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Metallica’s James Hetfield on 15 Years of Sobriety: Fear Was a Big Motivator for Me

Metallica frontman James Hetfield recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast for an in-depth interview with the comedian and UFC commentator. In one piece of the conversation, Hetfield went into detail about checking into rehab 15 years ago and how he almost lost his family.

Hetfield’s issues with addiction were intimately showcased in Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster documentary. Luckily, the thrash legend’s stint in rehab worked and Hetfield has remained sober ever since.

“Fear was a big motivator in that for me,” Hetfield shared. “Losing my family, that was the thing that scared me so much, that was the bottom I hit, that my family is going to go away because of my behaviors that I brought home from the road. I got kicked out of my house by my wife, I was living on my own somewhere, I did not want that. Maybe as part of my upbringing, my family kind of disintegrated when I was a kid. Father left, mother passed away, had to live with my brother, and then kind of just, where did my stuff go? It just kind of floated away, and I do not want that happening. No matter what’s going on, we’re going to talk this stuff out, and make it work.”

He continued, “[My wife] did the right thing, she kicked my ass right out of the house and that scared the s—t out of me. She said, ‘Hey, you’re not just going to the therapist now, and talking about this, you’ve got to go somewhere and sort this s—t out,’ so that’s what I did … What worked for me was 7 weeks someplace, like basically tearing you down to bones, ripping your life apart, anything you thought about yourself or what it was, anything you thought you had, your family, your career, anything, gone. Strip you down to just, you’re born. Here’s how you were when you were born, you were okay, you were a good person, let’s get back to that again, then they slowly rebuild you.”

Hetfield even spoke about how the new Hardwired… to Self-Destruct track “Moth Into Flame” is written about fame becoming its own drug. “There was drink and drug and all kinds of stuff just thrown at you all the time and it starts off as a fun little thing, and then it turns into an escape, and then all of a sudden you don’t remember why you’re out there doing stuff,” Hetfield said. “I went on tour just so I could go to the strip clubs, or we’re going to drink here, but the actual playing on stage, it kind of gotten forgotten about a little bit.”

Check out this clip of James Hetfield on The Joe Rogan Experience above!

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