Steve Grand, the openly gay country music star who caused a sensation when he came out in 2013, has spoke out about his issues with alcohol.
In a raw and revealing interview with Attitude for our September issue, Steve opens up about years of alcohol abuse, blackouts and drunken behaviour.
Steve began drinking more after the end of a seven-year relationship that started when Steve was 18. Steve reflects on the time as being a period of incredible highs and devastating lows, that was made all the more complex by the unexpectedly intense attention that came off the back of his coming out music video ‘All-American Boy’ in 2013.
But although outwardly he relished the spotlight, Steve was actually binge-drinking with a self-destructive bent while working through a less-than-perfect romantic relationship. “It was tumultuous so it ended a couple of times,” he says. “There were some very rough years, even through my video coming out.
“I was carrying around all this pain, I was just a sad person in a very dark time. My rock of the past seven years was gone.”
His drinking helped bury those fears, and kept him from fully experiencing the negative emotions that he didn’t want to face. “I needed to be numb and push through. And when I was tired, it helped me keep pushing through and be less anxious.
“After a while I was drinking every day because I was able to rationalise it and say, ‘well I’m more creative when I’m drunk’, and most of the time I’m just at home so I would be drinking in the morning. Then, on my shows, I would get destroyed.”
His drinking escalated to the point that, after one particularly rough night, he knew he had to do something about it. “I got so trashed at this party, I ended up passing out at the bar,” he reveals. “People didn’t know what to do with me. I was told later they had to put my fingerprint on my phone to get access and call someone because everyone else had left and I was out cold.”
The next thing Steve remembers is the following morning. “I woke up in my own urine in the bed of a person who I don’t even think particularly likes me,” Steve grimaces. “But he was the only person who came up in the recent messages on my phone so was the one they called and he took care of me. That was the last straw for me.”
Steve reveals that he has been sober for 18 months, after a tough road to the realisation that he had a problem. He admits that he regrets the way he behaved during this time, but takes full responsibility for his actions. “I’m so sorry to all the people who worked with me over that time, because there were times when I was a nightmare and I’m sure there are things I did and said that I’d be mortified if I heard about now,” he says.
Steve also spoke to Attitude his life growing up, when he knew he was different but didn’t relate to other young gay men, and his difficult relationship with his father. Check out the full shoot and interview in the September issue of Attitude – out now. Buy in print, subscribe or download.
Interview: Cliff Joannou
Photography: Daniel Jaems
Fashion: Joseph Kocharian