September 23rd, 2010
12:26 PM ET
Aaron Sorkin on cocaine and the creative process
According to Aaron Sorkin, “West Wing” creator/writer and writer of the upcoming film “The Social Network," he should be dead about five times over by now.
“I did things that should have killed me,” he explains to W magazine in their October issue. “I had what they call a ‘high bottom.’ I didn’t lose my job or run over a kid or injure anyone when I was high. But the hardest thing I do every day is not take cocaine. You don’t get cured of addiction – you’re just in remission.”
Sorkin, who entered rehab in 1995, admitted that he still has his “scary moments.”
“When I’m under an unusual amount of pressure,” he said, “people wonder, ‘Will he relapse?’ But that’s not it: Opportunity and free time are the biggest temptations. If I feel like I might be able to get away with taking drugs, I'll make appointments and find ways to be busy.”
There was a moment in 2001 when such an opportunity arrived. “I had a window where I could fly to Vegas on a Friday, get high all night, and then return to L.A. the next day,” Sorkin said. But on this particular trip, he was caught at the airport carrying “a four dollar pipe" with a metal bowl, along with hallucinogenic mushrooms and rock cocaine.
“I fainted,” Sorkin recalled. “When I came to, I was in handcuffs. I was lucky – there are guys serving time in prison for doing less than I did.”
At first, when he got sober, Sorkin said his biggest fear was whether or not he was going to be able to write without cocaine. “In the past my dealer would come over, and I’d do drugs all night long and I’d write high,” he told W. “I was worried that I couldn’t write with the sun out.”
But after rehab, Sorkin found that yes, in fact, he could. “The first time I wrote in the daytime I was so proud,” he recalled. “Now my firewall is [my nine-year-old daughter] Roxy. I’d let her down if I relapsed.”
For Sorkin, the creative process is a solitary one; when he was working on “The West Wing,” he hired writers who were young enough not to be bothered by the fact that he was writing every episode himself.
“When I create a TV show, it’s so I can write it,” he said. “A lot of members of the Writers Guild are not happy that I write all the episodes. But writing is something I do by myself. Being up against the wall seems to work for me.”
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Are any of you the same folks that are posting over on the LLohan forum... giving her nothing but grief? just asking..
Addiction is a serious disease; it's sad to see someone with both talent and success fall victim to a disease that preys upon depression. It seems that money doesn't buy happiness after all. I'm glad to see he's doing well now; I hope he maintains his sobriety.
Please feel free to join the conversation about films at http://khocolatemoose.wordpress.com/
We'd love to hear what you think, and often.
You know the saying, "Can't beat the dealer." But we can identify her/him, can't we? Addictions are powerful, and your dealer knows this. It's how they make their living. Who's the dealer, Mr. Sorkin? You're a writer. Let US KNOW:) It takes courage to stand up to your addiction. You are Courageous. Now, stand up to your dealer before he stands before your daughter. You're halfway home, buddy. Now, round third and slide headfirst. THAT TAKESW GUTS.
Can't any of you people spell correctly?? My goodness. You're ALL on drugs. Or just stupid.
I hope that he continues to remain sober & keeps his mind on what matters in life! I've seen the dangers of substance abuse & addiction & it can totally ruin your life & cause pain for your loved ones! If he is admitting his struggle with remaining clean, hopefully his honesty will encourage others to take those steps as well!! Life is short & I applaud ANYONE who is strong enough to face those demons, break those chains, & LIVE!! Prayer & Faith can change all things!! Good luck to him on his journey and to all facing the same illness!! 😉
to REALIST–SO TRUE regarding the comment on religion!
to REALIST–SO TRUE regarding the comment n religion !
it's so funny to read all of these comments. nobody's really proving one point over the other and who cares anyway? i say you're all right, isn't that what you want to hear anyway?
y'all need to chillax. drugs are not for everybody, but they are for some people. usually creative people. and they do inspire. that's the truth. they do a lot of harm to people that can't handle them, so beware you people.
To deny the fact that drugs have played an extensive role in the landscape of history is to remain ignorant of the truth.
