Timbaland weaned himself off addictive opioids years after getting a prescription for a root canal

Boxing became a habit and welcome escape for the rapper, who eventually lost more than 100 pounds from working out twice a day with a mix of boxing, cardio, and weightlifting.

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Boxing became a habit and welcome escape for the rapper, who eventually lost more than 100 pounds from working out twice a day with a mix of boxing, cardio, and weightlifting.
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Getty/Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic
  • Rapper and music producer Timbaland, 47, recently talked about his addiction to the prescription pain killers Oxycontin and Percocet, and his road to recovery, in the January issue of Men’s Health.
  • Timbaland, whose real name is Tim Mosley, said he became addicted to the drugs after he was prescribed them following a root canal.
  • He made the choice to recover from his addiction on his own by finishing up his stash of pills, taking fewer and fewer every day, and then never buying more. After two weeks of this strategy, Mosley ran out of pills and went into withdrawal.
  • He also started working out at a boxing gym and lost over 100 pounds.
  • Not all people who are addicted to drugs can rely on only themselves to get clean, and instead may need the support of a group or rehab program.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more.

Rapper and music producer Timbaland, 47, talked about his addiction to the prescription painkillers Oxycontin and Percocet, and his road to recovery, in the January issue of Men’s Health.

Timbaland, whose real name is Tim Mosley, said he became addicted to the drugs in 2011 after he was prescribed them following a root canal. He started using them more often, especially after he started to experience arm pain from a gunshot wound he sustained when he was 17 years old.

“It put me in a great feeling of not caring, of just being free,” Mosley told Men’s Health reporter Tristram Korten. “I’m like traveling, doing shows, popping ’em, having fun, just being ignorant.”

The rapper was going through a years-long divorce battle and financial problems with the IRS at the same time, which he said further fueled his dependence on the painkillers. Mosley couldn’t recall exactly how many pills he took daily, but said it was an amount “way over the limit.”

As a result, he gained weight, developed prediabetes, and constantly felt worn out. Opioid addiction can lead to these symptoms because the drugs can increase blood sugar levels if taken for long periods of time, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“I had a dream that death was near,” Mosley said. “I saw myself with a white face.”

Timbaland took it upon himself to get clean, and he did just that

A few years later, Mosley decided it he owed it not only to himself, but also to his three kids who were 12, 17, and 27 at the time, to get clean.

He made the choice to recover from his addiction on his own, so he decided to finish up his stash of pills, taking fewer and fewer every day, and then never buy more. After two weeks, Mosley ran out of pills and went into withdrawal, which he said was “one of the toughest things I’ve been through. The only things that got me through it were my kids, my girl, the help of God keeping my mind still.”

Drug withdrawal symptoms include nausea, muscle cramping, depression, agitation, anxiety, and drug cravings, according to American Addiction Centers.

OxyTocin and Percocet are commonly prescribed opioids for pain management.

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OxyTocin and Percocet are commonly prescribed opioids for pain management.
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Samantha Lee/Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

At the start of Mosely’s recovery, he weighed 350 pounds and had back and leg pain from being inactive for so many years. So when his girlfriend Michelle Dennis found a boxing gym in Miami, Florida, where the coupled lived, Mosley decided to give it a shot, especially as a way to distract himself from withdrawal symptoms.

“When you get beat up the way I got beat up mentally, this ain’t hard,” Mosley said.

Boxing became a habit and welcome escape for the rapper, who eventually lost more than 100 pounds from working out twice a day with a mix of boxing, cardio, and weightlifting.

“He has a no-quit mentality,” Mosley’s trainer David Alexander, who also co-owns DBC Fitness in Miami, said. “He understands that this is his new life. It’s not something that’s going to go away in three months. And he’s committed. Tim is one of the most mentally strong guys out there.”

Existing research on animals suggests that regular exercise can help people with opioid dependence manage their addictions because working out can act as a distraction from withdrawal symptoms, according to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Claire Twark.

A support group for family members of people with opioid addiction.

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A support group for family members of people with opioid addiction.
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John Moore/Getty Images

Others may need help to recover from their drug addictions

Not all drug addicts can rely on only themselves to get clean and instead may need the extra suport of a group or rehab program.

Since prescription painkillers disrupt how the brain perceives pleasure and reward, a person can begin to crave or rely on these drugs for a “high” feeling because they don’t feel normal without the drugs, according to American Addiction Centers.

Breaking that cycle can be difficult, and medical professionals can help people with drug addictions with a five- to -seven-day medical detox. During the detox, a person is gradually weaned off the drugs to which they’re addicted and may also be given medication or psychological treatments like therapy to help them cope with withdrawal symptoms.

American Addiction Centers cautions people against abruptly quitting their drugs or doing so without emotional or medical support because doing so can lead to complications, like relapsing.

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