Drugs show no bias. They will take from anyone. It doesn’t matter your race, religion, career, or how much money you make; drugs want you.
Growing up, I never would have dreamed of doing drugs. It wasn’t something people like me did; I was too good for that. If only I had held onto the belief that I was in fact too good to lower myself to the level of a drug. I allowed myself to get in situations where the temptations were overwhelming, and my weaknesses took over. The music industry is a place where drugs often thrive. Some musicians make thousands in one show while others make nothing, but all are at risk for using and abusing drugs and alcohol. We can point fingers and judge, or we can learn from the stories of musicians to prevent drug abuse from happening and help those with addictions overcome it. This is what the music industry can teach you about drugs.
Musicians are often placed in stressful situations. While a person’s income in solely dependent on getting shows, the stress can be overwhelming if they aren’t getting enough gigs. Other musicians are crammed with shows and road trips, and the stress of successfully completing each performance can be equally crippling. Some musicians seek out ways to battle this stress, and sadly drugs and alcohol are easy, but temporary, fixes. Whether you are a musician or not, planning days and hours with moments of free time can help stress from building up. Writing down simple goals that you can accomplish daily will keep you on top of the little things.
Yes, even musicians get bored. While traveling on the road for hours, boredom can creep in. If a musician is only performing at night, the days can begin to grow long, and drugs can quickly spice up life. As I continue on my sober path, I make sure my days are filled with activities so I never experience boredom. It can be reading a book, working out, or exploring the outdoors. Find a hobby that is not only healthy, but stress-free.
This is a huge one, and for musicians, it is often unavoidable. If your friends are doing drugs, it is dang hard to not participate in the excitement. Even a strong person can fold after months of temptation dangling at their fingertips. When I gave up my drug, I gave up a big part of my life; friends, parties, and gatherings where drugs were, were erased from my agenda. It was hard, but the friends I have now are positive, uplifting, and help me grow in my desired direction. If you are placed in a poor environment that is out of your control, fill that time with other things you enjoy.
When musicians are on the road, they have to leave friends and family behind. It is not always feasible to bring them along for the ride. A lack of a support system is deadly. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of strong people behind me. Musicians need people who love them no matter what and aren’t afraid to tell them when they do something wrong. Building a support system around you and staying focused on strengthening the relationships you have can make life go much smoother.
We all hear the tragic stories of another musician dying at the hands of a drug, and it hurts my heart every single time. What can we learn from these tragedies? Drugs kill. They ruin lives, but if you search hard enough, you can find the positive ones. Not all musicians choose to do drugs, and many overcome an addiction. We all have the choice to change and leap at the chance of becoming sober before it is too late.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: ThisParticularGreg (Flickr)