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Friday, August 26, 2016

Musicians Battle With Addiction

Great fame is often times accompanied by great stress, especially for those in the music industry. Musicians are constantly on the road, even more so today than ever because it is a lot harder to make money from album sales. Pressure comes down on them from record producers to meet deadlines. It is no secret that musicians, when they are not playing music, are at wild parties where drugs and alcohol are in abundance. Those who are struggling to cope with the stress of the music world may turn to substances to ease their troubled mind.

We have lost a number of beloved musicians over the years to substance abuse, i.e. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Townes Van Zandt, etc. All of whom had so much more too offer the world. A few years back we lost Michael Jackson and the world lost Prince this year to an overdose on the powerful opioid analgesic fentanyl.

It is important to point out that many world renowned musicians who have struggled with substance abuse have managed to find recovery and put their life back together. Sometimes they even write or share about their experience during interviews. Recently, James Taylor was interviewed in conjunction with the release of 16th album. He shared with The Telegraph:

‘A big part of my story is recovery from addiction... One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop, you don’t learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says this feels good over and over again. So you can wake up, as I did, at the age of 36, feeling like you’re still 17. One of the things you learn as you get older is that you’re just the same.’

Taylor was not alone in his struggle to break free from alcohol and drug use, Phil Collins battled with alcohol after he retired from music making. The former lead singer for Genesis and solo artist, actually didn’t have a problem with alcohol until after he retired in 2011, The New York Times reports. Like many other powerhouse musicians, Collins’ retirement did not last, as is evident by the fact he will be the musical guest at the opening ceremony for the United States Open which begins next week, August 29, 2016. In an interview with the Times, he talked about his upcoming memoir "Not Dead Yet" and he shared a little about his alcohol use, he says:

'There’s a chapter in it about the drinking, which escalated when my third marriage broke up, and I retired. I was left with this huge void. I didn’t want to work because I wanted to be with the kids, but the kids weren’t there anymore, because they moved to Miami, and I was still in Switzerland. You start drinking, and then you start drinking too much. Then it physically hurts you. I came very close to dying at that point. I’m being honest about that. The book is honest, it’s self-deprecating. I’m not shirking my responsibilities. I apologize when I need to.'

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