Eminem just reached an awesome addiction recovery milestone—12 years of sobriety
Eminem/Instagram, EJ Hersom/Wikimedia Commons

Drug and alcohol addiction doesn't discriminate. Whether young or old, rich or poor, famous or not, substance abuse crosses all differences and demographics. And addiction is an overwhelming obstacle to overcome, no matter who you are.

Rapper Eminem shared on Instagram this week that he had reached a big milestone in his own addiction recovery—12 years of sobriety. He shared a photo of a 12-year pin, which reads "One day at a time" and includes the words Unity, Service, and Recovery.


"Clean dozen, in the books," he wrote. "I am not afraid."

The rapper and actor had spent years battling an addiction to prescription drugs, which he described to Rolling Stone in 2011. "I was taking so many pills that I wasn't even taking them to get high anymore," he said. "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 s--t."

Eminem got sober in 2008, and in 2011 shared with GQ what he had learned from his journey through sobriety.

"The thing sobriety has taught me the most is the way I'm wired—why my thought process is so different...I've realized that the way I am helps with the music. Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I'll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know I've written a whole song in an hour. But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a f--kin' drink. But that's the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot—for f--k's sake, you can not—f--k around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it's a disease. Like, 'Stop it, d--khead. It's not a disease!' But I finally realized, F--k, man—it really is."

The star received encouragement from a fellow musician and recovering addict, Elton John, in an interview they did together for Interview magazine in 2017.

"Your sobriety day is in my diary," Elton John told him. "I'm so proud of you. I'm 27 years clean, and when you get clean, you see things in a different way. It makes your life so much more manageable. It seems to have made all the difference—I can tell when I speak to you."

"Getting clean made me grow up," Eminem replied. "I feel like all the years that I was using, I wasn't growing as a person."

Eminem's journey to recovery is like many others who abuse prescription drugs—delayed by denial and dismissal. "People tried to tell me that I had a problem," he recalled in a documentary. "I would say 'Get that f*cking person outta here. I can't believe they said that sh*t to me.'" He would think, "I'm not out there shooting heroin. I'm not f*cking out there putting coke up my nose. I'm not smoking crack," as if only illegal illicit drugs could be considered a problem.

Getting sober isn't easy for anyone, and 12 years is truly a milestone to celebrate—especially during a particularly stressful time in the world.

People in recovery have had to shift the way they maintain sobriety during the coronavirus pandemic. Meetings—a lifeline for many addicts—are having to take place online, which has both benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, attending online meetings might actually be easier for some, since it takes less effort to open a computer and log into a Zoom meeting than it does to leave the house. On the other hand, those human-to-human connections with people who understand your struggles are important, and removing the physical element of that connection changes the dynamic a bit.

Of course, the new stressors of a global pandemic and economic crisis add another layer to recovery. Routines and structure and stability are particularly important for people in recovery, and everything feels pretty topsy-turvy right now. Recovering addicts often feel isolated already, so social distancing poses an extra challenge as well. So if you have friends that you know have struggled with addiction, now is a good time to check in with them.

And if you find yourself struggling with drugs or alcohol, including prescription drugs, or if you feel like you're slipping into something beyond your control, there is support at your fingertips. Reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit https://findtreatment.gov/.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less