What do Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse have in common? Besides exceptional musical ability, these three young singers died enslaved to drugs and alcohol. In fact, I’ve noticed that many musicians seem to wrestle with alcohol or drug addictions. Why? Maybe because marijuana can improve creativity or because drugs are prevalent in the music industry. No matter why musicians become addicts, these are seven particularly painful songs that reference the struggles and pain addicts feel.
1. “You Know You’re Right” – Nirvana
Listen to a few lines from the last song Kurt Cobain recorded with his band, and hear lyrics that resound with the suffering, self-loathing and pain he felt. Cobain’s pain was so intense that he became addicted to heroin and committed suicide on April 5, 1994.
“I will never bother you
I will never follow you
Never speak a word again
I will crawl away for good
I have never failed to feel
2. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash
Stress can cause addiction, reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and struggling addict Johnny Cash used drugs and alcohol to cope with life. The lyrics of this song discuss how addicts use drugs to dull the hurt they feel, but in the end, the drugs produce pain.
“I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything”
3. “Save Me” – Shinedown
Many recovering addicts I talk to never planned on getting addicted. They merely wanted to escape reality and feel good for a little while. Drugs and alcohol aren’t an addict’s friends, though, and this song expresses the heroin and pill addict’s plea for help.
“Someone save me if you will
And take away all these pills
And please just save me, if you can
From my blasphemy in my wasteland”
4. “Animal I Have Become” – Three Days Grace
Three Days Grace released this song in 2006. It shares a man’s pleas for help and begs for confirmation that he has not become an addict.
“So what if you can see
The darkest side of me?
No one will ever change this animal I have become
Help me believe,
It’s not the real me
Somebody help me tame this animal I have become.”
5. “Sober” – P!nk
Being and staying sober is an emotionally and physically healthy goal. According to P!nk, though, sobriety can fill a recovering addict with self-pity, as it requires him or her to give up the comfort the substance provided and embrace a new normal.
Nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party’s over?
You’re like protection
But how do I feel this good sober?”
6. “No Children” – The Mountain Goats
Addicts, whether single, married, young, or old, travel a lonely road. This song about a married addict portrays the loneliness, hopelessness, and despair an alcoholic feels.
“I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn’t over
I hope you blink before I do
And I hope I never get sober
And I hope when you think of me years down the line
You can’t find one good thing to say”
7. “You’re Not My God” – Keith Urban
Addicts live and breathe getting their next fix. The drugs or alcohol become like gods, controlling their every move. Those substances kill, though. Recovering alcoholic Keith Urban encourages users to recognize and admit their problem and realize that the enslaving chains of substance abuse can be broken.
“From the cradle to the grave
Temptations all around
But no matter how good the fix
It’s gonna take you down
Now some call it a weakness
Some call it a sin
But it’s all the same behind each game
I see your evil grin
Whoa, you’re not my god
And you’re not my friend
You’re not the one that I will walk with in the end
You’re not the truth
You’re a temporary shot
You ruin people’s lives and you don’t give a second thought
You’re not my god”
These seven songs are by no means the only ones with lyrics that reflect the pain caused by addiction. They do, however, provide a glimpse into the realities of addiction. I encourage anyone considering drug or alcohol use to realize that using a substance won’t provide relief from the realities of life. It only makes things worse, but professional support can provide the inner peace and healing that potential and recovering addicts truly need.