Will I Be Less Creative in Sobriety?

There is a common myth that drugs cause one to be more creative. Musicians and artists do seem to be highly susceptible to addiction, but it is a misconception that their creative abilities are the result of the drugs they take. The conception is propagated by the stereotype of the drug-addled rock star or hard-drinking writer. The truth, however, is that sobriety can actually cause us to be more creative because we remove the chemical barriers keeping us disconnected from our own emotions and inspiration.

Many creative people fall into the traps of addiction because they think drugs will make them more creative. Pete Doherty of the Libertines and Babyshambles reflected on his descent into opiate addiction in 2014 article for Independent: “To me it wasn’t a dirty street drug, it was this magic potion I read about. It was Kubla Khan, Thomas DeQuincy, Oscar Wilde: it was an aspect of their world that appealed to me — the opiated dream-world.” Many young artists look at their predecessors who were using drugs and come to the conclusion that they, too, should use drugs to be as creative as those who came before them. A cycle of influence is created, passing from the artists of one generation to the artists of the next.

In a 2007 interview, Trent Reznor explained, “I said I couldn’t be creative without drugs. Really, I was afraid to give up drugs. Once I did, once my brain started working again, it dawned on me that I Didn’t turn to drugs for creativity. I just tried to make myself feel not so terrible about myself. That’s why I did it. In the end, the drugs were crippling. They killed any bit of art that I had in me.” It is not uncommon for one to falsely believe that their creative impulses and inspiration are the result of the drugs they take. Drugs impact the pleasure and reward system in the brain, causing one to falsely believe that they are more creative. Over time, however, the motivation to use drugs overtakes the motivation to create art or music, leading to a loss in creativity.

Doherty further reflected on the relationship between his newfound sobriety and creativity, saying, “I think my creativity is going to flourish when I get clean. There are so many songs I started and never finished, and I’ve wasted so much time while I’ve been using drugs. Even if I was at the typewriter I wasn’t doing anything, I was just there. I was more likely to do a line off it than write anything, so I think now my creativity will blossom.” Musicians, artists, and other creative types of people are generally highly sensitive, and use their sensitivity in the creation of art. Drugs, and the chemical changes they make to the brain, numb one’s emotions and inspiration. When we get sober and remove the barriers between ourselves and our emotions, our creativity flourishes.

Your life can be one of joy and inspiration in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin the rewarding journey of recovery from addiction and alcoholism. The Lakehouse Recovery Center offers highly effective residential rehabilitation services, detoxification, counseling, support, and a variety of private and/or networked addiction treatment and recovery services. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707


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