From addiction to recovery: unpicking the challenges of the rock’n’roll lifestyle

From gigging musician to rock star, musicians’ lives present a range of wellbeing challenges. A new book offers professional perspectives, recovery stories, and practical advice about recovery for musicians and music organisations.

Drug and alcohol use and creativity have long been linked in the popular imagination. But while anecdotal evidence about the sector’s over reliance on mood-altering and mind-altering substances is widespread, recent studies – such as Entertainment Assist’s 2016 survey, Working in the Australian Entertainment Industry: Final Report, conclusively demonstrate that levels of alcohol and drug use are much higher in the arts than the general population.

The statistics are – excuse the pun – sobering. According to the data, artists and arts workers consume alcohol at double the rate of the general population; methamphetamine use is eight times greater; cocaine use is 12 times greater; and the use of pain killers for non-medical reasons is seven times greater.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts