way smarter than me.
“Not Afraid” has a positive message for people trying to overcome obstacles. Are you more comfortable now with the idea of being a role model?
Whatever I can be to people is fine. Some people may look up to me. Some people may consider me a fucking menace. But I’m grateful for every person who says I helped save them.
I don’t know, man. I feel like I took a lot of time off. Not doing shit for those four or five years, how lazy I got – it’s time to get back to doing what I love. I feel like I’ve got a lot of gas in the tank. I just want to make up for letting people down.