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155 Songs About Substance Abuse, Addiction and Recovery

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Too many songs glorify drugs and alcohol.  Use these pop, rock and country songs about addiction, dependency, sobriety and recovery to celebrate your journey to a better life.

Too many songs glorify drugs and alcohol. Use these pop, rock and country songs about addiction, dependency, sobriety and recovery to celebrate your journey to a better life.

The Downward Spiral of Self-Destruction Is Difficult to Watch

Kylee is an aging beauty—long blonde hair, with a mouth like a sailor. She's sneaky smart in the street kind of way and can crack a joke (clean or dirty) that will have everyone in the room doubled over in stiches.

The other week, Kylee headed for Wal-mart on what was supposed to be a quick grocery run. She didn't come back for four days.

Actually, she's done that a couple of times. And really, should it be a surprise? (Everyone knows you can't run to Wal-mart for a quick anything.) But four days is a long shopping trip, especially when she has a teenage daughter waiting for her at home. Kylee's mother eventually found her at a crack house on the low side of town, consorting with dangerous people.

Because of her drug habit, the regional jail has been Kylee's occasional address. She's stolen prescription drugs from a chronically ill relative. She's allegedly traded drugs for sex. She's beaten up her own drug dealer and stolen his car (never a smart move).

An addict, she has quit drugs, relapsed, gone to rehab, and repeated the awful cycle of addiction. Perhaps one day she will succeed in getting clean, but for now she waits to hit bottom. "Where's the end of this? How much lower can she go?" others wonder, saddened, disgusted, and unable to help.

Although I've never struggled with drugs or alcohol personally, I have known substance abusers. Kylee is my cousin. If her story is familiar to you, then I hope it's because you've made it to the other side and are recovering. I wish you peace, strength, and good health in your lifelong journey.

Here is a long list of songs about addiction, dependency, getting sober, and the process of recovery — because each day of being clean and sober should be cause for celebration. Make a playlist to remind yourself just how far you have come. Or make a playlist for someone you love who is on this journey.

"Not feeling is no replacement for reality. Your problems today are still your problems tomorrow." - Larry Michael Dredla, American author

"Not feeling is no replacement for reality. Your problems today are still your problems tomorrow." - Larry Michael Dredla, American author

1. "It's Been Awhile" by Staind

Recovery has been a long road for the narrator in this 2001 rock song. He's finally calling an old love whom he hurt with his addiction. He apologizes and explains that it's been awhile since drugs didn't control his life. It feels good to be clean again.

Best recovery lyrics:

And it's been awhile since I can say that I wasn't addicted
And it's been awhile since I can say I love myself as well.

2. "Young Homie" by Chris Rene

Alcohol and drugs used to plague the guy in this 2012 song, but now he blisses out on being clean and sober. He wants other young people to know that life's too short for addiction.

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Best sobriety and recovery lyrics:

And I got the recipe, I don't need no Hennessey,
Yeah, it's been nine months now,
Haven't had a drink and I'm starting to see clear now,
I'm putting all my fears down,
I can hear the cheers now,
Seeing peace signs when I look around.

According to The National Institute of Health, "Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her."

According to The National Institute of Health, "Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her."

3. “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse

One of Rolling Stone's "Greatest Songs of All Time," this 2006 Motown-influenced hit is about the denial of addiction. The narrator insists that her problem isn't all that bad — that she drinks because she fears a break-up with her soulmate.

She insists she doesn't have the time for rehab, and there's nothing new she can learn there. The autobiographically-inspired song was written after the singer's 15-minute stay in rehab which she attended simply so she could tell her record label that she went. Sadly, the extraordinarily talented Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of 27.

Best addiction and dependency lyrics:

The man said, "Why do you think you here?"
I said, "I got no idea"
"I'm gonna, I'm gonna lose my baby
So I always keep a bottle near."

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard, American author

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard, American author

Common Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Each individual and situation is different. Seek professional advice if you suspect someone you love is substance addicted.

Sudden changes in appearance (e.g., weight loss or gain, dilated pupils, unusual smells on the breath or clothes)

Poor grooming (e.g., unwashed clothes, unbathed, teeth not brushed)

Memory gaps - (e.g., unable to recall what happened the night before)

New health concerns (e.g., headaches, excessive sniffing or runny nose, tremors, seizures, lack of coordination)

Lack of interest in sleeping or eating

Loss of interest in social activities that used to be enjoyable (e.g., school, hobbies, exercise)

Unexplainable paraonia or confusion

Unexplained need for money - may borrow or steal to get it

Personality changes - mood and attitude may reflect more irritability and anger

Missing work, school, or important engagements; having problems with work/school

Hyperactivity or underactive

Friendship groups may change - long time friends may be replaced by new ones, new activies and hangouts

Increased secrecy, demands for privacy, and defensiveness

Legal problems/involvement in criminal activity

Poorer stress coping

4. "Amazing" by Aerosmith

This 1993 power ballad describes the desperation of a life of pain, drugs, and sin. The narrator finally hit bottom, and when he got help, he was amazed at how his life turned around.

Best recovery lyrics:

It's amazing
With the blink of an eye, I finally saw the light
It's amazing
That when the moment arrives, you know you'll be alright.

5. "High Cost of Living" by Jamey Johnson

From the inside of a prison cell, the guy in this 2008 country song is remorseful about his choices. He had a sweet wife who doubled as a best friend, a job, and he owned property.

However, he was running with the wrong crowd and traded the security of his life for "cocaine and a whore" when the police nabbed him in a local motel. From behind bars, he's gained new appreciation and perspective.

Best lyrics about dependency:

I tell you the high cost of livin'
Ain't nothing like the cost of livin' high.

6. "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley (Featuring Allison Krauss)

This beautiful and tragic country ballad from 2003 tells the story of a broken romance that ultimately claimed two lives. After the woman he loved rejected him, the man spent years trying to drink her off his mind until one night he died by alcohol poisoning. Brokenhearted, she then repeated his self-destructive act.

Best addiction lyrics:

He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger
And finally drank away her memory
Life is short, but this time it was bigger
Than the strength he had to get up off his knees,

7. "The A Team" by Ed Sheeran

After songwriter Ed Sheeran visited a homeless shelter and listened to others' life stories, he wrote this 2011 song about a heroin-addicted prostitute. The woman has been on the streets since she was 18. Both her body and her soul have been hollowed out by the horrors of drug addiction and life on the mean streets.

Addiction has a major impact on family members. The addict may lie and steal from them, break promises, not come home at night, get fired from work, and engage in behaviors they wouldn't do if they were clean. Addiction breaks trust.

Addiction has a major impact on family members. The addict may lie and steal from them, break promises, not come home at night, get fired from work, and engage in behaviors they wouldn't do if they were clean. Addiction breaks trust.

8. "Dark Times" by The Weeknd (Featuring Ed Sheeran)

The narrator in this 2015 song is on drugs and has another man's blood on his clothes. He lives a fast-paced, dangerous and unpredictable life, and issues a warning to the woman he's with: She should not fall in love with him. (That always works, right?)

Best addiction lyrics:

In my dark times I'll be going back to the street
Promising everything I do not mean
In my dark times, baby this is all I could be
Don't think my mother could love me for me
In my dark times, in my dark times.

" ... Avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward." - Charlotte Brontë, American writer

" ... Avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward." - Charlotte Brontë, American writer

9. "Fallen" by Sarah McLachlan

The narrator in this Grammy-nominated 2004 song acknowledges that she's made some big mistakes. She got caught up in the wrong crowd and she admits she has messed up.

Ironically, then those same friends rejected her, embarrased of what she had become. As she fights her way back, she seeks hope and redemption, not blame.

Best recovery lyrics:

I've messed up
Better I should know
Don't come 'round here and
Tell me "I told you so."

10. "It Ain't the Whiskey" by Gary Allan

With last night on his breath, the narrator in this 2013 country song stands up in an AA meeting and tells the group that it's not the whiskey, the cigarettes, or the the stuff he smokes that is killing him. Instead, he claims, it's the memories of the woman who left him and the hole that is left in his heart. He's tried in vain to fill it with addictions, topped with a double heap of denial.

11."Sober" by Kelly Clarkson

In this 2007 song, the American Idol depicts a woman who has been sober for three months, having plucked the negative people and influences out of her life in order to focus on her well-being. The narrator is not comparing or second guessing herself. She feels fortunate to be taking one day at a time.

Clarkson herself is not alcoholic. Instead, she used alcoholism as a metaphor for the addictions each person faces.

Best sobriety lyrics:

Three months and I'm still sober
Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers
But I know it's never really over.

