Max Cavalera Reveals the Moment He Decided to Get Sober
Not everyone can identify the precise moment they decided they wanted to give up substances and get sober, but Max Cavalera does, and he recalled the revelation during an interview on clinical psychologist Dr. Mike Freidman's Hardcore Humanism With Dr. Mike podcast.
During the discussion, the Soulfly and former Sepultura vocalist detailed the intensity of his substance abuse, calling himself a "total wildman" and citing Brazil as the location of many of his experiences. Furthermore, his brother, drummer Igor Cavalera, was often the "straight edge" half of the duo because he had to take care of them whenever drinking was involved.
"And there was many years of struggling because I was hard to deal with, with that shit. Some epic stories. All the shit, it's all true. Partying with Ministry and puking on Eddie Vedder, that happened. It's fucked up and it's insane, but it did happen," Cavalera admitted.
Over time, though, he began to resent the hangovers that would reside with him in the days following his drinking. As a result, he started turning to painkillers to soothe the hangover, and to still feel a high of some sort. But "one of the final straws" of his reckless behavior happened while he was on the road, and wanted alcohol but didn't have any handy.
"I ended up going to the bathroom and drinking hand soap, liquid hand soap. I got busted doing that. My wife opened the door, and I've got the whole jug of hand sanitizer. She was, like, 'What the fuck are you doing?' I [was], like, 'I'm drinking hand sanitizer. I need help.' It was one of those crazy moments," he remembered.
As a result, he started weening himself off of substances, and added that a rehabilitation stay helped as well, because it forced him to re-evaluate what was really important to him.
"Everybody is different. Some people can do it on their own, they have that willpower. I really couldn't. I didn't have that much willpower. So I went to a place. I was there six to eight months. It was in Florida. And it was a miserable experience there, just learning. They drill that shit in you 24 hours a day in the classes. I missed my family a lot," the singer explained.
"There was a doctor that talked to my wife. He pretty much said, 'If he keeps doing what he's doing, he will be dead in a couple of years. No question about it.' Those things are eye-opener reality checks that you get," he continued. "I started to put things in perspective. And I'm, like, I worked so hard my whole life. I made it out of Brazil. The odds were one in a billion against [me]. I did all this. And I'm throw all this away for fucking drugs and alcohol? No, man. I don't wanna do that. But it is hard.
"I'm probably an addict by nature, so it's probably just dormant, it's probably just sleeping. I'm not totally cured. It's there, and always will be there."
Listen to the conversation below.