Opium use was common among writers and poets of the Romantic period. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Dorothy Wordsworth and George Eliot were some known habitual users of opium. Another prominent figure in English literature who took the drug to ease rheumatism pain was Thomas De Quincey. Describing his experience in the Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, De Quincey wrote, “What an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! What an apocalypse of the world within me!” Though he, like other notable literary figures, took the drug to enhance his creativity, in the end the habit proved him costly. By 1813, he was addicted to the drug. In the latter half of his life, De Quincey struggled with substance abuse until his death in 1859. Here are some other popular literary figures who abused drugs and alcohol: William Burroughs: He allegedly killed his wife – an aspiring writer – in a William Tell like incident. He shot her when he was meant to shoot the apple in a drug orgy. Burroughs was known for heroin and opioid abuse. Philip Dick: The science fiction writer would reportedly use speed (methamphetamine), a CNS stimulant used primarily in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, etc. Hunter Thompson: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is Thompson’s account of a drug-fueled road trip to Las Vegas. In the novel, Thompson’s alter ego reports that he had with him grass, mescaline, cocaine, acid, etc. when he started the trip. He died of a self-inflicted gun wound. Robert Louis Stevenson: During the time Stevenson wrote the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he used to be high on cocaine, a strong stimulant. Aldous Huxley: He was known to experiment with mescaline, a naturally occurring psychedelic alkaloid. Mary Ann Evans: The author of Middlemarch, who went by her alias George Eliot, regularly used opium. Dylan Thomas: The Welsh poet and writer died at a young age of 39. He reportedly splurged on alcohol regularly. Charles Dickens: The renowned English writer and social critic was a habitual user of opium. William Butler Yeats: The Irish poet was known for experimenting with marijuana. Stephen King: The prominent writer experimented with cocaine. Jean Paul Sartre: The writer and philosopher was reportedly addicted to methamphetamine. Pursue till you come clean Substance abuse is a major problem in America today. Millions of people of all ages and races have been abusing drugs of all kinds, particularly heroin and opioids. While it could be fun to experiment with a drug initially, the repercussions are deadly. Chronic and persistent abuse of drugs and alcohol leads to addiction, which increases dependence and cravings for the substance of abuse. The road to recovery is not easy. There are pitfalls on the way, and the worst are the relapses that tend to set one back to square one. However, regardless of the circumstances, one can come clean provided he/she sticks to the expert’s advice on the journey to sobriety and makes some sacrifices, such as forgoing pleasurers, sometimes staying apart from family for weeks or months, and developing new skills while interning at a rehabilitation center. The odds for recovery are more when the desire to change comes from within. However, in case the addiction has breached social and family life, some states make it legal for the affected to be forced into a rehabilitation against their wish.
How Drugs Dominated Literati in The Past
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