My current Religious Study Professor has said that many people see the "sacred" and have enlightment when on mind altauring drugs. Is this true? Not sure.
Listen I have been sober from weed and alchy for 19 months now, and would never go back. However, some people are able to remain in control when using drugs recreationally, well some drugs at least. Why do you think California is on the.verge of legalizing marijuana? Because social trends have moved towards accepting the drug into the mainstream
Drugs are another means of population control. Think of all the retards that would walk the Earth if they hadn't self destructed.
Addiction is a disease and is a serious problem in todays society.
These people are oblivious to the human cost of their willful actions. How much suffering is caused in drug producing nations to satisfy this demand?
Until consumer countries decide to get draconian with users the suffering will continue.
Wow, you really are ignorant. Draconian measures would end drug abuse?
Listen, all drugs should be legalized. A drug war does 4 things, create artificially high prices, creating higher profits for drug cartels, overcrowds prisons turning drug users into hardened criminals, and creates cheaper, more dangerous versions of the drugs (ie crack, meth)
Look at case studies globally. Portugal legalized drugs and put money into education and support for users, their drug rate is lower than pre-legalization.
the economist has pointed out that 2 Scandinavian countries, with similar social economic and cultural make ups, have to very different drug policies, one more draconian, the other more lax. Their drug usage rates are exactly the same.
Listen, anybody in high school can buy weed if they want to. Anybody in college can buy X, coke, anytime they want. Drugs are easy enough to buy despite the money spent by the government and ultimately tax payers, to the direct benefit of the drug cartels. Drugs have been around since the beginning of humanity, are present in the most remote cultures, and will always be around.
The question is do we allow private industry to regulate (ie professional sports and some companies who test) and leave it up to the individual to decide? Or do we allow the ineffective government to decide for us?
Is great how tea party and conservative republicans are all about small government and individual freedoms except when it comes to social issues like gay/lesbian rights, drugs, etc. Cant have it both ways.
Oh Allister, if the rest of us were only as strong as you......
excuse me while I throw up......
"But the hardest thing I do every day is not take cocaine," says Aaron Sorkin.
This from a guy who makes tons and tons of money from writing and producing third-rate TV, gets to live the high life ... and who somehow believes he has it so bad when he can't put proverbial pen to paper ... and the article treats him as a hero.
There are millions of Americans, out of work, out of their homes, out of luck, out of health benefits, out of just about everything (and who've never touched an addictive thing in their lives) who's everyday is harder than the last. And they get up everyday and go on, hoping things will get better.
They are the true heros ... not this twit!
The 2003 movie 'The Room' is a helpful tool to maintain sobriety.
Committees created the camel and god-awful TV scripts. The best writers are terrible raconteurs at parties because they live and work in seclusion.
I didn't know Sorkin used heroin–his West Wing scripts were so articulate and precise. That he relapsed in the middle of the show's run amazes me.
I don't really understand some people. I did coke for almost two years...everyday...hurt a lot of people and ruined my life. I have NO problems NOT doing it anymore. I just stopped. No rehab. Now if only cigarettes were that easy...
When I was teenager I drank beer and it showed through poor grades. I went to college (A&M) and stayed high on weed 24/7. Graduated top of my class with highest honors.
Just goes to show – study high, take the test high, make high grades..............
You can't stop us people. You just have to live with us just like we have to live with you. Thank goodness I don't run into any of you at the clubs. Oh, they don't let you in the door, me forgets, thhehehhehe.
He put his life at risk and spent all that money on drugs and lawyers so as to be able to ......write a television show?!?! Astonishing.
It's not worth bothering to ask what all those other "young writers" he hired were doing to earn their pay while Mr. Sorkin was composing his oeuvre – solo and blasted on coke.
That The West Wing was fobbed off on us as entertainment then and that its creator merits mention, let alone concern today, speaks to the central point of a real oeuvre, one that should be required reading for every thinking and caring person – Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death."
It's all about a balance.
God Bless and protect all those that struggle with addiction.
in response to REALIST (i like that name!) u r correct stating that i went from one xtrm to another (big smile) He is extreme and not an addiction (its His presence that is addicting) .....and thanx for ur reply...we shouldnt base our opinions or standards of Christ on human efforts anyway... judgment day is coming regardless and i hope to meet u on the other side!
