Granger Smith Shares His Rock Bottom, Says Grief Led To Drug Use, Suicidal Thoughts

Granger Smith: "I just wanted to end it all when the weed wasn't working anymore, and the alcohol couldn't numb it, and self-help certainly couldn't help anymore cause it takes a level of strength to self-help."

Four years have passed since Granger Smith and his wife Amber lost their four-year-old son, River, in a drowning accident in the family swimming pool.

The couple, who had two other children then, openly shared their grief on social media. Earlier this year, Smith revealed plans to step away from the country music business and focus on seminary – a decision he made after his devastation and dangerous coping mechanisms nearly led him to a suicide attempt.

He details his and his family's journey to healing in his new book "Like a River" that's out now.

Smith was using marijuana in various forms to help him sleep through the night. He developed a dependence, and he went downhill from there.

"I would wake up in the middle of the night many times and …  go, 'I lost my son,' and then I couldn't go back to sleep," Smith told ET. "It was every night, so I would take weed in some form so that hopefully I would sleep all night and it worked."

Marijuana made him feel so good he decided to use it in the morning, too, "in case something happened at breakfast." Then he thought he might as use it at lunch, too.

"And then I thought, 'If I don't have it, I'm in trouble, and the slideshow's gonna overtake me,'" he continued. "And the slideshow was just random images of River, of losing him and whether he's face down in the pool or I'm holding him, or we're going to the hospital or the doctor saying, 'We're gonna lose him.'"

The singer recalled things got so bad that one night on his tour bus in Idaho, he was drunk with a gun in his hand. He called it "as rock bottom as it got."

"I just wanted to end it all when the weed wasn't working anymore, and the alcohol couldn't numb it, and self-help certainly couldn't help anymore cause it takes a level of strength to self-help," he said. "And when you don't have any strength, what do you do? Maybe the only answer is to end it all because maybe that's where the peace is. Maybe that's when you can finally rest in that."

He saw the faces of his children Lincoln and London in his head and started praying.

"I said, 'Jesus, save me,' and suddenly I felt life sort of stop for the first time," Smith said. "The slideshow stopped. I slid the gun out of my hand, and it hit the bank, and I fell down on the floor, and I was crying, and I was horrified at my shame and my guilt and the weakness I was and the lack of strength that I had and the weak man I that I was. It all hit me at once, and that was the beginning."

Smith threw himself into his faith earlier this year and revealed plans to leave country music for seminary. His last concert is on Aug. 26. He explained that giving music up is a "huge sacrifice" because he loves it and has long been passionate about it.

"I just feel like now I have a more important message to give, and there's not enough time to do music," he told ET. "This season of my life will be actually being with my family and going to our little local church and learning under our pastor and going to seminary and getting out and speaking occasionally and talking about this book and telling people about my darkest night and how I was saved from that, so that's where I am right now."

Smith and his wife Amber welcomed their son, Maverick,  in August of 2021, two years after River's death. The singer said Maverick is the "closest human being there ever was to River."

"He looks like him, he talks like him, he likes the same things," he said. "He has blond hair instead of red. He is so similar, and he looks at his picture, and he stares at his picture, and he says, 'River,'" the singer shared. "I'll never understand that kind of chemistry and how that works, but Maverick will continue to carry on that legacy."

If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide,  contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit

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