12. "The More I Drink" by Blake Shelton

In this 2007 country song, a bunch of guys are sitting in a bar and they notice one of their own is enjoying a regular Coke. They begin to tease him, asking him why he won't have a few drinks with them? (What is wrong with them? But also, what's he doing in a bar?)

The guy explains that he cannot help himself; he doesn't stop at just one. One drink leads to 13, he explains, as well as to a lot of other unwanted behavior.

13. "Just As I Am" by Brantley Gilbert

The alcoholic narrator in this 2014 country song has found his bottom, so he takes his bottle of bourbon to the church and pours it out as an offering to God. Tired of living this way, he asks for divine help to become the man he can be and to face the world without the crutch of alcohol.

14. "Your Glass House" by Atmosphere

This 2008 hip hop song describes the morning after the party, when a woman once again wakes up alone. She is half-clothed in a strange house, wondering what she did last night and who she upset this time. Through the shame, she's throwing up, ignoring her phone, and trying to compose herself to call in sick to work.

15. "Walk a Little Straighter, Daddy" by Billy Cunningham

Told from the perspective of the son of an alcoholic, this 2003 song is a touching reminder that the children of an alcoholic are impacted tremendously by the disease. In the song, the young boy waits for his father to come home from work, but when he does, the man is drunk and passes out.

Years later, when graduating from high school, the teenager sees his drunk father leave the auditorium before he even receives his diploma. The son vows never to put his own children through the trauma of what he experienced growing up as the child of an alcoholic.

16. "Jane Says" by Jane's Addiction

This catchy 1987 rock song was written about an actual young woman named Jane who shared a house in Hollywood with a group of struggling musicians. She came from a well-to-do family, had a heroin habit and an abusive drug dealer boyfriend.

As referred to in the song, she often talked about saving money to go to Europe. When she got angry, she'd take a swipe at one of her 12 or so other housemates. When the tv or other items came up missing in the house, the roommates would blame it on "Jane's addiction," thus they named their group after her. The real Jane finally kicked her habit years later.

In predicting addiction, how fast and how often drugs get to the brain can be more important than how much.  Smoking, injecting, snorting or ingesting a drug directly affects how fast it gets to the brain.

In predicting addiction, how fast and how often drugs get to the brain can be more important than how much. Smoking, injecting, snorting or ingesting a drug directly affects how fast it gets to the brain.

17. "Slow Suicide" by Scott Stapp

The narrator in this 2006 song sees drugs, booze, and toxic relationships for what they truly are: a form of slow suicide. Having previously suffered by his own hand, he realizes that life is short and precious, and he refuses to engage in self-destruction.

Best sobriety and recovery lyrics:

I can't let this life pass me by
In a blink of an eye it ends
I can't let my tomorrows decide
What I am in this life
It's like committing slow suicide.

18. "Life is Beautiful" by Sixx AM

There's a powerful message behind this 2007 song: You can change your self-destructive ways rather than seeking experiences like drugs that will put you in a coffin before your time. Don't wait until it's too late to learn how to live.

Best sobriety and recovery lyrics:

Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.

Call 1-800-662-Help (4357)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) operates a National Helpline for individuals and families facing substance use and/or mental health disorders. It is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service, available in English and Spanish.

Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking. It involves the consumption of 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women or 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men.

Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive drinking. It involves the consumption of 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women or 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for men.

19. "Dope" by Lady Gaga

For all her weirdness, Lady Gaga actually has an impressive voice, and this 2013 love ballad demonstrates it. The protagonist tells her lover "I need you more than dope" and begs them not to leave because her heart would break and she might not wake up.

Best addiction lyrics:

Each day, I cry
Oh, I feel so low from living high.

"No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible." - George Chakiris, American dancer

"No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible." - George Chakiris, American dancer

20. "Gravity" by A Perfect Circle

Feeling lost, broken and weary from being bound by the chains of addiction, the narrator in this 2003 song feels vulnerable. Unable to quit alone, he's asking for help with recovering from his habit.

Best recovery lyrics:

Catch me, heal me, lift me back up to the sun
I choose to live.

Heavy drinking involves the consumption of 8 or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men.

Heavy drinking involves the consumption of 8 or more drinks per week for women or 15 or more drinks per week for men.

Even More Songs About Addiction, Dependency, Sobriety & Recovery

If you know of a song that should be included, leave us a comment in the Comment Section below.

SongArtistYear Released

21. Starting Over

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

2011

22. An Old Friend of Mine

Joe Nichols

2009

23. Don't Leave Home

Dido

2004

24. Animal That I Have Become

Three Days Grace

2006

25. Wise Up

Aimee Mann

2004

26. Man On The Rocks

Mike Oldfield

2014

27. Monkey

George Michael

1988

28. Running To Stand Still

U2

1987

29. The Last Fight

Bullet for My Valentine

2010

30. Medicine

Biffy Clyro

2016

31. Wine Into Water

T. Graham Brown

2004

32. Captain Jack

Billy Joel

1972

33. Powder Blue

Elbow

2001

34. Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! That Cigarette

Tex Williams

1947

35. One Day At A Time

Joe Walsh

2012

36. John Doe

B.o.B (Featuring Priscilla)

2013

37. Check In

Lecrae

2011

38. What I Can't Put Down

Jon Pardi

2014

39. That Smell

Lynyrd Skynyrd

1977

40. It Don’t Matter

Rehab

2001

41. Demons

Kenny Chesney

2007

42. My Deliverer

Mandisa

2009

43. Habit

Pearl Jam

1996

44. Zombie

We As Human

2013

45. Hot Beer and Cold Women

Randy Houser

2016

46. Whiskey on My Breath

Love and Theft

2015

47. Sober

P!nk

2008

48. Drugs Or Jesus

Tim McGraw

2004

49. You Found Me

The Fray

2009

50. She Talks To Angels

The Black Crowes

1989

51. Oxycontin Blues

Steve Earle

2007

52. Save Me

Shinedown

2005

53. Little Rock

Collin Raye

1994

54. Changed

Rascal Flatts

2012

55. Recovery

James Arthur

2013

56. Song To Say Goodbye

Placebo

2006

57. Moonshiner

Uncle Tupelo

1992

58. Devil In a Bottle

Lynyrd Skynyrd

1994

59. Gin Bottle Blues

Lightnin' Hopkins

1954

60. Waiting Around to Die

Townes Van Zandt

1969

61. The Needle and the Damage Done

Neil Young

1979

62. Sam Stone

John Prine

1971

63. Say It Ain't So

Weezer

1994

64. The Moonshiner

Uncle Tupelo

1992

65. Bleeding Me

Metallica

1997

66. Girl with Golden Eyes

Sixx A.M.

2007

67. How Could You Leave Us?

NF

2016

68. Clean

Clean

1989

69. Rusty Cage

Soundgarden

1991

70. Drug Dealer

Mackelmore (Featuring Ariana DeBoo)

2016

71. Lithium

Nirvana

1991

72. Down a Hole

Alice in Chains

1992

73. Something to Remind You

Staind

2011

74. Hate Me

Blue October

2006

75. It Ain't Me

Kygo and Selena Gomez

2017

76. Drinkin' Problem

Midland

2016

77. Wasted

Carrie Underwood

2007

78. That's Why I'm Here

Kenny Chesney

1998

79. Heavy

Linkin Park

2017

80. Hurt

Johnny Cash

2002

81. Long Year

Todd Snider

2000

82. S.O.B.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

2015

83. Stone Cold Sober

Brantley Gilbert

2015

84. Some People Change

Montgomery Gentry

2006

85. Flowers

Chris Young

2006

86. Cheap Whiskey

Martina McBride

1992

87. Nothing to Die For

Tim McGraw

2007

88. You're Not My God

Keith Urban

2002

89. You Don't Know Jack

Luke Bryan

2011

90. Drug Addiction

Colicchie

2017

91. Down Where the Drunkards Roll

Richard and Linda Thompson

1976

92. Needle of Death

Bert Jansch

1965

93. Save Me From Myself

Brian “Head” Welch

2008

94. Relapse

Anna Clendening

2016

95. Lost Love and Addiction

Hollohan

2012

96. Chris Dolmeth

Hopsin

2009

97. You Don't Get Me High Anymore

Three Days Grace

2016

98. If I Drink This Beer

Nashville Cast (Featuring Chris Carmack & Will Chase)

2015

99. Bottom of a Bottle

Smile Empty Soul

2003

100. The Needle Lies

Queensryche

2004

101. Drugs or Me

Jimmy Eat World

2004

102. The Drugs Don’t Work

The Verve

1997

103. Accidents Can Happen

Sixx:A.M.

