When it comes to treatment and recovery, people use multiple forms of therapy to help stay focus. One of the tools people use is music because it has many physical and mental health benefits. According to research music can relieve anxiety, help you emotionally heal, and put you in a good mood overall along with other benefits. As a society, we look at musicians during tough times in our lives to guide us and give us a sense of ease. Which is why musicians from every genre to write songs about their own experience with substance abuse to help inspire others and give them hope.
Drug Dealer – Macklemore (featuring Ariana DeBoo)
A very powerful song that became an immediate hit when it released, Drug Dealer is about the dangers of prescription drug use and doctors prescribing opioids. Macklemore has written other songs about addiction as well and has drawn inspiration for those songs from his own battle with addiction. In an MTV documentary, he talks about his addiction with numerous drugs, including the painkillers, OxyContin, and Percocet. In this song specifically, he calls out the pharmaceutical companies by saying, â€œMy drug dealer was a doctor, doctor/Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma/I think he trying to kill me, kill me/He tried to kill me for a dollar, dollar.â€ At the end of the song, Macklemore asks God for the strength to change what he can, acceptance for things he canâ€™t, and the wisdom to know the difference. This song has been a hit since its release because prescription drug abuse has become a focal point in the nation as opioid overdose deaths have been rising.
Dope by Lady Gaga
In this narrative, Gaga paints a picture of an addict who is begging for forgiveness and is willing to change before they lose the most important person in their life. â€œI promise this drink is my last one/I know I f***** up again/Because I lost my only friend/God, forgive my sins/Don’t leave me, I/Oh, I’ll hate myself until I die.â€ These lines are very common to family members of people who have an addiction because their loved ones have told them that theyâ€™ll stop, and this is the â€œlast time.â€ The narrator also talks about how theyâ€™ve been hurting for so long and are willing to do anything for the â€œanswer.â€ People in recovery can connect with this song because this is what they have to do with the ones they hurt and themselves â€“ ask for forgiveness.
Sober by Kelly Clarkson
Clarkson depicts a woman who has been sober for some time now after she has picked out the negative people from her life. â€œThree months and I’m still sober/Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers/But I know it’s never really over.â€ She knows that even though the negative people are out of her life, there is still a battle to fight. The narrator also talks about how she canâ€™t compare her recovery to other people and how she has to focus one day at a time, â€œSo I won’t worry about my timing, I want to get it right/No comparing, second guessing, no, not this time.â€ Even though Kelly Clarkson is not in recovery herself, she uses addiction as a metaphor for addictions that everyone faces.
Dark Times by The Weeknd (featuring Ed Sheeran)
The Weeknd, along with Ed Sheeran, wrote this song to bring to light how depression and substance abuse come hand-in-hand, along with other subjects. â€œIn my dark times, I’ll be going back to the street/Promising everything I do not mean/In my dark time, baby, this is all I could beâ€ is a perfect example of this. No matter what happens in the narratorâ€™s life, if they are in their dark times, theyâ€™ll end up on the streets again. This topic strikes a chord with many people because the families of addicts are always worried that their loved one will turn back to substance abuse if they are struggling.
The A Team â€“ Ed Sheeran
This song is about someone Ed Sheeran met in real life. His muse for The A Team was a young girl who was addicted to drugs that he met at a homeless shelter. â€œWhite lips, pale face/Breathing in snowflakes/Burnt lungs, sour tasteâ€ and also â€œBut lately, her face seems/Slowly sinking, wasting/Crumbling like pastriesâ€ is a visualization of the physical effects of using cocaine. Sheâ€™s been able to use for a while but now the physical and emotional effects are taking their toll â€“ making her fragile and she is slowly losing the will to live. Ed Sheeran takes a dark and touchy subject and sings it in a way that is more uplifting. has reached such mainstream success is his ability to connect with his audience through emotion. At times, it can be hard to put your emotions into words, especially when dealing with addiction â€“ which is why many people who are battling addiction turn to Sheeran.
The Girl You Lost to Cocaine â€“ Sia
In this ironically upbeat song, Sia brings to light her leaving a toxic relationship with a partner who was abusing drugs and alcohol. The song highlights how she tried to stay but eventually had to walk away because her significant other was too toxic: â€œBut I donâ€™t see you change, youâ€™re always at meltdown.â€ she sings to the one she has to leave behind. Families and loved ones of addicts face the fear that one day they too will have to leave their loved ones behind because they can no longer watch them kill themselves.
Semi-Charmed Life â€“ Third Eye Blind
When people hear that this song is about addiction, they find it hard to believe. But itâ€™s true. According to an interview with Stephen Jenkins, band front-man, he said that the song is about a couple being on crystal meth and experiencing the highs and lows of that constant high they are chasing. The line “I want something else…” is a reference to chasing that high. Stephen also said that â€œThe music that I wrote for it is not intended to be bright and shiny for bright and shiny’s sake. It’s intended to be what the seductiveness of speed is like, represented in music.”
Sober â€“ Pink
Pink talks about a battle with drug addiction. In the song, she realizes that she cannot live her life the way she is currently living it and she needs to change. This is seen in the second verse: â€œAh, the sun is blinding/I stayed up again/Oh, I am finding/That that’s not the way I want my story to end.â€ In the song, she also describes what it is like battling with this addiction and gives details. In the chorus, she discusses that while sheâ€™s sober, she feels better; â€œNo pain/Inside/You’re like perfection/But how do I feel this good sober?â€ Also in an interview, Pink also said that the song what about the vices that we choose.