Avoiding Addiction as a Musician

David Bowie

The music scene is saturated with drugs. Regardless of whether you are a rock drummer in London, or a Fort William based opera singer, access to drink and drugs is significantly increased if you are often on the stage.

Whether it be because of the frequency of night-time gigs, or whether it is because of the fame and fortune attracting drug dealers – whatever the reason. The rich and famous are more likely to turn to drink or drugs as a crutch to get them by.

With all this in mind, we thought running through your options if you do start to take too many drugs or drinking too often, to prepare you as a musician. Substance abuse might be par for the course… but it doesn’t have to be part of your future.

Substance Abuse and Music go Hand-in-Hand
Nobody will tell you that substance abuse and the music scene aren’t intrinsically linked to one another. With a string of celebrity musicians who have died from drug abuse already behind us, narcotic drugs and rock and roll seem to be partners in crime. In fact, there have been so many musicians who have died from overdoses, that Wikipedia has had to organise them by decade.

Among some of the most famous deaths include the likes of Jim Morrison from the Doors, Amy Winehouse in more recent year, and Mac Miller, close friend of Ariana Grande. All of these people made bad choices that led to their deaths… but they made those choices because the drugs they died using were so readily available to them at the time.

We can’t talk about drug abuse in the music industry without talking about the “27 Club”. Those who aren’t aware yet might be shocked to learn about how many rock stars have died at the age of 27 through the use of drugs. The club includes the likes of Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Jimi Hendrix.

How to Avoid Addiction as a Musician?
Now that we are aware of the huge scope of the problem, we need to start implementing ways in which you can get help for addiction and substance abuse, if you work in the music industry.

To avoid addiction, tackle it at the source. If you are offered drugs regularly through your friend circle, you need to avoid those friends and change your circle. If you see a bandmate suffering from addiction, speak up. If you think you don’t want to play a gig because the location is known for drug use, then say something. Take accountability and do your best to manage what you are exposed to in terms of substance misuse.

Of course, this can be easier said than done. To get help for an addiction that has already taken hold, you need to call in the experts. Start with a visit to your GP and plan for treatments that will help you recover before addiction puts you in the 27 club.

Where to get Addiction Help?
If you live in America, you can find some good information in the American Addiction Centre’s pages on how to quit substance abuse before it takes a firm hold. If you live in the UK, help 4 addiction can advise you on what to do to stop using.

Be aware that recovering from an addiction takes time, money, and energy that could be better spent if you avoid the addiction in the first place.

What does this mean? That it’s never too early to go to rehab if you think you have a problem. Musician or not, drug abuse shouldn’t be part of your repertoire. Get help today and secure a better future for yourself. When it’s time to hang up the instrument you need to have a life to go back to.

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