Shenandoah’s Marty Raybon Opens Up About Struggle With Alcohol Addiction
Shenandoah are back with their first new music in two decades, delighting fans with their new ballad "That's Where I Grew Up"—one of three new tracks produced by Jay DeMarcus from Rascal Flatts. It's wonderful to see the band back in action, and even more so due to the fact that singer Marty Raybon has a powerful story to share: He is a recovering alcoholic who once nearly lost everything due to his addiction.
“I was raised right, I just didn’t do right,” Raybon tells the Tennessean. “From the time I started drinking until I was 31 years old, I probably spilled more liquor than most people my age had drank. How could you have a career and do that?”
The short answer to that: He couldn't. As the singer explains, both his personal and professional lives took a major hit due to his drinking. He missed concerts, lied to his wife about his whereabouts, and embarrassed his children to the point where they were reluctant to invite friends over.
Still, it took reaching a significantly individual rock bottom one day for Raybon to see the light. After stumbling to his basement to start in on a hidden case of beer, he had a revelation: “I felt like I could die,” Raybon recalls. “I...had the audacity to ask myself, 'If I died, would I go to heaven?' And I realized the answer was I was going to bust hell wide open.”
From that very moment, Raybon decided to quit drinking; a resolution he was able to stick to. He worked on repairing his family, and quit Shenandoah six years later. Furthermore, he focused on sharing his story and dedicating himself to helping those with similar addiction issues.
Things have changed radically for Raybon since his rock-bottom moment; he is back making music again and is enjoying his family (which includes two grandsons, with a third on the way). He's also still counseling others struggling with substance abuse.
“Everybody’s got problems,” Raybon notes. “But the one thing I have learned more than anything else in the world is that it doesn’t make anyone a terrible person because they’ve gone through a bad time in their life. It’s just that for some people, the potholes are deeper. It’s just someone who needs a little more loving on.”
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