Thanks for the compliment on the name and the proof of my point. I doubt that I will see you onthe other side as either way I will not be there as I do not believe all the religous junk. I am not saying I do not beleive in God I just do not beleive in RELIGION. Religion is meant to control us and manipluate us to being submissive to the church not to set us free.
Incredible! I'd like to hear from the families & friends of those who reported drug use. They may have different stories to tell. Drugs have had devastating effects on our society as well as alcohol, religion, etc. We're a diverse society w/ different temperments and tolerances. I just wander if we'd suggest to our CHILDREN that drugs are inspiring, motivating, & way too cool?
Good luck with your mission to stay clean
The ignorance about addiction in this thread is astounding. Good luck to the people who like to judge and look down on others who are so called "weak". Stroke your ego a bit?
I am not ignorantof the addiction ,. I get it that it is hard for some. I do not mean weak in a bad way but lets face facts- We are all weak in some areas-Do not blame the drugs when it is the human condition
Yes drugs can be fine if used in moderation but when do most people use moderation? They are illegal because they do a lot more damage than good and thats because most people dont start using in times of greatness but rather in times of personal defeat and are not able to handle moderation because the drugs work so well at making them happy at that moment of pain. Lets face it...of those of us who have used we think the high is great and makes us happy and thats true for that moment but its the bad moments after that high that make the drugs bad. Adiction. Letting family and friends down and digging an even deaper whole in ur life. I agree that drugs have benifits but way more cons than pros on society as a whole. Good luck sorkin i feel what ur sayin. Once an addict allways an addict but thats no reason not to over come it and its nothing like the inosence of a child to help you through it. Gl
I agree with you and that is what I am saying- Reality is only for those that cannot handle hard drugs!!!! I am glad I am not that person!!!!
What he is not saying is he now drinks heavily.
...and this coming from a guy with an unknown substance in his pipe.
Everyone has a different relationship with drugs. Most people age out, you can't keep riding the rodeo if you want to be a 9-5 family man. It's hard at first, real hard, it gets easier everyday. In a couple years Sorkin won't be able understand why he didn't quit earlier and he won't remember what he ever saw in it.
I agree im an ex addict struggling to overcome cocaine. its not easy and like other people said NoTHiNG good comes from it.
truth is if u dont know the Lord i dont see how u would be ok today w/ o gettin high-no offense to those who have lost loved ones, it is a miracle i am still here but to correct the original article ... there IS a cure for addiction it is Jesus who died for you n me thankfully! i am a testimony of this...
All you did is swap one extreme for another. Religion is another form of addicition. I have seen it time and again- The harder the Durg Use the more of a Zealot when they converted to religion. At least this is true of several Born Again Christians I know. They were just as vehement in their conversion and their efforts to convert the rest of us as they were addicted to drugs.
@Realist: If religion is an addiction, then it's the one addiction that actually does not harm the individual engaging in it; the only addiction that actually can improve your life in a real sense, not ruin your life or just make you think you're improving when you're really just doing a good job of covering up and avoiding problems by staying numb and high.
Not at all. Private Industry all my life. If I were in the Whitehouse we would be getting things done!!!! Look at this I am at work bloggin while on a Conf Call meeting.
Well, I hope your boss does not know who you are because I doubt they would appreciate knowing you blog while on conference calls and take hard drugs, bringing the aftereffects to work, or that you praise the use of drugs so much. Keep hiding!
DRUGS ARE AWESOME!!!!
I will giive you an example. My best friend for these same 30 years was my drug buddy!!!! At one poit even we went too far but realized it and stopped Coke and Meth-the worse of the 2- for about 3 years. Low and Behold after 3 years I was able to go back to once or twice a week and then stop for a week or 2 and so on. However my friend kept going and tried to hide it from me and he ended up living in a Storage Unit at the Public Storage places as he lost his job then his apt etc due to drugs and himself. He is fine and has been for years now and currently lives in Maine and cannot get any drugs in that far northern area and is OK. I am still doing the hard drugs a few times a month and is well under control and I can take it or leave it as I see fit. Yes I would like to do them every day but then it would get old and it is harmful to your body but no more so than McDonalds, Pespsi, Air Pollution and all the other chems and crap we expose ourselves to. At least drugs guve us pleasure- Coke & Meth are Great for S-X!!!!!!!
