Tim mcgraw drinking

14.02.2020
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How Tim McGraw's Drinking Nearly Cost Him Everything

He's performed in giant stadiums in front of thousands, sung duets with superstars like Elton John and wife Faith Hill, and sold out arenas across the country, but country music's Tim McGraw didn't begin his career with the confidence he now projects on stage. Dating back to his earlier performances as an emerging artist, McGraw said he relied on a troubling vice to give him the courage to step out in front of an audience.

"I used to have to have a few drinks to get on stage, because I'm sort of an innately shy person," he told "Oprah's Master Class" last summer. "To step out on stage and to sing and be in front of people was nerve-wracking for me in a lot of ways. That was the way I got my courage -- some liquid courage, with a little Jack Daniels."

This habit, he added, soon became an addiction and such a crutch that performing seemed impossible without it. "I couldn't do it without [drinking]," McGraw said.

 
Despite his reliance on alcohol and his own mother's concerns about his use of this "liquid courage," McGraw hadn't seen the real danger in what he was doing. "I grew up in Louisiana and we used to drink Miller ponies, sitting on a tailgate around a bonfire. I mean, that was part of the culture of growing up for us," he said.

Looking back on these times with the perspective that comes from sobriety, McGraw said he realized that he spent a lot of time making excuses for his behavior.

"You can come up with a million excuses why you drink too much," he said. "Lack of confidence, the success that came so quickly, and then some of the things you didn't realize was trauma, I guess, back when you were 11... I think the older you get, the more you start realizing those things."

As time went on, McGraw came to the harsh realization for himself.

"It got to the point where I knew that I drank too much," he said. "I knew that it was affecting my personal relationships, it was affecting my professional relationships, it was affecting my family. It was turning me into a person that I didn't want to be... I was at a point where I could lose everything that I had in my life, first and foremost, my family. It [was] time to stop. And I stopped."

 
In 2008, the night before embarking on another tour, McGraw said he had his last drink. "[I] flew to Florida that morning from being wasted the night before, and started that tour. Haven't drank since."

As he said in the 2014 interview, performing completely sober was an entirely new and challenging experience.

"That was the toughest tour that I've ever done in my life... to get through that tour not drinking," McGraw said. "I'd never done it before... I could probably count on one hand the times I'd stepped on stage where I didn't have alcohol in me, or something. That was the toughest thing about quitting."

More: McGraw tears up talking about his marriage to Faith Hill

"Oprah's Master Class" returns for its fifth season on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. ET. Upcoming masters include Ellen DeGeneres, Robert Duvall, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, Smokey Robinson, Jeff Bridges, James Taylor and Patti LaBelle.

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tim mcgraw drinking
Tim McGraw: Why I Gave Up Drinking Alcohol
Tim McGraw, People Magazine cover

People Magazine

When Tim McGraw quit drinking, he got a hot body—but that's not why he did it.

Faith Hill's husband gave up alcohol five years ago for his family.

"I drank a lot from my point of view and I needed to stop," the "Truck Yeah" singer, 45, tells People magazine's new issue. "I felt quitting was something I needed to do. I didn't feel I had any moral high ground with my kids in the long run."

So Tim traded whiskey for weight-training and reaped the rewards. "Working out is a great way to go out on stage," he says. "When I hit the stage, my adrenaline is going and I'm ready."

He also feels that sobriety helped him to be in a better place for his daughters, Grace Katherine, 15, Maggie Elizabeth, 14, and Audrey Caroline, 11. "I'm in a good place right now," he says.

"I really feel like this new album [Two Lanes of Freedom, out Feb. 5] is not a culmination of the things I've done, it's a new beginning of the things I am going to do," he adds. "I want to enjoy my career and having my family. I have a busy life, but it is a fulfilling life."

Good for him.



Remember When Tim McGraw Quit Drinking?

Tim McGraw makes no secret of the fact that he quit drinking quite a few years ago, but he didn't just give up alcohol — he did it on the very first day of a major tour.

McGraw tells Oprah Winfrey that he quit drinking the actual day he launched his Live Your Voice tour, which kicked off seven years ago today, on May 30, 2008.

“It got to the point where I knew I drank too much,” he says. “I knew it was affecting my personal relationships. It was affecting my professional relationships. It was affecting my family. It was turning me into a person that I didn’t want to be. I knew I was at a point where I could lose everything in my life. First and foremost, my family.”

McGraw admits that it wasn't easy at first to go out in front of fans without a little liquid courage.

“I had a complete blow-out drinking one night, the night before the tour started,” he recalls. “Flew to Florida that morning, from being wasted the night before, and started that tour, and haven’t drank since. That was the toughest tour I’ve ever done in my life, to get through that tour not drinking. I’d never done it before. I’d never done a show — I could probably count on one hand the times I’d stepped on stage if I didn’t have alcohol in me, or something. That was the toughest thing about quitting.”

The superstar has since replaced those habits with a healthy lifestyle regimen that includes working out very regularly. You can bet there'll be no alcohol during his upcoming Shotgun Rider tour, which kicks off in Little Rock, Ark. on June 6 and includes headlining sets at the Taste of Country Music Festival and Country Jam.

See Our Taste of Country Music Festival Acts as Kids

You Think You Know Tim McGraw?

Tim McGraw Reveals Why He Quit Drinking

Tim McGraw has never hidden the fact that he quit drinking in 2008, when he realized it was becoming a problem he could no longer control. Now the singer has shared what it was that finally inspired him to give up alcohol for good.

"It got to the point where I knew I drank too much," he shares on Oprah Winfrey's 'Master Class' TV show. "I knew it was affecting my personal relationships. It was affecting my professional relationships. It was affecting my family. It was turning me into a person that I didn't want to be. I knew I was at a point where I could lose everything in my life. First and foremost, my family."

The Louisiana native traces his problems with alcohol back to his childhood, when he found out his father was professional baseball player Tug McGraw.

"Early on, my mom had told me, 'You need to stop doing that, or it's going to become an issue for you,'" he says. "You can come up with a million excuses why you drink too much. Lack of confidence. The success that came so quickly. And then, some of the things that you didn't realize was trauma, I guess, back when you were 11 years old and you find that birth certificate."

The husband of Faith Hill, and father of three girls, recalls the moment he decided to give up what he calls his "liquid courage."

"I had a complete blow-out drinking one night, the night before the [Live Your Voice] tour started," he recounts. "Flew to Florida that morning, from being wasted the night before, and started that tour, and haven't drank since. That was the toughest tour I've ever done in my life, to get through that tour not drinking. I'd never done it before. I'd never done a show -- I could probably count on one hand the times I'd stepped on stage if I didn't have alcohol in me, or something. That was the toughest thing about quitting."

Thankfully, McGraw has maintained a healthy lifestyle, including making exercise a part of his daily routine since he gave up alcohol.

“Working out is a great way to go out on stage,” he says. “When I hit the stage, my adrenaline is going and I’m ready.”

McGraw is currently crossing the country on his Sundown Heaven Town Tour, which heads to Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. this week. See a list of all of his upcoming shows here.

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