Once upon a time, Brantley Gilbert wouldn't go anywhere without a drink.
He would turn up to writing appointments in Nashville packing a pistol and two bottles of whiskey.
He had already been ordered to attend group therapy and 12 step meetings at one point in his life, by a judge. Gilbert was stubbornly against rehabilitation though and wasn't ready to end his life of excess.
He was soon back to taking pills and drinking until his health began to fail and he ended up in the hospital with pancreatitis.
He went to rehab once again to save his life.
A week in, however, he was frustrated and ready to leave. The staff asked him to wait just one more day, which he grudgingly did. That's when they sent in a recovering addict named Keith Urban to speak to him.
Keith truly understood what it was like to live a musician's life in a drinking environment.
Brantley was finally able to open up to someone about his fear of not being able to do his job if he couldn't drink.
"I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level,” Gilbert said.
Keith revealed he experienced the same fears in his early days of recovery but that, eventually, being sober made him a better songwriter, artist and person.
During that conversation, something clicked for Gilbert.
“My whole world flipped,” he said. “At that point, I was like, ‘All right.’ ”
“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."
The two continue to support each other to this day.
Brantley also uses his struggles as a focal point for his writing.
His new album, The Devil Don’t Sleep, is set to drop on Friday and chronicles his continuing journey.
“The Devil Don’t Sleep is all about knowing that the devil is always there, and there’s always temptation,” he explains. “It just keeps me on my toes, and it’s just kind of a constant reminder to me to move forward and keep my nose in the right direction.”
"The Weekend" is his first single off of the new album and features someone he also credits for making his life what it is today, his wife Amber.