Charlie Wilson: El DeBarge Has His ‘Full Support’

R&B great Charlie Wilson, of Gap Band fame, knows a lot about getting your career on track after overcoming addiction, and he shares how he would like to help El DeBarge, who recently entered rehab.

El DeBarge (left); Charlie Wilson (Getty Images)

Wilson’s fall from fame was similar. He remembers going into rehab seven times before it finally worked. He says that’s because the last time, he made the decision to get clean for himself. And when he got out, he got rid of everything from his past.

“People, places and things. Those people [from your drug past] that have easy access to you, you need to cut them out. Don’t go to those places that you used to. And don’t do the things you used to do.”

Wilson says he is prepared to be a bigger part of DeBarge’s future. Last week he tried to reach out to support his friend before the news broke, but DeBarge’s voice mail was full. Wilson says he’s going to give DeBarge his space and call him in about a month.

“He knows how to get a hold of me if he needs me before then. We’ve talked about how I did it and what I do now to live sober,” he says. “He has my full support when he gets out. If he needs me to be a sponsor, all he has to do is ask.”

Meanwhile, Wilson takes his own struggle with addiction day by day as he deals with the full schedule of a very successful comeback. His biggest supporter is his wife, Mahin. The two met during his last trip to rehab, and he says he would not have made it without her dedication. He says that everyone on his team stays on the lookout for anyone from his past who might try to tempt him. Most of all, Wilson credits his relationship with God.

“I ask God every day for guidance. If you don’t have some God in you, you may not ever shake this thing.”

Jacque Reid is a broadcast journalist and a contributing editor to The Root. Listen to her biweekly on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, visit her at and follow her on Twitter.

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