Addiction Has Always Been a Source of Great Inspiration for Musicians
There are certain subjects that have sparked creativity for musicians throughout the ages. For instance; heartbreak immediately come to mind. In fact, one research study revealed that most of the number one songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the past 60 years have been about breakups. The study also showed that suffering, loss, desire, aspiration, pain, inspiration, and nostalgia were popular themes among hit songs.
It’s no wonder that addiction and recovery have been the focus of so many of the songs we have enjoyed over the years – particularly those performed by women.
Addiction is about pain, suffering, loss, and desire. Recovery can be too. Plus, it comes as no surprise that addiction runs rampant among those in the entertainment biz – especially the music industry. It seems that sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll have become a rite of passage for musicians who make it big.
Music affects us in a powerful way. This seems to be especially true when it comes to songs by women about addiction and recovery. They awaken the Divine Feminine within us. Whether you are struggling with an addiction, or you are living a sober lifestyle, there is no doubt that you can feel certain songs from the depths of your soul.
These Songs May Strike a Chord if You Have Ever Been Addicted
If you have ever been addicted, you probably have certain go-to songs about addiction or recovery. Nothing can speak to the heart quite the way music can. The anguish of addiction seems to be best expressed through music. Talking about it with others certainly helps, but there is something about the raw emotion felt behind certain lyrics that cannot be replicated.
In this article, we want to provide you with 5 songs about addiction and recovery by women.
Women relate to each other in a very unique way. Sure, we all have some favorite tunes by male performers and groups. But, there is just something special about hearing a woman’s voice express the pain of addiction or the victory of recovery that speaks to the heart.
Also, songs about addiction by women usually have something to teach us. Wise is the woman who learns from her mistakes, but wiser is the woman who learns from the mistakes of others.
Here are 5 songs we love about addiction and recovery by women:
# 1 Sober – Demi Lovato
I got no excuses
For all of these goodbyes…..
Call me when it’s over
‘Cause I’m dying inside
Wake me when the shakes are gone
And the cold sweats disappear
Call me when it’s over
And myself has reappeared…..
Momma, I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore
And daddy, please forgive me for the drinks spilled on the floor
To the ones who never left me
We’ve been down this road before
I’m so sorry, I’m not sober anymore…..
I’m sorry that I’m here again
I promise I’ll get help
It wasn’t my intention
I’m sorry to myself
Demi Lovato Knows all About Recovery and Relapse
Singer Demi Lovato is no stranger to substance abuse. She has been very open about her recovery – not only from the disease of addiction, but also from bipolar and an eating disorder.
Lovato’s co-occurring disorders have made it challenging for her to stay sober. This is the case for the millions of sober women who have also been diagnosed with some kind of mental health disorder. We applaud Lovato for sharing her struggles with the world to give hope to those who suffer from the same issues.
Not only has Lovato’s recovery been very public, so was her terrifying relapse in July 2018, when she was hospitalized for a drug overdose after 6 years of sobriety. During those 6 years of recovery, Lovato was very candid about what she went through as a young starlet, addicted to cocaine by age 17.
In Her Relapse, Lovato Remains True to Her Fans
Sober was released in June of 2018, which seemed to be an ominous foretelling of what would happen to her the following month. But, when the song first came out, it simply served as an artistic expression of her relapse experience.
Lovato clearly wanted to make a public apology to everyone because she wasn’t sober anymore. She obviously carried a lot of shame and guilt, which is quite common. This is incredible when you really think about it.
Most people who have relapsed deny it and try to hide it from friends and family. Lovato, true to form, continued to be very open about sharing her addiction experience with fans.
A Takeaway from Sober’s Lyrics
Sober opens with Lovato explaining that she is dying inside and asks to woken up only when the shakes are gone and the cold sweats disappear. Those who have struggled with opioid addiction know this reality all too well. Withdrawal is often the driving force that keeps someone stuck in the addictive cycle. They want to stop using, but they know there will be hell to pay if they stop.
The song is a beautiful but somber ballad. You can almost feel Lovato’s pain in every verse, expressing her regret to loved ones because she relapsed. In Sober, Lovato poetically describes the struggle any addicted person feels. “Call me when it’s over and myself has reappeared.” Addiction robs an individual of themselves. It truly is like a living nightmare.
When it comes to returning once again to an addiction after continued recovery, there are always feelings of deep regret, shame, and guilt. In the end, Lovato says she is sorry to herself.
If you think you might be on the road to relapse, take Lovato’s Sober as a cautionary tale. We are grateful that she survived her relapse. But, many people do not. Remember, addiction is a life-threatening disease that can result in a fatal accidental overdose.
Have you ever wondered if you have a co-occurring disorder? This quiz might help to clear things up.
