Drugs Help Music? – Mental Health for Musicians
Drugs Help Music?
It’s a cliche as old as music itself: the burnout musician living outside the fold. Why is there such a strong association between creative people – musicians especially – and drug (over)use? Research has shown that many creators have suffered harsh upbringings. Pain is a motivator which can lead to high ambitions, complete shutdown or a visceral search for more inebriating palliatives. Join me as I walk you through when and where I’ve found drugs to be useful, where they might not be so, and answer once and for all: do drugs help music?
I like drinking. For many years I also enjoyed smoking gram after gram of the finest brick weed I could find. Getting high and having the occasional trip was normal behavior in my group. At that time, we felt (or at least I did) that we were the best musicians in our age group. So naturally, imitating your idols is the logical next step. All their countless hours of practice was hidden but their raucous display of irreverence was obvious.
A Positive Drug Story
In that time I learned that weed could really enhance my experience when listening to music. The holy herb also provided a social lubricant which is important for an awkward adolescent. Most of all, though, I think it helped solidify my identity as a creative person in search of new vistas. Yes, the most important experience of my drug-addled years was also one of my first: the common life is not the only one. Weed helped me see that there was something beyond the suburban skies.
My mom had a saying: “You can only hide the truth between the ground and the sky.” I can only imagine how she came to that but turns out that she was right. Drugs have a dark side and it’s only a matter of time before starry-eyed youngsters find that out. If you’re going to use drugs, at least ask yourself if it really helps you.
For instance, without some Paulaner, I might not have written this post right now because sober I wasn’t feeling it. In contrast, if I’m wasted at a bar and getting into fights or blowing all my cash then maybe drugs are now a problem (or at least allowing rise to deeper issues). Specifically, as it relates to practice, try to do some experimentation. Try practicing sober for six weeks and then using your favorite substance for the same period. In which scenario do you improve more and in what way?
This Is The End
Everything has a plus and a minus and drugs are no different. I think the main concern is that, as far as I can tell, it’s usually minors who get mixed up into these things without the worldliness or brain development they need to fully appreciate the total cost. I suggest that, if you want to get into mind-bending or “consciousness-enhancing” protocols then at least balance it with as much scientific rigor as you can muster. Ask yourself whether I’m actually enhancing my life or if I’m just flat-out fucking it up. You don’t need to be a 35-year-old with lots of drug experience to figure it out.
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