In your experience are people who struggle with addiction highly sensitive and uniquely talented?



I have a theory that people who struggle with addiction are kind of magical - I’ve found so many love music, have genius talents, high empathy and love animals, children, the environment - highly grounding elements. Am I crazy or am I on to something?


I 100000000% agree with you @polly !!! And I think it makes a lot of sense.

Life - the experience of being alive, and being human - is amazing at times, but can also be challenging and painful. For highly sensitive people (empaths and introverts as well, I would say) the pain is amplified.

Drugs and alcohol offer temporary relief. If you’re very sensitive, it would make sense that you might seek relief more often, which would almost certainly result in addiction.


I think you’re spot on there. There so many musicians and artists who deal with addiction and mental health issues. There’s been many studies that find a link between creativity and addiction and mental health issues.


Yes, I agree. I’ve noticed a correlation.


@polly 1000% agree with this.


I’ve definitely realized that people who struggle with addiction tend to be very creative-minded. My dad was one of them. His career as a director of photography for several TV shows necessitated a tremendous creative process. Although he struggled with substance use, I was always amazed at the way he understood art and the way he applied it to the world around him. It’s nice, because somewhere along all the highs and lows, we realize that creativity seems to be one of the “good things” that can come out of the terrible experience of addiction.

As for the correlation between mental illness and creativity, in my psychology studies, I haven’t heard of there actually being a correlation between addiction and creativity. However, you do see this correlation with Bipolar Disorder— these people tend to be your exquisite artists with many talents. Some people who struggle with Bipolar Disorder also struggle with addiction, so this could be a reason why we see this case in some individuals.


Hi @Polly, or anyone else who has logged on and is interested in this question. I myself I am 43 years old, my addiction started when I was 20. I had a brain tumor at the age of 17. I have struggled with prescription addiction over the past very much due to 25 plus surgeries. Each time I would go in recovery, I would relapse by being put back on pain medication due to surgery. Now as far as the question pertains, I don’t believe that it’s the people that are in addiction that are highly sensitive or necessarily talented, I believe it is those who struggle with recovery or are in recovery that have these talents! I also believe it’s because they have struggled so much at one point or another in their lives, that they have physically and mentally gone through a spiritual awakening I suppose you could say. I myself and a very spiritual person and believe In Our Father God! I believe he got me through the toughest points of my recovery and is still doing so to this day! So with that being said, yes maybe we are more sensitive because we have had to accept the fact that we have reached bottom so to speak in our lives. If the person that was an addict is in recovery, then that person now has a better Outlook and more positive, compassionate, and insightful look on life! I hope this help answer your question,… Sincerely Barbara Ann in recovery!🙏😊💙🌸


Congratulations on your recovery @Deianira, and thank you thank you thank you for being here to share your experience and perspective with us.

I like this musing:

Looking forward to hearing more from you!


I can agree with this, my fiance definitely has alot of untapped potential. She’s a great singer, she paints, crazy smart. If she could focus more in that without the addiction she could really make an impact on the world


thank you so much for sharing your perspective and your journey with us @Deianira <3 :slight_smile:


While I did a quick google search for empirical data regarding if there are more folks who are creative/sensitive who are addicts - and did not find data necessarily to support or for it to be studied. What I have been told from professionals who work in recovery, those who are recovering are highly sensitive and feel things very differently. As a creative non addict person, I totally understand how that can be. The impact of of being sensitive and interpreting the world and words of people feel different for me than what “others” hear and see. That is why I like this site We The Village as it helps frame our in a supporting respectful manner to help those we care about who are suffering and recovering.


Thanks for sharing your research @Marie_Marie!


All of the answers I’ve read here make sense. In my daughter’s case, she had all these wonderful qualities and gifts before addiction. She drowned them out in the midst of addiction sometimes, because we know that getting the drug and fulfilling that craving/withdraw comes before anything. But when she is exposed to those things she has always loved such as when she comes to my house and her nieces are here… her face lights up, she gets so excited. She plays non stop with them. She loves and cuddles with my cats ( she misses the days she had her own), when she spends a night or two with me, she spends a lot of time writing poems and other things in journals and notebooks. She spends time bead crafting which she has done since she was little. She seems to embrace the things that she enjoyed and loved before addiction became her life and “job”.


I love that you googled @Marie_Marie so good!

Funny you mentioned ‘feeling things differently’ my husband just tonight told me he’s doing just that! And that he was crying during a movie (multiple times) when he usually wouldn’t - so interesting.


There is definitely a correlation. In the support group I attend (for parents who have lost a child to drugs) we often point out how many of our children were talented, sensitive, etc. In my case, Anthony was incredibly talented. He was an artist, wrote music, songs and poetry, played guitar and was a tattoo artist. My other son, who is still here, is very sensitive and intuitive and extremely intelligent.

There’s a line in Don McLean’s song about Vincent Van Gogh that always makes me thing about this, “This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.”


<3 that @AnthonysMom and love hearing about your incredibly talented son, thank you for sharing <3


I am in the same mindset as you. I am all of the above. Im unsure as to why but would love to understand


well, i totally agree to this . i think that people struggling with addiction are somehow creative .as addicts become creative because they are deeply unhappy and need to see a better world than the one they are forced to live in. they try their best to cop with life without drugs. suffering make them more vulnerable e and sensitive , most famous musician and great artists had a big share of suffering more than other ordinary people . as if the talent is coming out of great agony.


I think you are on to something. For me personally, I am not very creative or artistic (very logic-oriented), but I am highly sensitive. I feel deeply when I see someone wounded, and also take things to heart and am easily wounded. Part of my addiction was a poor coping mechanism to deal with emotions I still have yet to understand (aka numb the pain). Most people I have met in recovery are also highly sensitive in similar fashions. And I have met many people who are very creative. I’ve met budding musicians, entrepreneurs, home-made craftspeople, and everything in between.


Yes im highly crafty. Also can draw . i think correlation is because of our high iqs. Most addicts are beyond smart