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Tim McGraw’s Road to Recovery: The Ultimatum that Led Him to Get Sober

A familiar voice to countless country fans, Tim McGraw has performed to sold-out concert venues across the world over his decades-long career. Now 52 years old, the singer and actor has been married to fellow country crooner Faith Hill since 1996, and the pair share three daughters.

The son of Betty D’Agostino and famous baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, Tim was born and raised in Louisiana. McGraw’s mother became pregnant with Tim when she was a teenager; as a result of this, Tim believed that his stepfather, Horace Smith, was his biological father until he met Tug at age 11.

McGraw discovered his talent for music in college, where he learned to play the guitar and began playing for money. Eventually McGraw dropped out of college to pursue a music career full-time, and released his first album in 1991.

Over the next decade, McGraw released dozens of hits, topping the Billboard charts and earning awards from the Academy of Country Music. His charm and relatable lyrics made him an instant star, and eventually attracted the attention of his wife.

McGraw experienced huge successes over the coming years, though in his new memoir, Grit & Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life, McGraw revealed how his struggles with alcoholism cast a shadow on his family life and his health.

In 2004, after suddenly losing his father, stepfather, and a high school mentor within the space of several months, McGraw stated that he became heavily reliant on alcohol to cope with the pain. After gaining a significant amount of weight, McGraw said that he drank more “to dull the discomfort.”

McGraw’s wake-up call came from his wife, who recognized that McGraw had lost sight of what was important. In 2008, Hill confronted McGraw about his partying habits, telling him that he needed to choose between that lifestyle and life with his family.

Speaking to the TODAY Show, McGraw said, that the warning had been a long time coming, stating, “[…] And all of a sudden your wife looks at you and says, ‘You know, you’re getting a little overboard and you need to make some decisions.’ It makes a big impact on you.”

For McGraw, hearing this from his wife—a constant supporter and confidant—was enough to startle him into taking action, and taking ownership over his own health. In his memoir, McGraw recounts that his alcoholism had begun to affect not only his physical appearance and weight, but also his emotional presence and his relationships.

McGraw’s new book combines his own personal story of wellness with tips for incorporating fitness routines and healthy recipes into your day-to-day life. He connects the mind, body, and spirit throughout the book, and focuses on maintaining the health of each to achieve wellness.

Now over ten years sober, McGraw is one of the most recognizable faces in the country music industry, and has been celebrated everywhere from Nashville and beyond. Even still, he does not forget the support that has made him who he is—and the family that has kept him humble throughout his career.

In an interview with PEOPLE, McGraw credited his wife with making a lasting impact on his sobriety, stating that, “Faith saved my life in a lot of ways — from myself more than anything. I can go down a dark road sometimes, when you’re not feeling good about yourself, and she pulls me out. My wife makes me a better man.”

As we recognize and appreciate the journey that McGraw has taken, we understand the value of having a strong support system at the foundation of recovery. With support, combined with a renewed commitment to health and well-being, sobriety is a challenge that can be handled with hope and grace.

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