The world has some beautiful and lovely things in it but there is also the dark side that people don’t want to talk about. But that is the part of life we have to talk about if we want things to change and that is the world of addiction. Millions of people today struggle with an addiction of some kind- illegal drugs, alcohol, pain pills, and many others as well. One of the most vocal groups who touch on this painful yet very real aspect of life is the musicians. Songs about addiction, recovery, relapse, and the effects of addiction are some of the most powerful and memorable songs out there. Here are ten such songs:
Staind – It’s Been a While
And it’s been awhile
Since I could say
That I wasn’t addicted
It’s been awhile
Since I could say
I loved myself as well
A well known and beloved song, this one speaks to the feeling of self-loathing and depression that often comes along with an addiction. Staind touches on the inner approach of dealing with pain, addiction, and recovery. While it has been stated that no member of the group has personally struggled with addictions they still managed to capture the struggle of addiction recovery in a unique manner.
Jamey Johnson – High Cost of Living
Every day the same damn thing
I couldn’t even tell I was alive
I tell you the high cost of livin’
Ain’t nothing like the cost of livin’ high
Written by one who experienced the downward spiral of addiction first hand, the lyrics of this song by Jamey Johnson speak of the numbing cycle that many addicts find themselves in. Only through rehab, prison, and hard inner soul searching did Jonson get clean and this is the exact same struggle millions are going through right now in our country as they face drug addiction.
Brad Paisley & Allison Krauss – Whiskey Lullaby
We watched him drink his pain away a little at a time
But he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind
Until the night…he put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory
Any country music fan has likely heard this song at least once and know its haunting melody and lyrics. Many times, people turn to alcohol in an attempt to deal with pain in their life and become addicted- even to the point of death. It can be hard to stop once the addiction has taken hold and for many it ends in either a physical literal death or an emotional figurative death from alcohol or drug addiction.
The Offspring – Kid’s Aren’t Alright
Jay committed suicide
Brandon OD’d and died
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream, reality
Anyone who grew up in the Indie/Punk Rock era knows The Offspring and knows this song. It speaks to the rampant drug use of this time and the way it destroyed lives. The song delves into the way addictions take once-promising lives and turns them upside down and inside out and totally destroys them. The Offspring captured the cold hard truth that addictions can indeed “swallow so many lives.”
October – Hate Me
I’m sober now for three whole months,
It’s one accomplishment that you helped me with
The one thing that always tore us apart
Is the one thing I won’t touch again
A chilling song through and through, Hate Me talks about the path put of addiction, the ones who are there to help with recovery, the moments of weakness and relapse, and the never-ending struggle with addiction that many today face. It speaks to the cold hard truth that for many famous addicts, they want to be clean but they keep waring with themselves and losing the fight just to get up and try again.
Linkin Park – Breaking the Habit
I don’t know how I got this way
I’ll never be alright
So I’m breaking the habit
I’m breaking the habit tonight
No list of songs about the pain and struggle of addictions and recovery would be complete without the iconic song by Linkin Park. With the relapse and suicide death of frontman Chester Bennington still fresh for fans, this song still speaks to the battle addicts face as they know they are wrong yet do not know if they will ever be able to break the cycle of alcohol or drug addiction- the cycle Chester fought for years.
Theory of a Deadman – RX Medicate
Why oh why can’t you just fix me?
When all I want’s to feel numb
But the medication’s all done
Why oh why does God hate me?
When all I want’s to get high
And forget this so-called life
The first step for an addict to get clean is to admit they have a problem and then take action. This song shows things from the addict’s view, sitting in numbing pain and isolation, wondering why everyone has left, and why you bother going through the motions. For some, it is a song praising addictions yet for others, it is seen as the desperate cry for help any addicts want to scream at the top of their lungs.
Nickelback – Rockstar
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars…
They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial
This entire song touches on the often glorified life of rock stars and celebrities but also highlights the dark side of fame and fortune- addictions. The song addresses the fact that far too often abuse and addiction go hand in hand with living in the spotlight and how many times it is expected of those who are in the limelight. It also brings to light the way people on the outside tend to glorify this way of living.
Hinder – Better Than Me
I really miss your hair in my face
And the way your innocence tastes
And I think you should know this
You deserve much better than me
A powerful song that has an even more gut-wrenching music video to go along with it, this song by Hinder speaks about the pain and suffering that loved ones go through watching someone struggling with addiction. It also highlights the struggle the addict themselves experience as they wrestle constantly with inner demons and their own weakness and failures during addiction recovery.
Billy Cunnington – Walk a Little Straighter Daddy
Walk a little straighter, Daddy,
You’re swayin’, side to side.
Your footsteps make me dizzy,
And no matter how I try,
I keep trippin’ an’ stumblin’.
The final song on our list of songs about addiction, recovery, relapse and the heartbreak and struggles and pain that go hand in hand with addiction tells the story from the point of view of a young child watching his alcoholic father day in and day out. It is a powerful reminder of how addictions affect others around us and how it hurts more than just the one who is addicted.
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