Country Singer Walker Hayes Got Sober in an ‘Industry That Can Often Condone’ Alcohol

Photo from Walker Hayes’ Instagram

Country Singer Walker Hayes Got Sober in an ‘Industry That Can Often Condone’ Alcohol

By Movieguide® Contributor

For years, county singer Walker Hayes struggled with alcohol abuse, but in 2016, he decided to give it up.

In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, he discusses his journey of alcoholism and his sobriety.

“A big, big mission statement of mine is just recovery. I want to help anyone who is lonely and daunted by that idea,” the singer began.

“Because there was a time in my life where I would have said, ‘There’s no recovering from this. You know, this is going to be my life.’ I’m always writing about recovery once a week,” he continued to say. “I mean, there’s always one song out of five each week that touches on my story or someone else’s.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Hayes’ decision to get sober:

“I’m eight years sober this October,” he shared. “I woke up one day when I was working at Costco. I was working at Costco from 4 to 11 and then writing and then playing shows. And man, it caught up to me. And honestly, I had been drinking since I was probably like 13.”

He continued, “I woke up one Saturday, and I just felt like I was going to die. I felt like physically if I did one more day, something was wrong. And so I stopped, and then one day turned into two and then two turned into a week. And then a week turned into a month. And then I did the whole high on sobriety thing and got into working out and stuff. Kind of traded a bad addiction for some good ones.”

Sobriety isn’t necessarily popular, though, especially in the country music scene where the lifestyle is often encouraged and celebrated. He suggests it doesn’t always need to be.

“I am in an industry that can often condone that lifestyle,” the Grammy-nominated artist said. “It’s about drinking. And so I’m not trying to combat it or battle it or rid country music of that, but I also want to show people and just normal guys like me that there is an alternative.”

“And we can address when we have a problem,” Hayes continued. “And, honestly, our weakness can be our strength, you know? And that’s OK.”

To celebrate his eighth year of sobriety, Hayes released a new EP titled, “Sober Thoughts.”

The album details how he made it through the recovery process.

“I used to drink 24/7 so I didn’t have to have ‘sober thoughts.’ Nothing but grateful to be celebrating 8 years of sobriety with this new project, Same Drunk Tour and a collab with @athleticbrewing… Crank up the new tunes, I’ll see y’all on the road and I can’t wait for y’all to see what me and Athletic have been brewing,” he posted, celebrating the news of his new EP.

Hayes and his wife Laney lost their daughter two years into his sobriety journey, and while the tragedy deeply affected him, it also caused him to turn to the Lord.

“I have no idea how I stayed sober through the loss of our seventh child,” Hayes admitted. “But I had a best friend named Craig [Allen Cooper] who really, really allowed the Lord through him to love on me through some nasty, nasty stuff. And I’m talking about stuff where most people would be drawn away from me, you know?”

Movieguide® previously reported on Hayes and Cooper’s friendship:

Hayes was also called to Christianity after meeting Craig Allen Cooper. While Hayes was initially unsure of Cooper’s efforts to be friends, his mind changed after the minivan his family used for their six children was repossessed. They were left with a sedan that didn’t fit the whole family, so Cooper gave them his own minivan.

“I have nothing going on musically. I’m an alcoholic. I’m great at pushing people away,” Hayes remembered. “So here comes this guy named Craig, who was drawn nearer to me. And it was quite confusing. You know, there were a lot of times when I was like, ‘What’s this dude’s deal? Like, why does he love us so much? Like, why does he keep feeding us food? Why is he giving me a minivan? Why is he encouraging me? Why isn’t he like everybody else?’”

Hayes continued, “In the long run, I honestly found out he’s just as broken as me, but he just knows Jesus. He needs Jesus. Every morning he wakes up, he needs Jesus, and Jesus is a light through him. And then, it was an awareness. I began to look in the mirror and just look at simple things.”

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