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Writing With Vices

Updated on October 17, 2022
Eric Seidel profile image

Typically to cope with post college life (and during) I partook in drinking. I can't say it hasn't led to some soul searching moments.

Before I Start...

I do not condone nor advise the use of drugs and alcohol to increase performance in any way. In my opinion certain substances are amazing if taken occasionally, but making a habit of it is where addiction breeds. What you are about to read is one man’s opinion on vices, of different kinds, and whether they truly help the writing process. I’ll try to cover the dangers of how they work and you will read why it is not a good idea to do them. Every person has a different opinion on recreational “drug use” and what constitutes as a “drug”. I do not advise you replicate what you are about to read. Everyone has the right to do what they want, but don’t try this at home.

As A Writing Tool

Being a writer isn’t easy, sometimes work can get in the way and cause you to lose track of your thoughts. The mistake that a lot of people make at this point is to pop a pill, or drink a shot of something. Certainly these substances have their uses given the situation, but some writers seem to think that they can break writer’s block by doing any number of drugs or flooding their liver with alcohol.

I’m not going to preach to you about what to do or not to do with your life. You are your own person. If you don’t have some idea of what you want to write about, it won’t always come to you in a puff of smoke. Different things must work for different people, who knows, I can tell you that I have never tried dropping acid and writing anything comparable to “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”.

Cheers! Unless you are trying to write something or you are on the wagon...
Cheers! Unless you are trying to write something or you are on the wagon...


Does alcohol help you write? Well when you’re sitting in a bar with no wifi, and a pitcher of Natty Boh, the combination with boredom certainly gets the pen moving. I’m not really happy with the aftermath of drinking though. I’m still trying to discover the formula, the correct dosage between “oh God I remember that” and “I should probably water board myself so I can get some sleep”. If you try to write during this time who knows what honesty you’ll pour out of yourself? Alcohol definitely is truth serum for some people, and when you blend that with writing you could really come up with some deep stuff, but most likely it will just be rambling.

I tried writing after drinking six Yinglings and two shots of Jameson. All I managed to do was procrastinate and crack the screen of my iPod Touch 4. Not saying that drinking does not help, it’s just not a good idea to handle small electronics in the process. Then there’s Oxycodone, just the ONE, is enough to give you massive pain relief for the next six hours. Thus giving your body’s endorphins a chance to focus on giving you an upbeat attitude and increase your focus.

As of the time of writing this article I only have three left.
As of the time of writing this article I only have three left.


During National Novel Writing Month I popped an Oxy from my stash. Now when I say “stash” I mean the prescribed bottle of painkillers I received after having a lymphoma removed from the back of my neck. As of the time of writing this I have five left, which I intend to ration. I will admit that, when combined with boredom it does help with the creative spirit. For example, while doing a wedding at the Walters Art Museum I wrote the following:

My fingers are tingly
I feel nothing in my feet
The marble is as soft as cotton
The music is soothing, my heart is carefree
Thank you Oxycontin

Everything’s clearer, like a movie in HD
Only have twelve left, that’s not cool with me
Make sure you ration, don’t be a f***ing twat.
I’ll just use one when I need them
Until they legalize pot.

Oxy, or prescribed painkillers in general, do have their uses. I seriously do not use them often for two reasons. First of all did I mention the quantity? Secondly I get weird pains in my back afterward, like as if the Oxy is saying “bro you need more of me, pop another!” Don’t fall for that crap, that’s where addiction breeds. As far as it helping with writing I’d say it worked, that “launch pad” effect you get when you can’t feel anything else other than your fingers hitting the keyboard and the gears inside your brain turning. However after the initial beginning, I was already typing up a storm after that and pretty much ignored any other painless effects it brought. It got me going but I will say I do and will not rely on that to get me writing.

Yes there is a lot of weed here. No I didn't smoke it all at once.
Yes there is a lot of weed here. No I didn't smoke it all at once.

Do You Consider Weed A Drug?

Do You?

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Then there’s marijuana. When I first smoked pot it was from a bong, and according to my ex I took a pretty big hit. My ex of course being Samantha; who I have said enough (or perhaps not enough) about as it is. I will give her credit for introducing me to the glorious feeling of weed. I can’t blame here nor thank her for that. I have said in the past that she was weak in the head enough to move onto something stronger. In fact I recall that night that she wanted to try out every drug at least once. Well you can’t just snort cocaine and not want to do it again. You can’t just pop ecstasy once to “see what it’s like”. It really just depends on the individual, but I would never do that. Weed is not a “gateway drug” if you have a strong enough will to not rely on it. If you’re not strong willed then yes it can lead to more addictive substances. In which case you’re screwed to put it simply.

There are tons of different kinds of marijuana. The cheap stuff is known as Skunk and it gets it’s name honest. It smells like someone ran over a skunk on the highway. There are others that have endorphins similar to oxy grown in. I’m assuming that brand of weed is cross-breed with another opiate? It’s also more expensive but gives you added energy. After smoking skunk I just didn’t feel motivated to write, and for that matter do much else. However for the days following it I felt a bit more enlightened. Perhaps I already felt that way but the weed opened up some doors for me to focus on those feelings? As a writing tool I suppose it has different effects on different people, but for me it’s more of a slowburn affect (ha! “slowburn”).

The Lesson Here

Speaking personally that is about as far down that experimental rabbit hole that I plan to go. In the past writers have used heroin, coke, acid, shrooms, ecstasy, laudanum, and other opiates to enhance their self-awareness, environment, and enhance their thoughts. That stuff worked for them, and only them, whereas other writers just write. They know what they are going for and jot it down. Stop thinking like a Pink Floyd album and just think.

I do not believe that drugs and alcohol are the answer to anything. Unless the question is “how messed up can I make my life?” There are hotlines and websites that you can research in case you know anyone with a substance abuse problem, I would post those but the last thing I want to do is turn this Hub into an after-school-special. The best thing to do would be to not even start with it. Just don’t.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Eric Seidel


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