The 31-year-old has a lot to be proud of, including his three Grammy awards with Dan + Shay, his sons Asher, 6, Ames, 3, and Abram, 8 months, whom he and his wife Hannah, 32, are raising, and his “rekindled” friendship with best friend and bandmate Dan Smyers. Now, he can also be proud of his physical and mental well-being.
Mooney states, “I kind of set out on this journey in a place where I was like, ‘Man, I’m tired of feeling horrible all the time.’ I was too tired and rundown mentally to play with my kids when I got off the road, or really just ever. It was all the time. I knew that that was because of my unhealthy eating habits and drinking too much.”
His remedy was easy but needed discipline: he abruptly stopped consuming alcohol and sugar.
“I started eating super clean, whole foods and fasting, and I cut out alcohol and I haven’t looked back. That was a year ago now,” he says.
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Mooney shed more than 50 pounds as a result of altering his daily routines, which, in his words, “is great.” However, internal advantages have been the main ones.
“I feel better, is the main thing, because my mental health was suffering,” he expresses. “Your gut and your brain and your mind are so connected. And I never really realized that.”
About two weeks prior to the start of Dan + Shay’s arena tour — scheduled just before the onset of the 2020 pandemic — mooney recalls celebrating the arrival of his second son, Ames, with his wife.
What should’ve been a joyful moment in Mooney’s life was instead marked with bouts of anxiety.
“I was having panic attacks, and I’d never had a panic attack before and I didn’t know what was going on,” Mooney explains. “And after getting healthy and I stopped drinking, I haven’t had a single moment of panic.”
Mooney and bandmate Dan Smyers were dealing with their own difficulties as a duet called Dan + Shay. Besides this, Mooney was also struggling with his health and lifestyle problems.
The duo did not maintain any communication after the end of their arena tour in December 2021. While Mooney kept himself engaged with the betterment of his health, Smyers dedicated his time to rekindling his passion for music.
Mooney says, “It was just kind of the perfect timing. Dan and I were both working on ourselves and preparing for this moment. And just looking back on it, it really feels like a divine thing where it was meant to happen in the way that it was meant to happen. We needed to learn those lessons.”
“When people ask me, ‘Do you wish that you would’ve done it sooner? You wish that you guys would’ve fixed this a long time ago?’ My answer every time would be no,” he proceeds. “I’ve been sober for about a year now. I don’t know that I’ll ever look back. I just know that my life is better when alcohol is not in it. This personal journey that I went on, that’s not for everybody, but it changed my life.”