Drug and alcohol use is common in the music industry. It’s freely available in the workplace, so is widely used recreationally or sometimes to cope with stress.

During tough times or times of unstable lifestyle (touring, studio etc), misuse of these substances is all too common and can have harmful, even permanent, consequences for your mental and physical health and wellbeing. 

Is your drug and alcohol use an issue?

One way to understand whether drinking or drug use is becoming an issue is by identifying if it is having a harmful effect on your life and the lives of those around you. It can sometimes be hard to notice the harmful effects, especially if the changes have been slow and gradual, and you’ve found ways to adjust or ignore the effects. The list below might help in identifying ways that alcohol and drug use is impacting your life in harmful ways. Make a note of how often you have experienced any of the following as a result of alcohol or drug use:

  • Unable to attend work, be productive or perform effectively
  • Missed important events or activities 
  • Feel uncomfortable, insecure or ashamed around people
  • Partners, friends or family have expressed concerns
  • Intentional self-harm or risk taking behaviour (driving under the influence, etc.)
  • Felt the need to hide or lie about the frequency of your substance use 
  • Coming down from periods of substance use with intense guilt, shame and regret for your own actions and behaviour
  • You felt unsafe or were harmed by someone
  • Experiencing lots of conflict or strained relationships
  • Financial stress due to the cost of substance use
  • Unable to concentrate or remember things
  • You harmed someone else, caused property damage or engaged in illegal activity
  • Physical injury or health issues 
  • Unable to function day-to-day e.g. sleeping or eating

Get a handle on your alcohol and drug use

  1. Take regular breaks from drinking or using drugs
  2. Keep a limit on how much you consume at any one time
  3. Be mindful of how often you’re turning to drink and drugs, out of habit or to soothe yourself
  4. Find healthy behaviours to help support you through stress and overcome obstacles
  5. Stay away from people or situations that encourage alcohol or drug misuse. If this isn’t possible, have a support person who respects your need to stay sober and can help you through
  6. Ask friends, family or workmates for support with these changes. Remember, there is no shame in wanting to get your shit together

Ok…what now?

If you’re concerned about the impact that drug and alcohol use is having on your life, there are a range of resources below to help you identify strategies for making some positive changes:

  • Ask for help and recognise when substance use is becoming an issue. Reach out to family and friends or find yourself a support group where people might be facing similar struggles
  • Books and podcasts can be great to learn more about how other people have overcome addiction and problematic substance use. These stories might help inspire or motivate you to get on top of your drinking/drug use
  • See a GP to discuss the impact drink and drugs is having on your life and explore support options. (Aussie residents are also eligible for the Mental Health Care Plan, which can save you a good chunk of money off sessions with a registered psychologist) 
  • Find a mental health practitioner that’s right for you (ask around, get on Google or ask your GP for recommendations)
  • Check out these free resources:

ARTICLES about drug and alcohol use

TOP 3 PODCASTS

Naked Life Story – Emma | 45 MIN
This Naked Mind Podcast

Hosted by Annie Grace, This Naked Mind podcast discussed the role of alcohol within our lives and culture. Podcast features both episodes around the discussion of different topics and questions as well as interviews with individuals sharing their personal recovery stories.

Listen to This Naked Mind Podcast here

Battling Withdrawls in Afghanistan with Eso (Bliss n Eso) | 27 MIN
Rhyme & Reason by MMAD (Musicians Making a Difference)

The Rhyme & Reason podcast features artists and musicians sharing their stories. In this episode, Eso from Bliss n Eso shares his experience with alcoholism.

Listen to Rhyme & Reason by MMAD here

Positive Relationships | 52 MIN
Recovery Elevator

Hosts Paul and Odette discuss their experience with getting and staying sober, with others who have had a similar relationship with alcohol.

Listen to Recovery Elevator here

Substance Abuse, Success, and Self-Realization | 49 MIN
The Anxious Achiever

This episode of The Anxious Achiever follows writer and ex-addict Seth Mnookin as he chats about his addiction’s effect on career and creativity and its connection with underlying mental health issues.

Listen to The Anxious Achiever here

TOP 3 BOOKS

Musicians and Addiction

by Paul Saintilan

Working Class Man

by Jimmy Barnes

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober

by Catherine Gray

TOP APPS

Smart Track

Developed by SMART Recovery Australia. This app allows you to track your progress, design your own recovery and provides helpful tools and resources.

Free on iOs and Android

VIDEOs about alcohol and drug use

Amber Rules, Psychotherapist and Director of Sydney Addictions Recovery

Sahara Herald, Tour Director of Frontier Touring