# 2 Rehab – Amy Winehouse
They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, “no, no, no”
Yes, I’ve been black
But when I come back, you’ll know, know, know
I ain’t got the time
And if my daddy thinks I’m fine
He’s tried to make me go to rehab
I won’t go, go, go
The World Continues to Mourn the Loss of Amy Winehouse
Singer Amy Winehouse died in July 2011, but fans continue to feel her absence these many years later. Winehouse, known for her bluesy jazz tunes and captivating voice, died of alcohol poisoning just hours after she reportedly told her doctor she didn’t want to die.
Many people mistakenly believe Winehouse died of a heroin overdose because she was a known heroin addict. But, the fact is that Winehouse had more alcohol in her system than five-times the legal limit when she was given a toxicology screen during autopsy. The probable explanation for her death was heart failure caused by alcohol toxicity.
Winehouse repeatedly refused to get help for her addiction, which was the inspiration behind her most famous song, Rehab – released in 2006. Those close to her begged her to get help and feared for her life. But, she was very self-willed, sources say, and wanted to do things her way. She also expressed fear that getting help for her addiction and other psychiatric issues would stifle her creativity.
What Can We Learn From Winehouse’s Song Rehab?
Winehouse’s death was tragic. She was only 27-years-old and she had a very promising musical career ahead of her. Her song Rehab was basically her very public (and defiant) response to the pleas of her friends and family. They tried to make her go to rehab, but she said no. “I won’t go.” And, now, she is gone.
Going to rehab can be scary for any woman. In fact, the thought of getting sober can be downright terrifying. However, being a sober woman is a beautiful thing. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it is worth it. What would have happened if Winehouse would have overcome her fear and gotten help for her addiction?
If friends and family members are telling you that you need to go to rehab, you should definitely sit up and take notice. They are not lying to you or over-exaggerating. They are not trying to trick you. They love and care about you and they want you to get the help you need.
REMEMBER, Winehouse told her doctor she didn’t want to die just hours before she was found dead. Imagine how different our world would be if she had gone to rehab!
Not sure if you need addiction treatment? Take this quiz and find out.
# 3 Sober – Pink
Ah, the sun is blinding
I stayed up again
Oh, I am finding
That that’s not the way I want my story to end….
Nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party’s over?
You’re my protection
But how do I feel this good sober?
Is Party Girl Pink in Recovery?
We have a second Sober song on our list of addiction and recovery songs by women. This one is written and performed by Pink, released in 2008.
Pink (born Alecia Beth Moore) is known in the music industry as a notorious party girl. This song seems to be a departure from Pink’s usual dance songs like Let’s Get the Party Started and Raise Your Glass. So, what is the deal with Sober? Does Pink have a drug or alcohol problem?
It’s no secret that Pink has had her struggles with substance abuse. She has openly admitted to using and selling club drugs like ecstasy, crystal meth and Special K at between the ages of 12 and 15.
Plus, Pink overdosed on drugs when she was 15-years-old. So did her close friend Stacey Coffey, who did not survive and died tragically at a very young age. Pink says she never used drugs after her overdose, but she has continued to drink alcohol – sometimes to excess.
So, in short, Pink is not in recovery from addiction, but she has certainly earned her street creds when it comes to writing a song about addiction for women.
The Inspiration Behind the Song
Sober is an awesome song about addiction. The sun is blinding. I stayed up again. Most people who have ever had a substance abuse problem will tell you that a night of partying – whether it’s cocaine or binge-drinking – often becomes an all-night affair that ends in regret.
You would think Pink must have been having some kind of moment of realization about her drinking when she wrote the song. But, the artist has said in interviews that Sober is about having a desire to be uninhibited without resorting to vices like drugs or alcohol.
Feeling Good Sober
In any case, the song asks a question most addicts and alcoholics ask themselves when they think about giving up the drugs and alcohol. How do I feel this good sober?
The reality is that addiction doesn’t make you feel awesome. Sure, the drugs are good at first, and maybe they still do the trick sometimes. But, in the end, getting high becomes about avoiding withdrawal symptoms.
Once an addiction has progressed and tolerance has taken hold, you just don’t get as high as you once did. Plus, getting high eventually takes its toll on even the strongest person. In the end, the negative consequences far outweigh any perceived benefits.
Recovery, on the other hand, is fun. Most people who get sober say that they have had more fun in recovery than they ever did in their addiction. Sure, it is rough at first. But, with time, being sober is awesome!
# 4 Not an Addict – K’s Choice
Breathe it in and breathe it out
And pass it on, it’s almost out
We’re so creative, so much more
We’re high above but on the floor….
The deeper you stick it in your vein
The deeper the thoughts, there’s no more pain
I’m in heaven, I’m a god
I’m everywhere, I feel so hot….
