10 Songs About Addiction
There are many people in the world that struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. These people are regular average joes, successful entrepreneurs, and even celebrities. In the music industry, the public sees quite a few musicians suffer from addiction. Drug and alcohol addictions are prominent in the music industry and countless songs are written about experiences with addiction. This list is comprised of songs about addiction. It’s highly likely you have heard some of these songs before.
Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park
The lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, struggled with substance abuse for many years. This formed the common misconception that Bennington wrote Breaking the Habit. However, it was band member Mike Shinoda that wrote the song before even meeting Bennington. The song was written about a close friend of Shinoda’s that struggled with drug addiction. Bennington teared up when Shinoda showed him the lyrics. As Bennington was still struggling with his addiction at the time of the song’s release he related to the lyrics to the point that he had trouble performing the song almost a year after it’s release. Chester Bennington has been sober since 2011.
Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, struggled with addiction for a good part of his life. The song Under the Bridge was originally a poem Kiedis wrote in his notebook while feeling alienated from his bandmates when he entered a new life of sobriety. The lyrics reflect the loneliness Kiedis felt during this time and also the feelings of his past struggle with addiction.
Kiedis wrote Under the Bridge while feeling distraught and emotionally drained and thinking back on how his heroin and cocaine addiction ruined many relationships for him. Instead of spending time with his girlfriend at the time he went to buy drugs literally under a bridge. While Kiedis was nervous to show the band members his lyrics, they immediately responded by developing more upbeat music to provide contrast to the serious lyrics. Under the Bridge is the song that helped Red Hot Chili Peppers enter mainstream media and Kiedis has been sober for nearly 20 years.
Amazing by Aerosmith
Aerosmith band members were known as rock n’ roll stars that knew how to party. The band briefly broke up after staging an intervention for lead singer, Steven Tyler. In 1986 Tyler entered rehab as it was seen as the only way to save the band for good. The song Amazing is about Tyler’s troubled life and drug addiction after Aerosmith briefly broke up. The narrator of the song hits rock bottom and is amazed at how his life turned around after getting professional help. As the lyrics go, “it’s amazing with the blink of an eye you finally see the light, it’s amazing when the moment arrives that you know you’ll be all right.” Although the song came out in 1993, Steven Tyler had continuous problems with drugs and alcohol until finally getting sober for good in 2015.
It's Been Awhile by Staind
Staind’s best-known song, It’s Been Awhile, hits home with many fans struggling with addiction. The song was written by lead singer, Aaron Lewis, following a narrator with a drug addiction problem. While Lewis never claimed the song to be about himself, in interviews he has stated that it was an “acknowledgment of his past.” In the song, the narrator calls up an old love apologizing for the drug addiction ruining their relationship. The song was a huge hit for Staind on the Billboard charts and prompted many fans to write about their drug addictions to Lewis. Fans found the song so relatable they poured their hearts out in letters to Lewis where they described their struggles with addiction.
The A-Team by Ed Sheeran
The upbeat tempo and flow of The A-Team mask its dark subject matter. Many listeners don’t know it’s a story about a prostitute with a cocaine addiction. Ed Sheeran is not an addict and found inspiration for the song while at a homeless shelter. When Sheeran was 18 he did a gig at a homeless shelter and was surprised by the troubling stories he heard from the occupants. The A-Team is inspired by the story of one particular woman at the homeless shelter named Angel. The song describes a woman living on the streets since she was 18, darkened from a life of addiction. Sheeran’s subtlety and upbeat tune made the song extremely popular among his fans while bringing a daunting story of addiction to light.
Don't Leave Home by Dido
Dido wrote one of the more unique songs on this list. While the song tackles drug addiction, it also takes on the unusual perspective of the drug. To clarify, the drug is singing to the person who is addicted to it. The drug takes over the life of the addict to the point they don’t even want to leave home. Dido has found it puzzling how so many people mistake Don’t Leave Home for a love song. A friend of Dido’s asked her to play the song at her wedding and Dido suggested she use a different song. “It’s actually a song about drug addiction,” Dido has stated on multiple occasions.
Going Through Changes by Eminem
Eminem is extremely honest in his work and describes his use of drugs in many of his songs. The song Going Through Changes was on his album Recovery that was released shortly after his album Relapse. Eminem has struggled with getting sober off and on for many years. He currently has 9 years sobriety. In the lyrics of Going Through Changes, Eminem admits “inside I’m dying, I’m finally realizing I need help.” He took on the new life of sobriety for his health and his daughters. The song details his problems with depression that led to his addiction and how the addiction started deteriorating his health. An overdose and decline in overall health, mentally and physically, made Eminem finally seek the help he needed.
Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace
In the early 2000s the lead singer of Three Days Grace, Adam Gontier, struggled with an addiction to OxyContin. He entered rehab for his addiction in 2005 where he wrote the song Animal I Have Become. During his addiction, Gontier felt that he had no idea who he was anymore as his addiction led him to become abusive and angry. The lyrics of Animal I Have Become reflect these feelings that Gontier had about himself. In the music video for the song Gontier literally fights with a dark entity that he then becomes showing the ‘monster’ he felt he was during his addiction. Gontier got rid of the monster within him by checking into rehab.
The Girl You Lost to Cocaine by Sia
Although it’s not widely talked about, Sia has been sober for almost 7 years. The song The Girl You Lost to Cocaine was released in 2008, a couple years before Sia got sober. In the song, the protagonist leaves a toxic relationship where the person chose drugs and alcohol over her. The friend in the song constantly uses the protagonist as a crutch and the protagonist decides they can’t be that crutch anymore. She sings, “I don’t see you change, you’re always at a meltdown,” as she leaves the toxic relationship behind. Addictions place people around the wrong type of people that sometimes exacerbate the addiction. Unfortunately, in order to recover some relationships have to end.
Save Me by Shinedown
This song is clearly about addiction as the lyrics pose a person calling out for help. The chorus is a literal cry for help, “Someone save me if you will and take away all these pills.” A majority of addicts never plan on getting addicted and the protagonist of the song demonstrates this as he asks “how did I get here?” after losing control of his life. A lot of fans of Shinedown that suffered through addictions related to the song on a deep level. Some fans even said the song helped them through tough times during their addictions.
Shinedown’s lead singer, Brent Smith, struggled with an addiction to alcohol and drugs for many years. It wasn’t until he received ridicule from Kathy Lee Gifford on her show ‘Today’ about his weight gain that he started to take care of himself. He got help with his addiction in 2012 and turned to exercise for a healthier life.
As these songs about addiction show, it's not easy to get through this hard time alone. Follow the example of many of these musicians and get the help you or your loved one deserve. At Meridian Treatment Solutions we have many different programs to help the individual find a successful way through recovery.