There are plenty of songs about addiction and recovery that are obvious about it. There are just as many songs in pop culture that are all about addiction and recovery – and people have no idea. Many popular songs are about their singer’s struggles with substance use disorders.
Popular Songs About Drug Addiction
Odds are you’ve listened to these songs before and never made their connection to addiction. Many of these songs talk about mental illness struggles and struggles with drugs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beINamVRGy4
A lighthearted sown popular back in the 90s. However, the song is about the cycle of using and craving crystal meth. Not everyone makes the connection, but those who struggled with addiction can read between the lines and spot the references. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=araU0fZj6oQ
This song peaked at number 5 on the Billboard charts, and many thought it was a song about lost love. It was a song about love–loving heroin. The song is low and dark and shows how deeply loved the drug a heroin addict becomes. Aaron Lewis wrote this song about a man who lost the woman who could cure his addictions and get him on his best self. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4VBz8boags
Never one to beat around the bush, Pink’s song and title are straight to the point. She talks about the pain of sobriety and how challenging it can be. With lyrics that say, “but how do I feel this good sober?” the song speaks about the realities of addiction recovery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwlogyj7nFE
In this legendary song, lead singer Anthony Kiedis talks about drug addictions for the better part of his life. It’s a bittersweet song that both catapulted Red Hot Chili Peppers as a band but also exposed Kiedis’ struggles with addiction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUmZp8pR1uc
Another artist was very open about her substance abuse problems. The singer who passed away to overdose left this song behind about the struggles of admitting you need addiction treatment. More than speaking about her drinking problems, Amy Winehouse talked about her internal demons and struggled with depression. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2H4l9RpkwM
It’s impossible for any recovering addict not to shed a tear when listening to this song. The first sentence alone, “memories consume Like opening the wound,” is enough to bring all those memories back. The song explores the struggle to break the habit of addiction and how no matter what they try, it seems their “cure” always wins the battle. How many times have you said, “I’m breaking the habit tonight?” Think about it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAWcs5H-qgQ
One of Ed Sheeran’s first singles, the song, talks about the true story inspired by a girl named “Angel” volunteering at a homeless crisis shelter in England. The song tells the story of a homeless prostitute and her struggles with addiction. Never would he thought the sound would become an A-list song in a matter of weeks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49M10VIXPk4
This song describes the destruction that heroin addiction brings to people. Primarily, the song was an ode to many of his friends who died from a heroin overdose. Young made a song to talk about the many musicians we don’t get to see “make it” because their addiction wins the battle before seeing their talent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbCVcPst6J4
Music can be compelling in helping someone maintain their recovery. While this might look like a classic love song at first, those recovering from addiction can make the connection. Especially with lyrics like, “seems I’ve lost my power to choose, oh, what to love and when to let go,” that speaks to the struggle with addiction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vORIohoI4m0
In an emotional and heartfelt song, Demi Lovato exposes everything after she almost died from a drug overdose. The singer, who’s been very open about her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, comes clean in a heartbreaking song that expresses how difficult it can be to stay sober. It’s a real-life collection of mental health struggles, substance abuse, and the fight to find addiction recovery. https://youtu.be/_jNWHOf5gpA
11. Kelly Clarkson – Sober
Sober by Kelly Clarkson is an alternative rock song from the American artist. She wrote it after her friend Calamity McEntire. The song uses different the concept of addiction as a metaphor for a relationship, focusing on survival and knowing what to do when something goes wrong. “The whole point of that song is, the temptation is there, but I’m not going to give in to it,” she added. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cDdMZ2K9o0
12. Perfect Circle – Gravity
Gravity by perfect circle masterfully summarizes what it feels to make the decision to get sober and then struggle as you try to heal the wound of addiction. Like many people in recovery, getting sober isn’t just about quit drinking or using drugs. But, going back in time to remember all the people you hurt and trying to heal those wounds is a different challenge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJDDxHIaaVk
13. Sixx AM – Life is Beautiful
The powerful message behind this song is that you can change your self-destructive ways. When you realize that life is beautiful, you won’t have to keep seeking experiences like drugs or alcohol to have fun. Listen closely to these lyrics and whenever you feel sad or down, remember that life is beautiful and you’re worth it.
Messages in Songs About Addiction
It is interesting to hear the different messages that singers put out about their own experiences with addiction. Each story is different and personal, but they all carry the same message. Drugs and alcohol may feel incredible and like a safety net for the user, but in the end, there is always despair, loss, and sadness. For decades, musicians and artists have been open about the struggles of substance abuse within the industry. More than one has lost their lives to substance abuse. A quick search prompts hundreds of deaths over the years. Addiction in the show industry is so common that it prompted the birth of the “27 Club,” a list of famous artists who died at the age of 27 primarily due to drug and alcohol abuse or suicide. These songs are not here to glorify addiction. Instead, they’re meant to offer an honest and often heartbroken look into addiction and its consequences. If you’re in recovery, use these songs to remind you of your struggles, but most importantly, to fuel your progress. They can even help family members understand your struggle better.