Singer Ed Sheeran is making headlines today that expose the darker side of the music industry—and fame in general.
The 26-year-old singer revealed that he has struggled with substance abuse in the past. Speaking to the Jonathan Ross Show, Sheeran stated that he had trouble adjusting to the grueling nature of show business, and that the risks involved affected him.
“And all the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them. Mostly, like, substance abuse,” he said.
Sheeran’s story echoes those of many in the entertainment industry. With high-pressure schedules and so many events surrounding the consumption of alcohol, celebrities are affected by substance use in ways that have been well-documented over time. The pressure to stay relevant in an industry that is constantly evolving can prove to be overwhelming, particularly when paired with a demanding routine of performing.
For Sheeran, the substance abuse began little by little. “I didn’t really notice it was happening. It just started gradually happening, and then some people took me to one side and were like, ‘Calm yourself down’… It’s all fun to begin with, it all starts off as a party and then you’re doing it on your own and it’s not, so that was a wake-up call and taking a year off,” he said.
“It all starts off as a party” can resonate with many who have struggled with substance abuse in the past. It is difficult to predict how our bodies and brains may react to substance use—and even more difficult to predict how we may become reliant on a particular substance.
After his time off, Sheeran re-entered the music scene, though recently became injured in a bike accident.
Making progress means making honesty a priority. With statements such as Sheeran’s coming to light, the truth of substance abuse and mental health provides a greater message to our society.
Being honest with ourselves can make all the difference. For many, as in Sheeran’s case, the honesty begins with a statement from a loved one—which leads to the wake-up call that he mentioned.
Defining our relationships with alcohol or drugs can be difficult—particularly in a culture that associates substance use with having fun. With so many negative associations that can arise from prolonged substance abuse, it is important to remain aware of the risks involved.
Although addiction is only one possibility, it is one that does not discriminate. Remaining vigilant and talking about our struggles will continue to serve as a reminder that we are not alone.
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