2007

104. The Real You

Three Days Grace

2015

105. Painkiller

Three Days Grace

2015

106. Who I am Hates Who I’ve Been

Relient K

2004

107. Breaking the Habit

Linkin Park

2007

108. HELP

Papa Roach

2017

109. The Man I Was

Lucero

2015

110. Sober Saturday Night

Chris Young (Featuring Vince Gill)

2016

111. Otherside

Macklemore (Featuring Fences)

2010

112. Mansions

NF

2015

113. Don't Wait for Me

Josh Garrels

2014

114. Another Empty Bottle

Katy McAllister

2012

115. Hey, You Got Drugs?

Tove Lo

2017

116. Old Friend

Hopsin

2013

117. Life by the Drop

Stevie Ray Vaughn

1991

118. I Surrender

Hillsong

1993

119. I Surrender

The Adverts

1979

120. Habits (Stay High)

Tove Lo

2014

121. Chandelier

Sia

2014

122. Against Me

Thrash Unreal

2007

123. Kevin

Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis (Featuring Leon Bridges)

2016

124. Wine Colored Roses

George Jones

1986

125. Water in His Wine Glass

Maddie & Tae

2016

126. God of Wine

Third Eye Blind

1997

127. Heaven Was a Drink of Wine

Merle Haggard

1979

128. Deal with the Devil

Pop Evil

2013

129. Sober

Demi Lovato

2018

130. Runaway

Ed Sheeran

2014

131. Against My Better Judgment

¡Mayday!

2015

132. Bloodstream

The Chainsmokers

2017

133. Nutshell

Alice in Chains

1996

134. Under the Bridge

Red Hot Chili Peppers

1992

135. Miracle

Rise Against

2017

136. Sober

Tool

1993

137. Lights

Archive

2006

138. Drunkard's Prayer

Chris Stapleton

2017

139. Hand of Doom

Black Sabbath

1970

140. Life in the Fast Lane

Eagles

1977

141. Tightrope

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

1989

142. Wall of Denial

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

1989

143. You Can Count on Me

Trophy Eyes

2018

144. Addiction

Counterfeit

2017

145. Chemical Prisoner

Falling in Reverse

2015

146. Workin' On

Colt Ford

2014

147. Rx (Medicate)

Theory of a Deadman

2017

148. Weak

AJR

2017

149. Some People Do

Old Dominion

2019

150. Baker Street

Gerry Rafferty

1978

151. They're Coming for Me

Madina Lake

2010

152. That Ain't Me No More

Matt Stell

2021

153. Broken Window Serenade

Whiskey Meyers

2011

154. Freddie's Dead

Curtis Mayfield

1972

155. Call Me When You’re Sober

Evanescence

2006

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain killers like hydrocodone or OxyContin, tranquilizers like Xanax, and stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall. Over half of illegal prescription drugs are obtained from a friend or relative.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are pain killers like hydrocodone or OxyContin, tranquilizers like Xanax, and stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall. Over half of illegal prescription drugs are obtained from a friend or relative.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I get in contact with you somehow? I need to reveal something difficult to start my recovery. I'm struggling with drug addiction and depression. How do I take this first step of revealing my truth?

Answer: The best way to contact me is to leave a detailed comment in the Comments Section below. Don't put identifying information about yourself in the comment such as your real name, email, or real names of people you know, especially if there is sensitive information revealed. I prefer that route for specific situations, because others may be able to read and learn from what you are facing.

© 2016 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on September 15, 2020:

Cassandra - Thanks for your comment. I've added your suggested song. Have a wonderful week.

Cassandra on September 09, 2020:

Pretty sure “They’re Coming For Me” by Madina Lake is about drug addiction. Here’s the second verse of the song.

“Don’t wanna be sick no more but I’m just too insecure to ask for help from any friends. I can’t turn to family ‘cause they’re so proud of me and there is no worse feeling, but I can’t do this by myself”

I absolutely love this song and I highly recommend it. No worries though I’m not addicted to drugs or alcohol. That song however, I am.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on July 27, 2020:

Only for today - Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings here.

Only for today on July 26, 2020:

I learned a lot in my recovery !

I learned to enjoy life sober.

I learned to be honest to every step I make and every person I talk to !

Also they learned me to love myself and I cannot change the things that happend to me or others I only can change my further steps in life !