It’s not a habit, it’s cool, I feel alive
If you don’t have it, you’re on the other side
I’m not an addict, maybe that’s a lie
It’s over now, I’m cold, alone
I’m just a person on my own
Nothing means a thing to me
Oh, nothing means a thing to me
One of the Greatest Addiction Songs of All Time
K’s Choice is a rock band from Antwerp, Belgium that was formed in the mid-1990’s. The band’s core members are brother and sister Sarah Bettens and Gert Bettens. They are best known for their haunting and powerful song, Not an Addict, which many agree is one of the greatest songs ever written about addiction.
When it was released in 1995, Not an Addict became an international hit. To date, it is still the band’s most popular song. It is an iconic and beautiful melody; a classic in its own right.
It is unclear what the Bettens duo was going through when the song was written. There is little (if any) information out there about their drug use. However; this song feels very personal. It truly conveys the desperation and denial someone feels when they are in the throes of addiction. It is hard to believe this song was written by someone who didn’t fully understand what it is like to be an addict.
The Power Behind the Lyrics of Not an Addict
This song is sure to evoke powerful emotions among those who know what it is like to be hooked on drugs. The song starts with a marijuana reference – pass it on it’s almost out – which is indicative of the anxiety people often feel when they are waiting for their turn to hit the joint.
Then the song quickly moves on to heroin, speaking about the warm feeling that washes over a user when they shoot up. Most people who use heroin say it takes away their pain, which is why they return to the drug again and again. Of course, there is the never-ending cycle of withdrawal and get wells that also perpetuates the addictive cycle.
The main message of this song is the battle cry of anyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol – It’s not a habit. It’s cool. I feel alive…… I’m not an addict!
Denial runs deep for those who are addicted. Quite often, addicts are the last ones to know they have a problem. They sincerely believe they are controlling their drug or alcohol use, when in fact, it is controlling them. They tell themselves over and over, “I’m not an addict. I can quit anytime I want to!”
It is only when someone confronts the reality of their drug or alcohol use that they become willing to get help. They begin to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, they are lying to themselves when they tell themselves they are not an addict. Then, recovery becomes possible.
# 5 Just for Today – India Irie
Just for today
I will not worry what tomorrow will bring, oh no
I’m gonna try something new and walk through this state
Like I got nothing to prove, yeah
Although I have the best intentions
Can’t predict anyone’s reactions
So I just do my best
I put one foot in front of the other
Keep on movin’ forward
Let God do the rest, hey
I don’t know what’s gonna happen, that’s alright with me
I open up my arms and I embrace the mystery
Finally… A Recovery Song!
We have shared five songs about addiction by women. Now, it’s time to share a song about recovery.
Singer-songwriter India Irie is known for her uplifting folksy and R&B songs. She is all about women’s empowerment, as evidenced by her song Because I am a Queen. Irie encourages women everywhere to love themselves and connect with their own spirituality. She is an international icon for inner peace, love, and self-acceptance.
Just for Today is a light-hearted song, one you can easily clap your hands to and sing along with. There is absolutely no evidence that Irie has ever had a drug or alcohol problem. This song seems to be more inspired by her desire to live in the moment and take life one day at a time.
It truly does not matter if Irie every struggled with addiction. This song is about recovery in every sense of the word. Sobriety is about embracing the mystery, turning things over to a Higher Power, and taking things as they come. Just for Today could serve as an anthem for women everywhere who are working a 12-Step program and staying sober just for today.
JFT – One Day at a Time
Narcotics Anonymous has a meditation that is read at every meeting entitled, “Just for Today:”
Just for Today, tell yourself:
JUST FOR TODAY my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.
JUST FOR TODAY I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.
JUST FOR TODAY, through NA, I will try to get a better perspective on my life.
JUST FOR TODAY I will be unafraid. My thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear.
This teaches people in the program to worry about today only. The program works one day at a time, just for today. This is the way people get and stay sober. This is how people change their lives for the better. This is how people learn to live and enjoy life without the use of drugs.
If you don’t drink or put drugs in your body one day at a time …just for today…… you will come to enjoy the recovery process. India Irie has captured the spirit of how recovering people stay sober. It really is just for today.
If you are thinking about getting sober, please take a listen to this song. It will likely give you a feeling that everything is going to be okay, even if it feels like your life is crashing down around you. You don’t have to stay clean forever. Just for the next 24 hours.
Are You Ready to Join the Recovery Ranks With Sober Women?
Addiction insists on having total control. It robs every addicted person of joy, hope, important relationships, dreams, and a bright future. In the end, nothing is left except the insatiable need to have more, more, MORE. As the saying goes, one is too many and a thousand is never enough.
If you listen closely, you can feel the pain and suffering in these songs about addiction by women. Addiction is a harrowing experience; one that leads to darkness, destruction, and death.
It has been the inspiration for music for decades. And, as long as we still have rock ‘n roll, we will always have songs about drug and alcohol use.
On the other hand, if you listen to India Irie’s Just for Today; it is like a breath of fresh air, a cool breeze in a hot room, a ray of hope in a world of darkness. There is a stark contrast between songs about addiction and songs about recovery. Such is true in life also.