Few forms of entertainment have the same lasting impact on people’s lives as music. Listening and singing along to your favorite songs can improve your mental well-being and even help you feel less alone.
Through the years, artists have used their talent and platforms to express their personal struggles with alcohol abuse in song lyrics. Here’s a list of songs with alcohol references, showing how anyone can fall into addiction regardless of wealth or celebrity status.
Alcohol Abuse in Song Lyrics: 10 Songs About Alcoholism
1. S.O.B. – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Nathaniel Rateliff’s story of alcohol abuse comes from a personal place. The song’s lyrics describe the pain of breakup followed by a swift descent into alcoholism. The artist wrote the lyrics after his own experience with severe withdrawal.
2. Say It Ain’t So – Weezer
The band’s vocalist, Rivers Cuomo, wrote this song based on his childhood experiences with his father’s drinking problem. The lyrics to Say It Ain’t So talk about alcohol abuse from the perspective of a child worried a parent’s addiction will continue upending their lives.
3. Amazing – Aerosmith
Steven Tyler was always open about his long-term issues with drug and alcohol dependency. This touching rock anthem is about the singer’s journey from rock bottom to finding recovery and hope for a better life. The lyrics are as compelling as they are relatable.
4. Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo
Far too many people start self-medicating with drugs and alcohol when going through difficult times in their lives. This song by Tove Lo tells the heartbreaking story of a young woman who drinks too much after a breakup. The compelling lyrics “And I drank up all my money / Tasted kind of lonely” accurately portray what many addicts feel when they spend everything they have on their addiction.
5. Whiskey Lullaby – Brad Paisley & Allison Krauss
This classic country ballad tells the story of two young people whose lives ended because of alcohol abuse. After their breakup, the man found solace in the whiskey bottle before taking his own life. Plagued by guilt, his former partner fell into the trap of alcoholism herself, only to succumb to the same fate as her late lover. It’s a tragic love story where the titular whiskey becomes the main villain.
6. Sober – Pink
Sober is one of pop star Pink’s most successful tracks and can inspire people to take a closer look at their vices. The powerful lyrics describe how uncomfortable it is to be under the influence and how truly toxic the so-called party scene ends up becoming. In interviews, the artist recalled writing the song while at a party where she realized how little excitement she felt about being there.
7. You Don’t Know Jack – Luke Bryan
This Luke Bryan ballad describes an imaginary conversation between the singer and an alcoholic. When the singer refuses to help the man out with some money, he has to listen to his tale of pain and heartache. Alcohol addiction took everything from the man in the song, including his family, his job and the roof over his head. The song’s title cleverly references a phrase that means “You don’t know anything” while also referring to Jack Daniels, a popular whiskey brand.
8. Swimming Pools – Kendrick Lamar
In this raw and honest track, rapper Kendrick Lamar recalls the difficulties he faced growing up in a family of alcoholics and the peer pressure he felt to start drinking at an early age. Unfortunately, addiction issues can span generations, and many people who witness these unhealthy behaviors as children grow up to emulate them.
9. Cleaning Out My Closet – Eminem
Eminem is no stranger to addiction issues. He’s candidly spoken about his recovery from drug and alcohol abuse in many interviews over the years. The 2002 single Cleaning Out My Closet acts as a letter to his mother and describes the pain he felt as a child having to watch her struggle with substance abuse. It’s a song many children of alcoholics can relate to due to its poignant lyrics about the trauma growing up in such an environment could cause.
10. Never Too Late – Three Days Grace
The rock power ballad Never Too Late is one example of a track where you can find hidden substance abuse themes. In the lyrics, the song offers plenty of hopeful discourse that people stuck in the depths of their addiction may need to hear. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, and some people can start feeling a sense of hopelessness in their struggles. However, regardless of how much drugs and alcohol have cost you, it’s possible to turn your life around and seek recovery.
Themes of Pain and Alcoholism in Music
Considering how ingrained alcohol abuse is in our society, it’s no surprise many artists fall into the trap of addiction. Some addiction references in songs are obvious, while other musicians use metaphors and subtlety to discuss substance abuse in their music. The pain caused by addiction is nearly universal, but many people feel isolated in their struggles with substance abuse. Songs such as the ones in this list demonstrate how strong the connection between music and addiction awareness really is.
For people stuck in the endless cycle of addiction, listening to music about alcoholism and the hurt it causes can make them feel less alone and more connected to their community. Some research even suggests music might be an effective tool to help the recovery process.
Long-Term Sobriety Is Possible
Relating to songs about alcohol abuse and addiction may be a sign you’re struggling with your drinking. As painful as addiction is, many of the artists who wrote music on addiction have sought out treatment and entered recovery. Becoming addicted to alcohol doesn’t have to mean a life sentence, and you can find your way back to a happy and sober version of yourself.
If you’re worried about your relationship with alcohol, our team of qualified and compassionate addiction specialists is available 24-7 to help. At Sunlight Recovery, we offer inpatient and outpatient treatment along with ongoing recovery support. Contact us today and take the first step towards an addiction-free life.