Substance abuse and writing – anyone else feel they can’t write sober?


I'm generally a boring person with little to talk about in my life. Boredom and anxiety pushed me towards substance abuse.

I'd written enthusiastically but poorly, with a limited imagination. I used a voice with commanding pretension; I was a visionary. I was blind then but now do I see.

I got into drugs and started writing and what I wrote was interesting to me, it was different and more grounded less lofty and more contained. To others it was gibberish, but to me it was art. Looking back at it semi-sober I realize it was the same pretentious experimental Burroughs clone.

But I was addicted to the experiences. I could write freely and often and I had inspiration then. I would write about anything and I meant it. Some of what I wrote was good, I'm sure.

But sobriety I feel has hindered me. I realize it's mostly a psychological block I've placed on myself, put myself in a bind where I think I need substances to produce quality work.

I'm the same person sober or high. Using the high was a delusional facade. It made me feel like I was invincible and right about everything I wrote it had a finality to it.

I'm sober now, but I feel there's something in the way. I may have burnt myself out. All I write about is addiction and drugs and junkies and I surround myself with this mythical junkie universe that I understand as truth but is impenetrable to the casual observer.

I've made myself believe I can't write without substances. That old quote write drunk edit sober. Probably bullshit because all you end up with is gibberish and piles of garbage you have to sift through. All you've done is created a barrier of chemicals that distance yourself from the substance of the writing. Finding needles in haystacks.

The notion of writing high or drunk is a dubious prospect. You end mostly with bullshit. Even if you're focused with a stimulant, you create a mishmash of ideas and present a replica of consciousness that only you or a fellow schizoid can understand. You haven't unlocked truth you've put it further away.

Hallucinogens provide insight. Writing on acid is a difficult process and I end up with mostly gibberish. But the following days, having had that insight, writing sober you receive clarity.

Intoxicants remove inhibitions and you write more freely, but maybe your reservations while sober were what you needed to self edit while you were writing.

I feel like I'm stuck. I feel like I need something to keep me going. I know I have a certain ability which is present sober or high, but I've conditioned myself to only believe that while intoxicated.

I read too much Burroughs. But that man wasn't as wild as we perceive. That guy was exact with his drugs, he could've been a doctor. Harvard graduate.

Anyways, just venting. Anyone got a similar problem?

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