I will never forget my mother telling me about the time she saw her musical idol in concert, and he was so drunk that he nearly fell off the stage. She was heart broken and moved away from his music after that incident. It is not an accident that addiction and substance abuse are particular to the culture of music celebrity. In fact, some research has shown that people who tend toward creative endeavors are naturally more inclined toward substance abuse and addiction.
The story is all too familiar. A young musician starts out penniless and passionate, requiring nothing but their instrument and some performance space to get by. For them, it is about nothing but creating and performing music to the best of their ability. Most musicians are particularly focused when they are working to begin their careers.
When their hard work and dedication is received with praise and fan-ship, a musician has fulfilled their primary purpose in life. Their craft has been honored and their talent validated. Having made it to a celebrity status in their career, they feel that they are on top of the world.
However, the lifestyle of celebrity is quickly revealed to come with trials and temptations. The stress of having no privacy deeply affects the lives of many celebrities. To cope, an overwhelming availability of drugs and alcohol are made available to them, as well as other addictive substances and activities. Musicians and other artists are commonly sensitive, feeling personalities who seek life to the fullest end, and are naturally inclined toward experimentation. Thus, the indulgence in addictive substances and activities begins.
The experimental nature of an artist can quickly work against them when dealing with addictive substances and activities. The desire to go further into the high or mood alteration that an artist craves leads them into a habit that cannot be controlled, and the musician’s addiction begins. Their illustrious musical career becomes tarnished as performances diminish and creative ability decreases. Their following begins to notice changes in their appearance and behaviors, and it is only a matter of time before their problem is exploited in the media.
Some musicians recover from addiction and substance abuse, usually by turning back to their musical drive, while others are defeated by it, losing their careers and even their lives. It is a tragedy when lives and talent are destroyed by addiction and substance abuse, and musicians should know that help is available to them if they are seeking a way out of addiction or substance abuse.