A lot of people use their art to hide their struggles, but Walker Hayes isn't most people. The singer bares a lot of his personal life in his latest boom. album, including his ongoing struggle with alcoholism, which he profoundly shares in "Beer in the Fridge" from the record.
The lyrics, which say, "There's a beer in the fridge, last of 12 / Sole survivor of my last all-nighter / In the back of the bottom shelf / It's gonna be there in the morning / Even though you won't," reveals only part of what Hayes has been battling since his last drink.
"There are times where I really do struggle," he tells Taste of Country. "Where I go ‘Would anyone even know if this water bottle is full of vodka?' I’m ashamed to say I thought that. But I am two years sober. I have nightmares sometimes that somebody switches a drink and I accidentally drink and I’m furious about it. I wake up and realize that I didn’t screw up and go backwards but it is a daily battle."
Hayes, who has never had any professional help in getting sober, credits his six children (with another on the way), with giving him the motivation to steer clear of the bottle.
“I want them to learn from my mistakes so bad that I can’t stand it," Hayes explains. "I don’t know how to deal with the pain of watching a son or daughter of mine experience some of the things I have when it comes to addiction."
His children, all ages 11 and under, might be his motivation, but it's his wife, Laney, who helps Hayes make it through the days when he is tempted to give in.
"My difficulty is just alone in a hotel where the loneliness and the quiet just won’t shut up," he says. "That’s where it’s dangerous to me. My wife is so sweet ... She probably gets tired of me calling her with nothing to say, but she’s always there for me."
With the debut single from boom., "You Broke Up With Me," in the Top 15 and climbing, and an opening spot on Kelsea Ballerini's upcoming Unapologetically Tour, sobriety seems to be serving Hayes well -- which he concedes is part of the problem.
"I read the greatest quote the other day, by Jim Carrey," Hayes recalls. "He said 'I hope everybody can get rich and famous and realize that it's not the answer.' And that's what I'm experiencing now, which also tempts me to drink. Just dealing with that emptiness that still exists. When you get everything you ever wanted, there's still this restlessness."