15 Country Music Singers Who Are Sober

Country music has a lot of songs about drinking and partying, but for numerous artists, they might sing about alcohol, but they choose not to imbibe. We found 15 country music artists who, due to former addictions, health issues or just personal beliefs, are completely sober.

1. Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw gave up drinking thanks in large part to his wife, Faith Hill, who supported and encouraged him when he needed it the most.

“I remember a moment when I was getting out of bed and going to the liquor cabinet and taking a big shot at 8:00 in the morning and thinking, ‘I have to wake the kids up,’” McGraw recalls to Esquire. “I went straight to my wife and said, ‘This is where I’m at.’ I was scared. She just grabbed me and hugged me and changed my life.”

2. Keith Urban

Keith Urban had a few attempts at sobriety before he finally got clean for good in 2006, only four months after he wed Nicole Kidman, at the encouragement of his new bride.

“I caused the implosion of my fresh marriage,” Urban later said  (via The Fix). “It survived, but it’s a miracle it did. I was spiritually awoken with her. And for the first time in my life, I could shake off the shackles of addiction.”

3. Brantley Gilbert

Brantley Gilbert has Urban at least to partially thank for his sobriety. Brantley, like Urban, previously had a few attempts at rehab, before his final one, at Cumberland Heights in Nashville, where he was visited by the country music superstar.

“I told him, I don’t think I can do my job,'” Gilbert recalled to The Tennessean. “I don’t know if I can ever play a song at my shows without being (messed) up. Or writing, I was worried my songs wouldn’t be the same, that I wouldn’t be on everyone else’s level.”

Although Urban has not publicly commented on their visit, Gilbert recalls Urban telling him he had the same fears, but found he performed better when he wasn’t under the influence.

4. Trace Adkins

Trace Adkins also had a few stints in rehab, both in 2001 and 2014, followed by a relapse in 2016, but insists he is done drinking, for good.

“It’s an extra challenge that’s put in your way, but it can be overcome,” Adkins told WBIR, adding that if he can get help, anyone can.

“You feel very lonely at first until you find out there’s a whole lot of people in the exact same boat you’re in,”  he said.

5. High Valley’s Brad Rempel

 High Valley‘s Brad Rempel, has never been addicted to anything, but made a personal choice a long time ago not to drink. Born and raised in a Mennonite family in Canada, Rempel chooses to abstain from alcohol entirely.

“I don’t really drink alcohol,” Brad told Off the Record, when asked what his favorite drink was. “I’m going to go with chocolate milk.”

6. Josh Turner

Like Rempel, Josh Turner chooses not to imbibe, not because of an addiction issue, but because of his strong Christian faith.

“I’ve never had a drink of alcohol in my life,” Turner told CBN. “I’ve never smoked a cigarette. That’s not to say I’m perfect. I’m not. I’m a sinner just like everybody else and I have my faults and I’ve been through my dark times in my life to where I wasn’t walking the walk and talking the talk, or I may have been talking the talk, but I wasn’t walking the walk.”

7. Steve Earle

Steve Earle had a long struggle with sobriety, before finally getting clean in the ’90s. But before he gave up drugs and alcohol for good, he had reached rock bottom, revealing to The Guardian that he was homeless for two years, living on the streets and spending up to $1000 a day to buy drugs.

“In the end I just gave up on heroin because I wasn’t getting that high so I went on the methadone program and started smoking cocaine,” Earle recalled. “I hate cocaine, I prefer heroin and opiates, but it was like being a monkey and you just conditioned yourself to push the button. You don’t care whether you get a shot or a banana peel, you just want something to happen to change the way you feel.”

Earle served 60 days in jail for weapons and drug possession in 1994. Sadly, his son, Justin Townes Earle, passed away in 2020, with multiple reports suggesting it was likely a drug overdose.

8. Jo Dee Messina

Jo Dee Messina went to rehab in 2004, after a less than stellar performance at a party after the Super Bowl. She entered a rehab facility in Utah, and spoke candidly about her addiction to alcohol after her recovery, and the message she now wants to share with others.

“I want them to know that they’re not alone, because the scariest thing for an addict is they feel very alone and isolated in their feelings,” Messina said (via AngelFire.com). “Being an alcoholic has a stigma to it. To be a woman and an alcoholic – oh, my gosh, the stigma’s even larger. It’s even more of a sin [than for a man]. I’ve never known a woman in the entertainment industry to have a problem and come out unscathed. But that’s a chance I have to take.”

9. Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell might not be sober, if not for his wife, singer-songwriter Amanda Shires, who became the motivation he needed.

“The catalyst was Amanda Shires, who’s my wife now,” Isbell told GQ. “I was trying to establish a long-term relationship with her, and it became pretty clear to me that she wasn’t going to be in a long-term relationship with a drunk. So that was my first real motivation to get sober. I don’t think I would have done it— I certainly wouldn’t have done it at that point — if it hadn’t been for her.”

10. Walker Hayes

Walker Hayes has been sober since 2016, when his life seemed to be falling apart. After losing more than one record deal, and barely able to make ends meet and support his growing family, Hayes still vividly recalls when he realized his drinking days were over.

“I was working at Costco, and I knew I had a problem, but my fear was, ‘How will I function sober? How am I gonna be a dad, a husband, an artist?'” Hayes told CMT. “When those anxieties crept up on me, I wouldn’t be able to drink them away anymore. But one Saturday, my body just kind of rejected alcohol. I just didn’t drink. It was the first day I hadn’t been drinking in four years, I’m sad to say. But then one day turned into two and so on. I was so high on sobriety for about a week. You feel so fresh and new for a second because I’d been drunk for four years. But then when a demon creeps in and you don’t have the alcohol Band-Aid to put on it, it was scary.”

11. Jake Owen

Jake Owen was sober for almost a year before he announced he had just accomplished 317 days of sobriety.

“317 days ago I embarrassed myself after drinking too much alcohol one night. It wasn’t the first time either,” Owen posted on social media at the time. “The next day I told myself, ‘never again.’ I am better than that, and the people I love the most deserve better. My family, my little girls, and my friends.

“Just wanted to share my journey in case anyone woke up this morning and wants to make a change,” he continued. “None of us [are] perfect… I’m just trying to be the best version of myself these days.”

12. Charles Kelley

Lady A  made the difficult, but necessary, decision to postpone their Request Line Tour, while Charles Kelley works on getting sober. His decision came after he got in an argument with his wife, Cassie, while on vacation in Greece, which resulted in him turning off his phone, drinking all night, and scaring his family and friends. What could have been the end of his marriage, became the catalyst for the change Kelley desperately needed to make.

“It makes me feel so grateful at how close I came to losing it all,” Kelley, who penned “As Far As You Could” as a goodbye to alcohol, told CBS This Morning. “I think the thing that’s hard is to know how much it affected Cassie the most, and my band, and the people around me, and how much it emotionally wrecked them for a while. I can’t really say I’m sorry enough. It’s just going to take time to rebuild that.”

13. Shay Mooney

Dan + Shay, made up of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, announced in 2023 that they had reconnected, after a four-month separation. Their time apart, and their decision to keep making music together, came as Mooney was also doing a lot of work on all aspects of himself, including his health.

“I kind of set out on this journey in a place where I was like, ‘Man, I’m tired of feeling horrible all the time,’” Mooney told People. “I was too tired and rundown mentally to play with my kids when I got off the road, or really just ever. It was all the time. I knew that that was because of my unhealthy eating habits and drinking too much.”

“I started eating super clean, whole foods and fasting, and I cut out alcohol and I haven’t looked back,” he added.

14. Ashley McBryde

Ashley McBryde went more than a year without drinking before she told anybody about her sobriety. The Arkansas native realized she was using alcohol to numb her feelings, and made the brave decision to face her emotions head-on instead of try to bury them by drinking.

“Turns out it was just really detrimental,” McBryde said on Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “And then when you’re finding out the reasons that you’re going so overboard all the time was because of your inability to feel something that your brain was like, ‘I can’t do it. I can’t do it.’ I’m like, ‘Well, that’s weak. I’m not going to accept that. I’d rather just hurt.’ This morning I was at the boxing gym working out with my coach. We were doing something that was hard, and he said, ‘Are you okay? Do you need a break?’ And I said, ‘I know how to hurt.’

“I do now,” she added. “I mean, I knew how to hurt before and add extra to it for no reason. And now, when I’m uncomfortable, I say out loud, ‘I know how to be uncomfortable.’”

15. Jon Pardi

Jon Pardi is new to sobriety, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t serious about it. The newest member of the Grand Ole Opry revealed in December that he was celebrating 112 days of sobriety, after having concerns about his physical health.

“I was pre-diabetic and I was just like, I gotta stop,” Pardi said on Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast (via Country Now). “But I will say I’m retired. Doesn’t mean I can’t come out of retirement, but for right now it’s been great.”