Fueling Your Creativity Through Substance Abuse

November 28th, 2012 | by | creativity


I can’t help but think that the title of this blog post makes it seem like I’m preparing a tutorial on how to abuse alcohol. That’s not really the point. My main intention was to simply draw attention to a common problem amongst creative types – alcohol and drug abuse.

For whatever reason, there is an unusually high % of addicts in the artist population. If you think about it, how many famous writers, artists, and musicians didn’t push their drinking/drug use to the extreme? It would probably be quicker to list the names of those who didn’t than those who did!

If you’re starting out in an artistic field, whether its something more commercial like web design or copywriting, or more “pure” art like painting, fiction writing, or sculpting, don’t think for a second that you need to abuse substances in order to maximize your creativity. Sadly, its a belief that’s shared by many aspiring artists.

Don’t believe me? Well, how about you take Stephen King’s word for it? King has stated that even though he once thought he needed his drink and drugs to do his best work, he’s had no problem continuing his massive success after getting sober. Living a life of sobriety doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be just as creative.

Why Are So Many Creative People Alcoholics?

At first glance, one might draw the conclusion that being an alcoholic gets the creative juices flowing. On the contrary, it might be that people with a predisposition towards alcoholism tend to be more creative and impulsive.  In other words, alcoholism is a disease that afflicts creative types. The same personality traits that might make someone more likely to be an alcoholic also tend to produce highly creative people.

This by no means mean that all alcoholics are creative, or that all creative people are destined to stumble through life in a drunken stupor. But it certainly explains a lot.

What it does mean is that there’s no need to get into a drunken haze in order to create your best work. If you enjoy a nice glass of red wine while you write/paint/scult/design, then by all means, enjoy. But don’t make the mistake of turning to alcohol or drugs as a crutch for creativity. If you’re doing this, by all means, quit while you’re ahead! You can enjoy creative success without severely compromising your health, you relationships, and your life.

If someone you care about has an alcohol problem, don’t be afraid to confront them about it.  You could save their life.  If you’re not sure how to go about it, you can find some tips here.

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