Writers and Addictions

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“Coleridge was a drug addict. Poe was an alcoholic. Marlowe was killed by a man whom he was treacherously trying to stab. Pope took money to keep a woman’s name out of a satire, then wrote a piece so that she could still be recognized, anyhow. Chatterton killed himself. Byron was accused of incest. Do you still want to be a writer -and if so, why?” -Bennett Cerf

Some of the world’s most famous writers have been addicts, abusing almost anything, from coffee and alcohol to sex and drugs. They often wrote about their addictions, about the way the human conditions is degraded by them.

Here’s a short list of famous writers and their vices:

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2 thoughts on “Writers and Addictions

  1. I think what’s interesting to consider is the following question: At what point are writers simply LIVING in their addictions/problems, instead of using their writing to help them rise above those problems? Are they, by writing about their problems, making those problems a part of who they are even more? Or does writing help get rid of their problems? Where do we draw the line? I think these are important questions for every writer to ponder.

  2. We tend to have addictions to counter balance the voices of characters in our heads that speak to us and as a result we write down as our stories. But a lot of great writers also have addictions because the writing is an escape from their trauma. I know me, I have battled depression, so writing has helped me cope with internal issues.

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