Are creative people prone to drug and alcohol abuse?
The problem is temperate people make for uninteresting biographies, and we tend to remember the troubled lives of Van Gough or Faulkner, while forgetting the mellow lives of Monet or J.R.R. Tolkien.
So, the answer to the question may be we all tend to notice and celebrate the flamboyant addictions and destructive lifestyles of certain creative personalities because it fits our notions of what a “creative person” is supposed to be.
Often certain high profile rock stars and TV stars perpetuate and act out the myth.
Meanwhile, wouldn’t Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg be considered “creative”? Wouldn’t Ingmar Bergman, Richard Feynman, or Auguste Rodin be considered creative? None of them needed rehab. Are alcoholic lawyers, Vicodin-addicted grandmothers, and code monkeys snorting Adderall any more “creative” because of their addictions? The danger in the myth, as I see it, is that creative people may feel justified in indulging in very common and self-destructive addictions, because they are “artists,” to the detriment of their work. Sure some musicians may find that they are only able to work when they are high, but a heroin addicted carpenter thinks that he is only able to work he is high. That’s how addiction works. I agree that artistic passion may seem pathological or addictive to an outside observer. My father practices his trumpet six hours a day, every single morning, a ritual worthy of a diagnosis of OCD. My brother writes deep into the night, with the urgency and obsession of a meth addict. I myself indulge in all sorts of drawings, writing and childish play acting while making a film – that are sometimes not unlike the behaviour of someone on a psychotropic drug.
However, I believe the connection between creativity and addiction is more mythical and metaphorical than real. My own struggles with addiction (particularly alcohol) have had only destructive consequences for my “art.” Whatever passions I feel or alternate worlds I want to explore, substance abuse is only an obstacle.
To sum it up, to credit the Disease of Addiction to Creativity is an absolute insult to the real creatives out there!
Source : anonymous (internet)