Margo Price Writes Personal Letter About Her Sobriety: 'My Mind Is Clear and My Heart Is Full'
Margo Price is opening up further about her decision to get sober.
In a new essay penned for GQ, the singer-songwriter, 37, reveals that she stopped drinking alcohol on Jan. 8, calling it "the most rebellious thing I've ever done in my life."
"The longer you live, the more time you have to sit with death," Price wrote. "I've been a witness to more loss than I should have seen in my early years. But I'm not afraid to die anymore. And I'm not afraid to live without the comfort of self-medicating."
Price wrote that her decision to get sober came after she "started drinking more frequently again" during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly during the late summer and early fall of 2020.
"The election and the political climate and the cyber bullying and threats were wearing on me," she wrote. "I thought about wiping my social media accounts off the face of the earth and retreating to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles, the place Leonard Cohen had studied with the Buddhists and became a monk for a brief time."
But Price, of course, didn't want to leave her children — daughter Ramona, 21 months, and son Judah, 11 — or husband Jeremy Ivey behind.
"I had a family to raise — a full-time job with overtime and no sick days," she wrote. "I loved it, but I also missed my career and the way things used to be. My life was a balancing act, and lots of days I fell very far off the tightrope."
While she was "grateful for the pause" during the pandemic, she also missed the "sense of purpose" that being on the road provided her.
"I took great care of myself (most of the time) [on tour] because finally, in my adult life, I felt like I was worthy," she wrote. "At last, I had a career to be proud of, and it allowed me to put food on the table for my family."
Price explained that she was "worried" that her career, which had finally taken off after a decade of work, would eventually "become a casualty of the pandemic."
"Canceled work and the thought of missing years in my prime turned regular days into one long, lost weekend," she wrote. "My drinking ebbed and flowed throughout quarantine, as it always has through my life."
"I drank because I was worried about the state of the world, I drank because I was bored, I drank because I missed tour, I drank because I was unemployed, I drank because everyone else drinks," she continues. "And I drank even though I didn't really want to."
As she drank, she told herself that she "was in control."
"Many times I was. But as my 30s rolled on, I felt run down, and I knew my drinking was fueling my depression," she wrote. "It was always there, below the surface, trying to say hello. I drowned the voice and continued to ignore it."
But after almost a year in lockdown, Price said that she "started having heavy dreams" that made her problems hard to ignore.
"One began recurring nightly: a scene where both masked and unmasked faces stood around me in silence as I sank into heavy quicksand," she wrote. "No one reached out their hand to save me. They didn't move. They just stood there frozen, cold and emotionless as they watched me go under. After months of having this night terror, I realized what the vision was trying to tell me: I had to save my damn self."
So on Jan. 8, Price had her last drink. That same day, she started reading the book Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker "with the thought that I would take a few months off drinking and clear my head."
"As the book went on, I realized how wonderful it would be to just give it up forever," she wrote. "For the first time in my life, I felt like I was being told the truth about alcohol — a narcotic that is made from ethanol. I'd always known drinking was bad for my health, but this was eye-opening on so many levels."
"After reading Holly's book, it wasn't even hard to quit. I find that I don't miss alcohol at all," she added.
Now, Price says that she's figured out "a version of not drinking that works" for her.
"I'm not attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and I haven't apologized to the people in my life," she wrote. "As women, we are always saying we are sorry. The only one I feel the need to beg forgiveness from is myself."
"I don't identify as an alcoholic, and I have no regrets for the decisions I've made in my life," she continues. "I believe everything happens for a reason. But I also believe that quitting drinking has made parenting and work easier."
While she "can't wait to return to traveling and playing shows," in the meantime she's been "enjoying life like never before."
"I feel so healthy and full of energy," she wrote. "My mind is clear and my heart is full. And while it's no one's business but my own, I am still smoking grass occasionally. I won't apologize for that either."
In January, Price similarly told PEOPLE that she decided to stop drinking because she found it was "not serving" her in any way.
"At first, it was just going to be a break, like when folks do 'dry January' — I've done that so many times," she said. "But after reading Holly Whitaker's book Quit Like a Woman I'm seeing alcohol in a completely different light and may never drink again ... Sometimes you have to accept and forgive yourself for the mistakes and the failures you've made in your life in order to shed the layers and move on."
She also opened up about how her and her husband delved into drinking and partying to cope with the loss of their son Ezra, Judah's twin who died of a heart ailment shortly after he was born.
"We had begun hanging with a rowdy group of degenerate musician friends and partying harder than The Rolling Stones," she said.
Back in 2018, Price told PEOPLE that after an unfortunate night of drinking, she ended up in Nashville's Davidson County jail for three days.
"When you lose a child you cope differently," she said, praising Ivey, 41, with providing stability during that difficult time. "I think it's amazing that our marriage lasted after that because the statistics are not in our favor. But he's been there right beside me."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.