How Master of Horror, Stephen King Mastered His Addiction.
Many are taking the chance to catch up on reading during the Covd-19 lockdown. However, not many will realise that some of their best loved authors are subject to the same demons as the rest of us. Stephen King is a name synonymous with terror. He has forged a reputation as a master storyteller since the 1970s and is still going strong. There is no doubt about it, if you were to name the greatest horror writers of all time, you would have to include Stephen King near the top.
Yet, despite his incredible success, the author had his demons and battled drug and alcohol addiction for decades before getting sober.
King, now in his seventies, has written over 50 books, many of which have been made into films. His 1986 novel ‘It’ was so dense, it was split into two separate movies. The first one became the highest-grossing horror film of all time, while the follow up ‘It Chapter Two’ also topped the US box office. However, all through his life, King has had an awkward relationship with alcohol. He was arrested at 22 for drunkenly stealing traffic cones when intoxicated, and he carried on drinking throughout adulthood. Later he progressed through dope and onto Class A drugs.
While working as a teacher, King published his first novel, ‘Carrie’ in 1973. Two years later while writing ‘The Shining’ he first suspected he had a problem with alcohol. He eventually reached the point of being afraid that he may not be able to write without being under the influence. He also included references to alcoholism in his novels, drawing on his own experiences.
King would later be introduced to cocaine during Hollywood parties. His drug use would often affect his work, where he would pen 600-page books like the critically lambasted ‘The Tommyknockers’ while on cocaine. There is an urban legend he bashed out the entire novel ‘Cujo’ during a weekend binge and has no memory of ever writing it.
His drug use became so uncontrolled he indulged in a cocktail of any drugs and alcohol that he could get. King smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, experimented with marijuana and took Xanax and Valium. He even used Listerine mouthwash and NyQuil, a cold and flu treatment recreationally.
Intervention and Rehab
Eventually it took an intervention from his wife and fellow author, Tabitha, to get him to stop. In front of their friends and family, she emptied his drug supplies and equipment onto the living room floor. This was the shock he needed to turn his life around, and he hasn’t looked back since. He attended rehab and had support from others in meetings
For millions of fans around the world, King is a literary hero for writing about our worst fears, but he is just as admired by many for conquering his own. Using rehab, the Master of Horror Stephen King mastered his addiction.