Country singer Tim McGraw decided back in 2008 it was time to leave his alcohol addiction behind for the sake of family and health. He is now talking openly about it, in a recent interview with PEOPLE Magazine, in which he explains what finally led him to make the decision and how his life has taken a much healthier turn since then.
“I drank a lot from my point of view and I needed to stop,” McGraw, 45, told PEOPLE. “I felt quitting was something I needed to do. I didn’t feel I had any moral high ground with my kids in the long run.”
McGraw decided then to push for healthier habits. He began working out for two hours a day, including weight-training. Contact Music also reports the musician turned to a healthier diet by eliminating sugars.
The singer says he also trains with martial arts expert Roger Yuan for 90-minute sessions, three times a week.
Tim McGraw’s replacement technique
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 42.3 percent of men have three or more alcoholic beverages on a “drinking day,” with 21.9 percent of women drinking the same amount. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) note 51.5 percent of adults 18-years-of-age or older are considered regular drinkers, and more than 25,000 alcohol-related deaths occur annually in the United States.
Every year, as many as 23.1 percent of substance abuse cases treated in a professional setting are related to alcohol.
“I wasn’t a beer drinker. I was more a whiskey drinker,” Tim McGraw told PEOPLE. “And I wouldn’t just have a drink. If I was going to drink, I’d have some drinks. People were worried about me. It was to the point where I felt it was negatively affecting my relationships and getting in the way of things I wanted to accomplish in life. So I quit… “
Tim McGraw’s strategy to replace the problem behavior with a healthy one has been equally effective for millions. Replacement is actually one method of recovery some people and medical professionals swear by.
The key to the replacement technique is understanding how habits play an important role in overall health. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, explains in a NIH newsletter, “When behaviors become automatic, it gives us an advantage, because the brain does not have to use conscious thought to perform the activity.” She also cautions that, while replacing a bad addiction with exercise works for many people, it does not work for everyone.