Could addiction be a good thing?

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Frederik Chopin

Composers – songwriters – throughout history have been addicts.

Chopin and Berlioz used opium. 

Mozart and Beethoven were addicted to alcohol.

Bernstein was dependent on painkillers.

Despite their addiction, these composers are legendary. Their creative facility is unmatched.

Could their addiction be a good thing?

I won’t go so far as to say that addiction is always a good thing. I’ve seen too many lives ruined by the destructive power of addiction. But I do believe that there is a constructive power of addiction. We just don’t call it addiction.

We call it passion.

People who spend hours and hours a day practicing to become better at their craft are all around us, but we never call them “addicts.” We use a variety of other words to describe them. Disciplined. Passionate. Devoted. Committed. Talented.

According to, addiction is defined as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”

Discipline is defined as behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control.”

Do you see the difference?

Addiction is being controlled by something. Discipline is having control.

Addiction is destructive. Discipline is constructive.

Addiction is being enslavedDiscipline is owning the behavior.

The same passionate, habitual tendencies within us can prove our utter destruction or our unmeasurable success.


What will be your addiction? 


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