Walker Hayes Reveals Why He Needs to Keep Talking About His Sobriety

Count Walker Hayes among the large, and growing, number of country music artists who proudly live a sober lifestyle. But unlike some artists Hayes, who has been sober since 2015, wants to — and maybe needs to — talk about his brave choice to quit drinking.

“I think for me personally, if I was not vocal about my sobriety or my recovery, I’m pretty sure that would leave it in the dark for me, where I would still have these little exit strategies,” Hayes said on The Kelleigh Bannen Show on Apple Music Country. “And so I kind of see whoever’s on the other side of a table with me as my accountability partner. Anything I do alone, I just don’t do alone very well. It’s secretive. And so I think me being vocal about it was like, I just want to go all the way with this sobriety thing.”

Hayes just released his latest Sober Thoughts EP, five songs all related to drinking and sobriety, including “AA” and “Same Drunk.” Hayes has a long history of not only talking but singing about his sobriety, something he says he will do for the remainder of his career.

“There are just some topics I can’t stop writing about,” Hayes says. “And one is that. Because again, I really am always thinking about this stuff. I’m eight years sober, and I’m not guaranteed another year. I’m not standing here proudly going, ‘I’m going to be sober 80 years.’ I would like to be, but life’s hard, and there the nights where I’m like, ‘No one would know.’ And so I still think of these things.”

Hayes also partnered with Athletic Brewing, a non-alcoholic beer company, to create his own Fancy Like beer.

“But the gimmicky, if you will, for lack of a better term, with releasing these songs, is I have collaborated with Athletic Brewing Company, and we’re making a beer… It’s amazing,” Hayes boasts. “It’s a non-alcoholic beer, and I love it.”

“Same Drunk,” written by Hayes along with Ben Hayslip, Josh Jenkins and Matt Jenkins, is Hayes’ own personal recounting of his own personal journey with addiction, and his own way of overcoming his desire to drink.

“All I noticed after I quit drinking was that everything else was the same,” Hayes reflects. “It just didn’t come with these stigmas. But they were still damaging. Spending three hours in the gym every day, only focused on my physical appearance, that will ruin my family, that will ruin my relationship with my kids, that will ruin my relationship with my wife.

“Going on the road all the time and just trying to be hero with my songs and these things I say, that makes me all of a sudden feel like God, and that also ruins my family,” he continues. “And so I basically noticed that that’s kind of what we do… I mean, what do you do in a day that’s not a coping mechanism? I can’t find one.”

Hayes will embark on his Same Drunk Tour in May. Find his Same Drunk EP, and all of Hayes’ music and upcoming shows, at WalkerHayes.com.