Creative people battle addiction

Recent events should make it fairly clear that the war on drugs is a dismal failure.  Debate rages (as it should) about what might work and today it seems fitting to look at how creative people help in profound and very personal ways.

Now, you might assume that creative people tend to be more susceptible to addiction than the rest of us — think Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Philip Seymour Hoffman … the list goes on.  But creative people may also offer the best solution to the problem by expressing their personal experiences through their art in a way that touches us deeply and gives those of us who might fall into addiction something to hold on to.

One of my favorite young artists, Tristen, who’s appearing at Brighton Music Hall tonight with Jeremy Messersmith, has a wonderful song with a catchy tune and simple, profound lyrics that express, through pop music bliss, her resolve not to feed her friend’s habit while continuing to love and care for him — Here’s the chorus.

I will never falter, I will never fear
For I’ve seen the demons love can conquer disappear

Watch her video

Closer to home, local rising star, Chelsea Berry’s song You Me and Mary shows us how drugs can ruin a relationship.  Listen here:

Oliver Stone, in his cautionary movie The Doors, demonstrates how drugs and excess killed one of rock music’s most creative geniuses.  This is the best anti-drug experience you could ever give your kids.  Make them sit through the whole thing  before they’re 12.

If recent events aren’t enough to convince you the war on drugs is folly, watch Steven Soderbergh’s brilliant film Traffic.  As Roger Ebert says in his 4-star praise of this extraordinarily creative film, “This war is not winnable on the present terms, and takes a greater toll in human lives than the drugs themselves.”  Watch this trailer:


  • would we know Jim Morrison without the drugs?
    “Drugs are a bet with your mind.”
    ― Jim Morrison


  • Vickie and Peter, Wow – what an inspiring post; If we could all just help even one person find their true “artistic ability” – whatever it may be, we would live in a much happier/healthier place. We all know (intellectually) that no genuinely satisfying happiness can be found through intoxication of any kind. I am a caregiver for my 89 year old father. He is such an amazing role model. He survived being shot 3 times in WWII (never mentioned it to his six kids), went on to degrees, marriage, children, and many hobbies and passions. He always looked at the glass as half full and thought he was the luckiest man alive. Is it just luck? I think not. It takes courage to be happy at his age. I think it would be nice to have people from older generations tell their stories; how being strong and not giving up (or giving in) is the key to happiness. It’s a Big Beautiful World and it needs to be looked at from the inside/out. Concentrating on one’s own “problems” (or, being rapped around one’s own axil, as an Irish poet once described self-absorption to me) doesn’t provide happiness. Didn’t Emerson say that one of the key elements of success is to have made one person breath easier because we have lived? I’d love to see everyone take a struggling individual and help them find their purpose. Ah, OK – as you can see, I am in a Pollyanna-ish mood this morning. See you soon, I hope. Love what you both do for our community!
    P.S. I love Chelsea; she literally changed my Life in Gloucester; her spirit (she has what I’d call an “old soul”) has brought such joy to those who have gotten to know her both as a musician and a friend.


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