Atlanta rapper, Gucci Mane, born Radric Davis, recently sat down for an interview to discuss his recovery from addiction. The rapper was very vocal about his daily routine of drinking lean (a mix of promethazine/codeine-based cough syrup and soda) and smoking weed. He also abused alcohol, ecstasy and prescription pills.
The hosts, Dan Le Batard, Gonzalo Le Batard, and Bomani Jones of the popular ESPN show, “Highly Questionable”, asked about the rapper’s life before, during, and after prison. Davis opened up about how his experience in prison changed him. Davis was facing up to a 20-year sentence for possession of two loaded firearms as a convicted felon. He was able to serve 3 years and 3 months due to his plea deal.
PTSD, Paranoia and Addiction
During his interview, Davis detailed how unprepared he was to deal with fame. He also highlighted the confusion, emotional and psychological pain that is often experienced in active addiction. In the beginning of his music career, he faced a murder charge from a failed robbery attempt on him. He was found not guilty, but struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. When asked if he enjoyed his success, the rapper stated, “The whole time it was always tense. I’m enjoying it now, but back then, my whole 10 years in the music game… was filled with violence, paranoia, and drugs and it was like a blur.”
Davis also explained his paranoia that someone was after him, which always put him on defense. Recalling his paranoia, Davis said, “It is miserable when you’ve done wrong for so long and done wrong by other people because you never know when it’s gonna come back on you. I had hurt so many people and people had hurt me and I never knew when it was gonna come.” He went on to explain that his addiction spiraled out of control as the paranoia continued during the highlights of his career.
Davis didn’t think much about his addiction because he didn’t see it as an issue. He noted that while he hung out with an entourage that regularly abused drugs and alcohol, they were able to stop, but he didn’t feel he could stop. It never occurred to him that he struggled with addiction until he was forced to dry out in prison. Today, he’s surprised it didn’t kill him.
Finding Hope in Prison
Prior to going to prison, Davis’ physical and mental health was spiraling out of control from his substance abuse. He stated, “I was so bloated and overweight. I was almost 290 pounds. When I got in there, I just started working out, drinking water, reading and planning and plotting on what I was gonna do when I got out and it just kept me hopeful… I tried to make the time work for me the best I could.”
His fans and social media took notice of Davis’ transformation too. Once he was released, Davis looked like a new man. He was healthier, physically fit and in a better state of mind. His transformation garnered much attention from the media and he began speaking out about his recovery and improved mental and physical health.
“When I was in prison I just had time to just sit back and evaluate everything and think about it and dry out from the drugs. It’s like it’s done. I’m over it. I got past it. To me… it’s in the past. It’s not nothing that I’m dealing with now. It’s just like I’m talking about my past life and I feel like, you know, I’m proud of what I did, that I’m still here and I’m proud I got past all of it.”
Not only was Davis able to clear his mind in prison and while receiving substance abuse treatment, he was able to “course correct” and envision a way out of his misery. Once he got the ball rolling in treatment, Davis received a lot of support in recovery from his lawyers, friends, and fans and is now engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Keyshia Ka’oir.
— Highly Questionable (@HQonESPN) January 6, 2017
Embracing the Recovery Process
While it took drying out in prison for Gucci Mane to realize he had a problem, he turned his life around and he’s walking the road in recovery. Whether you agree with Davis’ music content or not, he is living a better life in recovery by encouraging others to do the same. No matter what stage of recovery you’re in, staying connected with yourself and having a healthy support system is key to maintaining long-term sobriety.
The temptations of the music industry and addiction almost go hand-in-hand. Thousands of performing artists and entertainment professionals struggle with mental health issues and addiction. While many believe they may need drugs or alcohol for inspiration, it’s a false belief. Passion and talent can be expressed without substance abuse.
At Transformations Treatment Center, we support those in the music and entertainment industry who want to share their talents while clean and sober. Soundpath Recovery is a music recording program that helps clients express their creativity and musicality without the influence of drugs and alcohol. Soundpath integrates with PHP, IOP, and outpatient care. To learn more about Soundpath Recovery or the admissions process, call us today at 800-270-4315.