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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Recovery Born From Tragedy

Fame and fortune, the byproduct of a successful artistic career, are often fueled by drugs and alcohol. Sadly, a spark of genius can burn out as quickly as it ignites, leaving countless people lachrymose and in a state of malaise, asking the same question - over and over - how does this happen? While substance abuse can take everything from a person, including their life, it is possible for people lost in the darkness of addiction to flip the switch and recover from the insidious disease of addiction.

The iconic singer songwriter James Taylor was one of those people, after releasing, on June 15th, BEFORE THIS WORLD, his first album in 13 years (possibly his last ever), and says he is surprised that he made it this far, the Telegraph reports. As a teenager, Taylor became addicted to heroin and suffered from psychiatric problems - he would not find recovery until his mid-30’s.

In the interview, he talks about the worries John Belushi, his friend and fellow addict, expressed towards Taylor. Keep in mind that Belushi would succumb to the disease himself in 1982 - shortly after making the remark to Taylor. A death which Taylor said was a wake-up call, according to the article.

In 1985, Taylor wrote the song “That’s Why I’m Here,” which included the lyrics:

John's gone found dead he dies high he's brown bread
Later said to have drowned in his bed
After the laughter the wave of the dread
It hits us like a ton of lead

It seems "learn not to burn" means to turn on a dime
Walk on if you're walking even if it's an uphill climb
Try to remember that working's no crime
Just don't let 'em take and waste your time’

“A big part of my story is recovery from addiction,’ said Taylor. "One thing that addiction does is, it freezes you. You don’t develop, you don’t learn the skills by trial and error of having experiences and learning from them, and finding out what it is you want, and how to go about getting it, by relating with other people. You short-circuit all of that stuff and just go for the button that says this feels good over and over again. So you can wake up, as I did, at the age of 36, feeling like you’re still 17. One of the things you learn as you get older is that you’re just the same.”

It is often the case that recovery is born from tragedy.

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