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March 25

The Inspiring Story of How Ricky Van Shelton Overcame Alcohol Addiction

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Even before the emergence of crossover sensations such as Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks, there was Ricky Van Shelton.

The “I’ll Leave This World Loving You” singer was one of the biggest male country music artists during the late ’80s and early ’90s, with country fans falling over his smooth baritone voice. When he released his debut album in 1987, the record’s first single quickly hit the country Top Ten while its follow-up single went all the way to No. 1 – the same goes to the album and the other track. 

Shelton quickly followed it up with his sophomore album. And as expected, it also topped the country charts – spinning off three more No. 1 hits. With such success, Shelton has swiftly propelled into superstar status. He has received several awards and was once even named the Male Artist of the Year. 

Indeed, it was a dream come true for the country crooner.

However, the pressures, demands, and non-stop touring took their toll on the young man from Virginia. Shelton was said to be constantly drinking. Though this did not interfere with his professional obligations – staying sober to perform – Shelton started losing touch with his family and friends. His marriage was in shambles too, and alcohol has taken full control of his life.

But the love of his wife and his parents made Shelton take a hard look at his situation. The singer revealed that every time he would talk to his parents, the last thing they would always tell him was, “We’re praying for you, Son.”

This brought back the memory of Shelton’s happy childhood days in a church where he first started singing. This inspired Shelton to release a gospel album called Don’t Overlook Salvation in 1992, where he recorded most of his old-time favorite gospel songs.

Finally, Ricky Van Shelton had followed his own good advice. He has admitted that he’s suffering from alcoholism and has since sought help to recover his sobriety.


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Ricky Van Shelton


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