Cocaine......runnin' all around my brain.
I am a commentor who can relate to the addiction of drugs. It ain't easy being clean. Thanks Aaron for sharing.
DRUGS ARE GREAT- COKE, POT, LSD CRYSTAL METH WHEN DONE IN MODERATIONARE AWESOME. THE PROBLEM IS THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE TOO WEAK TO STOP AND YOU START DOING MORE AND MOPRE AND MORE.
THIS IS THE SAME FOR ALCOHOL, GAMBLING, RELIGION ETC . WEAK PERSONALITIES GET EASLIY "ADDICTED". THIS DOES NOT MEAN I DO NOT FEEL FOR THEIR FAMILIES JUST DO NOT USE A PAINT BRUSH.
I HAVE BEEN USING HARD DRUGS FOR 30 YEARS AND STILL MAINTAIN A SIX FIGURE INCOME AND AND CONSIDERED GREAT AT MY JOB. IN FACT IN MY LAST JOB ABOUT 20 YEARS AOG i ACTUALLY DID LSD AT WORK!!!! GREAT TIMES.
I guess you must work at the Whitehouse
You must be high now because you obviously can't spell. Drugs ruin lives!!!
There's a Caps Lock key on your keyboard. Press on it once and you should be good to go. Thanks!
I don't like u adam. U are a hypocrite
"COCAINE IS A HELLUVA DRUG!"
I don't believe in God and I don't believe in dug use. No one is perfect, but drugs and religion are both crutches for people too weak to stand alone. Whether or spiritual high or drug high, somehow both groups think their lives are better because of it. Hypocrites.
Wowser.... don't hate just participate!
It takes a true hero to say NO.... I'm glad to hear a famous person admit they're not immortal... Keep your head up Sorkin, good for you.
As a recovering addict alcoholic and can say that i used to feel like all the substances got my creative juices flowing as a writer but i can honestly say that the coherence and validity of my writing greatly improved. i can understand where cdg is coming from but it has to be understood the drugs only uncover what is already in your mind and when it comes out that way it is often distorted and not how it truely is...
P.S. new studies have proven that frued made alot up...the man was just an addict who thought cocaine solved all problems
Of course Frued "made up" psychoanalytic theory....because it's a theory!!!! How do you study and prove such things? By practical application and outcome studies. Psychoanalysis and all other forms of therapy that have developed from it have done an immesaurable amount of good in the world...and it's been proven. Don't disparage trivialize the man and his work because you may disagree with him or because he used cocaine. Where would the mental health field be today without his "made up" ideas? Probably in the dark ages still. Have you actually read Frued? "the man was just an addict who thought cocaine solved all problems" Clearly you haven't if that's what you can reduce his work to. Give it a try sometime. He did amazing things with is work, considering the time period and limited resources and technology at that time.
Have you ever seen the Monty Python movie, "And Now, For Something Completely Different". I don't see how straight people could write something like this.
Interesting story. I've never had any adverse.......................albatrose!
I'm too cheap to become an addict.
You non-drug users will never understand those of us who do use.
So.... stay on your sanctimonious high horse and keep on judging. That is definately the christian thing to do.
I do envy you people who can make it thru the day (day after horrid day) without the assistance of mind altering substances........ that ain't me though. Hate us if you must, but we pay taxes too and most of us hold down jobs and are successful at them. I am the kind of guy who would stop and help your grandmother change a flat tire in the rain. And no.... I wouldn't screw it up and make it worse.
"day after horrid day", huh? Yeah. Sounds like those drugs are really working for you...if life sucks so much that you have to use drugs daily to check out, then why even bother? What a waste...
Drugs are awesome!and so is marijuana.
