Addiction is a powerful beast. One that ruins lives and ruins families. Brantley Gilbert knows that struggle all too well.
A few days into rehab, Brantley Gilbert was ready to call it quits. He told his rehab counselors and his manager he was leaving, but there was someone that they wanted him to meet before he made up his mind.
That someone was a recovering addict named Keith Urban.
Gilbert’s alcohol abuse began at a young age. When Gilbert was just 19, he flipped his truck high on pain pills.
He thought: “I’m going out like this?”
However, according to a witness, he landed on his feet after being thrown from the vehicle. It was a miracle.
He moved to Nashville in 2009 with a songwriting deal and although he exploded onto the map with the hit single “Country Must Be Country Wide,” he was dying on the inside. Drugs and alcohol were destroying his liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
Forced to go to the hospital, and then to rehab, that’s where he met Keith Urban.
“I told him, I don’t think I can do my job. I don’t know if I can ever play a song at my shows without being (messed) up. Or writing, I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level.”
Urban told him that when he first got sober, he felt the exact same way, terrified of performing sober. However, Keith also explained how much being sober had made him a better man, both professionally and in his personal life.
“My whole world flipped… At that point, I was like, ‘All right.’ ”
Finally, Gilbert was able to get back on stage, completely sober.
“As a man, I feel like I’m leaps and bounds ahead of where I was. I’m concerned about things that matter.”
He credits Urban with saving his life.
“If it weren’t for him, I don’t know if I’d be sober or be in this business anymore. I’d probably be dead.”