Do You Need It?

There’s this idea floated around by artists which says that they need their vices in order to produce great work. Journalists need Adderall in order to write their articles; musicians need marijuana in order to write creative melodies; comedians need alcohol and depression in order to write funnier, more relatable material.

This is bullshit. And most of us do this, too.

I did a podcast [#12 – Sober October] about developing your “sober skills.” I’m not a proponent of abstaining from drugs/alcohol. I think if done in a responsible and creative way, experimentation and dabbling can be fun and can provide you insights of consciousness which you didn’t know were possible.

The summer after graduating high school, my best friend and I dropped acid and went to a small show with a phenomenal local band. Not only was it one of the most amazing musical performances I’ve ever experienced, but it was then when one of the simplest, most transformative revelations hit my 18-year old tripping mind…I want to be a kinder person.

Drugs n’ stuff can be useful and pleasurable, but if you’re doing them with no aim or appreciation, then they’re just holding you back. You don’t need anything like that to be a more creative and fun individual. They’re simply tools which you can add (responsibly) to your belt.

Other than that, the most affective, sustainable, and evergreen tools for creativity, enjoyment, action, love, all that jazz…are: a consistent good night’s sleep; drinking plenty of water; exercising regularly, eating well; spending time with people who push you to be better; setting goals for yourself and working hard to accomplish them; and writing things down/checking in with yourself on paper.

Finally, a word on people who made their success on the backs of vices such as drugs and alcohol (e.g. Edgar Allen Poe, James Whitcomb Riley, Robert Burns, Hunter S. Thompson):

”But let it be remembered that many such people have destroyed themselves in the end. Nature has prepared her own potions with which people may safely stimulate their minds so they vibrate on a plane that enables them to tune in to fine and rare thoughts from “the great unknown!” No satisfactory substitute for Nature’s stimulants has ever been found.”
-Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich