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Artistic needs as a reason for substance use

  • anonymous Asks ...

    What do you say to someone who is becoming an alcoholic that is a musician and a poet and writer and who is really talented who claims that they need drinking and drugs as part of their creative process and that most great artists use substances to uncork the mind....his words not mine? It is my brother and he idealizes this tortured artist persona but I think it is more like he needs to drink so he uses his art as a way to do that. He is very talented but he is not making a living with it. He lives with my parents and he is 32.

  • Jennifer Hamilton Says ...
    Jennifer Hamilton

    This is actually a common reason people have and or give to use substances. I am unsure that I can appropriately tell you how to help him connect his use to the negative outcomes in his life.

    The technique of Motivational Interviewing is the best way to do that and it does take training and experience.

    If he enters into a dialogue with you about it, you may simply ask him if he connects his use with any stuff in his life that he is not completely happy with. Not engaging his defensiveness and need to protect his use is the best way to at least get him to start thinking about it and talking about it. Talk to him about his goals for the future in a way that does not make him feel judged. It is his life. If your parents aren't happy with him living there, it is there place to tell him. Be honest with him if he is open to your opinion.


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