Lady A’s Charles Kelley Opens Up About Sobriety Journey: ‘It’s Amazing What Not Drinking Will Do’
In August 2022, Lady A announced they were putting their Request Line Tour on hold in order to support Kelley on his sobriety journey.
“We are a band, but more importantly … we’re family,” the trio wrote via a statement at the time. “We’re proud to say that Charles has embarked on a journey to sobriety. So, right now in order to be the healthiest, strongest and most creative band we can be, Lady A will take the time with the support of our families and team of professionals to walk through this together. It’s early on this road, but we are determined to do what will best set us up for many more years together. We are grateful for your patience.”
In a new interview with Men’s Health, Kelley opened up about his previous attempts at sobriety and what has made this time different.
Kelley noted that he had been trying to stop drinking on his own since January 2022, following a vacation in Greece with his wife Cassie and several friends. This marked his third attempt at sobriety. Kelley made his first attempt more than six years ago. As with his previous sobriety attempts, Kelley has the full support of his Lady A bandmates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood. Kelley said that this attempt at sobriety has been different, noting, “This is the first time I actually put tools in place.”
When Kelley revealed his plan to one of Lady A’s managers, Callie Cunningham Nobel, she connected with Tennessee nonprofit Porter’s Call, which helps music artists with care and resources. One day later, Kelley went into a treatment center.
Kelley also pointed out a few of the advantages he’s experienced since cutting out alcohol — namely feeling better, having more energy and being in better shape.
“It’s amazing what not drinking will do,” Kelley told the outlet. “You save yourself, I’m ashamed to say, anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 calories a day in booze — you’re bound to lose some weight. But I look back at pictures from just three months ago. It’s my face, my midsection. I’ve found that it all goes hand in hand. When I’m not drinking, I feel better. So then I work out.”
Kelley has found different things to turn to, such as ice cream and LaCroix (Kelley told the outlet that he drinks an estimated 15 cans of LaCroix water per day).
“My wife bought me an ice cream maker, and I unapologetically every night will destroy almost a pint of ice cream. I’m just like, ‘Listen, I gotta have something,’” he said.
Kelley also released what he calls “a goodbye letter to alcohol” with the song “As Far As You Could,” which he wrote with Haywood and Jimmy Robbins.
Lady A and their team are now working through setting up tour logistics, and Kelley says he is approaching the upcoming tour similarly to how he saw some other artists approach their tours — with no alcohol allowed on buses and backstage.
“They’ve been doing this thing for 15, 20 years and are in the same spot that I’m in right now,” Kelley said. “What do you want out of this life? Do you want to wreck your family and your career? Or do you want to put some things into place to keep it successful?”