A great many creatives fear recovery from addiction might mean an end to their artistic achievements. Alcoholism and addiction have been see by many as the creative curse.
That said alcoholic writers probably write (or wrote) just as well sober as drunk, and as South African playwright Athol Fugard nearly said do you want to be a dead good writer, or a good dead writer?
Stephen King puts it this way “Hemingway and Fitzgerald didn’t drink because they were creative, alienated, or morally weak. They drank because it’s what alkies are wired up to do. Creative people probably do run a greater risk of alcoholism and addiction than those in some other jobs, but so what? We all look the same when we’re puking in the gutter.”
There are almost certainly more great non-alcoholic or drug using creatives than addicted ones, but the larger than life behaviours of the creative wrecking crews rock’n’roll lifestyles ensure their place in the pantheon of doomed genius.
Vice Media looked in to a random Vice-style selection of artistic alcoholics and addicts in a recent article that reasoned, “in case you need another reason to check in with your own addiction, it sounds like it kinda sucks to forget some of your biggest artistic achievements to drug-or alcohol–induced amnesia.”
Arguably the real genius creatives with substance abuse problems produce most of their best work before the addiction fully takes hold. In the alcohol soaked drug fuelled years work often becomes erratic or self indulgent sometimes incomprehensible.
Recovery from addiction can mean a return to form, a clearer vision and more energy and wit, David Bowie springs to mind.
Whatever happens creativity, like recovery is about practice, work and consistency. With these values both are possible and compatible.