I picked up a used book by Stephen King called On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft. It’s partially a memoir, and partially a how-to book on writing. To my amazement there is a small section of the memoir, Chapter 36, where he talks about his struggles with addiction.
He very openly and poignantly describes his battle with booze and drugs and discusses the myth surrounding mind-altering substances and creative endeavor. He talks about 20th century writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald who have perpetuated the myth that one must get high or drink to be creative. He emphatically denies that myth and states that linking creativity with substance-abuse is pure nonsense. King is very adamant that this myth is simply self-serving rationalization that addicts use to justify their consumption.
To my delight, he reflects one of my favorite books of his: Misery. For the longest time, I was convinced that the protagonist’s captor psycho nurse Annie Wilkes was a metaphor for King’s own “imprisonment” in the horror-fiction genre. Wrong! In this writing memoir, he describes Annie as his coke, his booze and that he was tired of being Annie’s pet writer. He was afraid of not being able to work anymore if he stopped drinking and using. Annie Wilkes was a metaphor for his addiction.
Stephen King is one of us, an addict/alcoholic in recovery. He is an inspiration to us all and he is living testimony that his creativity and prodigious output did not suffer after he got clean and sober. Hail to the King!