High on Fire’s Matt Pike: How I Stay Sober
High on Fire and Sleep riff-slinger Matt Pike has spent the better part of his 2010s staying sober, away from hard drugs and alcohol. It hasn't been an easy ride for the Grammy-winner, who admits he loved to drink and has relapsed on occasion, and in our sit-down interview, Pike revealed his personal keys to abstaining from certain temptations.
The word sobriety, for Pike, has an exception as the rocker uses medical marijuana to help aid his depression and shield negative energy, the latter of which he says he's incredibly sensitive to.
The High on Fire frontman also credits meditation and exercise as a means of curbing his predilection for booze.
"Mediation helps when you actually take the time out for self-care and you count your breaths and you go throughout your day," explains Pike. "I noticed days that I don't meditate, I have bad days. If I just take 10 minutes out of my day to count my breaths and not think about anything else and clear my head and then go throughout my day, my day goes a lot better. It works for me, it doesn't have to work for everybody else."
As for the exercise, it doesn't have to be anything intensely physical — just a simple walk, which can even be used as an opportunity to work in some meditation time. "Count your breaths while you walk, count your steps," he advises.
Still, playing in a metal band, hanging around bars all the time means the temptation is always there. Fortunately, Pike has taken a liking to Heineken Zero, a non-alcoholic brew that's ideal in social settings.
"If I eat a little weed before I go out and then I have Heineken Zeros, it seems like I'm drinking," he divulges, "but actually I'm just getting kind of high and watching people repeat themselves."
Another reminder that abstaining from alcohol is a lifelong battle was the news of Metallica's James Hetfield, who had been sober since checking into rehab in 2001, was once again forced to confront his addiction by returning to rehab earlier this year.
"I love James," Pike beams. "He was sober for so long and he called me about my Grammy and a couple times when I was not doing so great. Him or Kirk Hammett I could text something to and they'd have something to say that was cool. It's cool when other peers have your back like that."
On how to stay on the path that steers clear of alcohol, Pike realizes, "It's just a reality. It's a matter of practice. The more you practice anything, the more perfect you get at it. Not drinking alcohol when you love it as much as I do, or James does, or anybody does, you've just got to practice. You've got to practice not doing it and get good at subsidizing what your mind wants to do."
Thanks to Matt Pike for sharing his story. Watch the full interview at the top of the page and follow High on Fire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get your copy of the band's latest record, Electric Messiah, here.
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