Run along zuel....I think I hear your mother calling you
Cocaine is possibly the dumbest drug ever.......unless want to talk to someone you don't like for 4 or 5 or 6 hours about things that you don't care about, don't want to be telling someone you don't care about or write a useless TV show that sucks balls....... You ever notice that people who use cocaine are always hiding it? Yeah, thats because it's a dirty drug. Please move onto crack and off my street
One is too many and a thousand is never enough....recovery is a process that works from the inside out...
Congratulations on your sobriety, Aaron. It has to be the hardest thing anyone can ever do and I admire you for speaking a bout it so openly. Stay strong, sober and healthy! I wish you every success and can't wait to see what you do next. I STILL miss West Wing! All the best to you and your family.
My soon to be ex-husband is an addict and he lost me, his son, his license, and his job. I've yet to see how drugs affected him in a positive manner. KY- I agree, cdg is an idiot.
Well lets hope that he takes no otc or Rx drugs because they all have cocaine in them.
Really? All over the counter and prescription medications have cocaine in them? I would love to see you back that up with a reliable source (not a drug source, an information source).
Addiction is no jokes
@cdg...........seriously dude?! "Don't knock drugs because without them this world would be a far less interesting and creative place."
..........................tell that to the parents of kids who have died because they thought they were just having fun, experimenting.....................GROW UP!
YEAH! You gotta grow up and take real drugs like painkillers and alcohol just like everybody else!
maybe the parents are the problem, not the drugs. Why is our country on a moral power-trip? Drugs do some good for some people, and some bad for some people. They are not for everybody, but that doesn't give the zealots the right to take away a recreational substance from the people who can use drugs responsibly. I am mainly talking about Marijuana, but also feel the same way about cocaine and heroin. Look at drug use rates in the Netherlands, where they decriminalized soft drugs like Marijuana and Mushrooms-overall drug use went down, as well as drug consumption rates amongst teens. Preach your antiquated D.A.R.E. to be drug free venom elsewhere...
Some of the greatest accomplishments of man, be it media, music, or good old fashioned paint and canvas, was created under the effects of drugs. Jimmy Hendrix's meteoric yet short career, The Stones 1972 Masterpiece "Exile on Mainstreet", Sigmund Freud, Warhol, Tim Leary and the counter culture of the civil rights movement, the 1980s (lol), etc. Don't knock drugs because without them this world would be a far less interesting and creative place.
You're an idiot. My husband died of a cocaine overdose.
Well, if he was worth anything then he would have written an episode of "The West Wing." Take your sanctimonius, self-righteous garbage elsewhere. No one cares.
i'm inclined to agree with you, and that KY, madcitybabe and Supermom are the idiots. drugs are just like guns: when utilized correctly, they are an effective tool. but in the hands of idiots, they are certainly lethal...
Addition and self destruction are not interesting to normal people. That was a really immature thing to post. Btw, Jimmy Hendrix was a great guitarist no doubt, but he is dead because of drug addiction. Duh.
cdg is correct, recreational drugs have inspired some of the greatest artistic and philosophical accomplishments of mankind, from Coleridge and Freud to Miles Davis and the Beatles, and no amount of moralistic hand-wringing will change that. Some people just can't handle them, and shouldn't use them for their own sake, but we shouldn't base laws on the weakest among us.
Actually, I've frequently had the discussion with friends and family about how you must have been on drugs to come up with "that." The reply is frequently that you'd have to be on drugs to think it was funny/entertaining. Seriously – most of what you praise is superficial – only "deep" when you're on the same diminished level. As far as Civil Rights – I doubt Rosa Parks was on drugs when she refused to give up her seat; I doubt MLK preached high; And I really doubt the Little Rock Nine studied with shrooms.
You must be high right now....You are a loser
Cocaine is a helluva drug.
I'll add to your list: Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, that guy who wrote the Xanadu poem, Miles Davis... And many more but that doesn't make it right
Gotta agree with you cdg – if it were'nt for drugs there would be no great art – whether the drug was absinth or mescaline or cocaine. millions die every year from FDA approved prescription drugs, alcohol and tobabcco. would we even know who Jimi Hendix was if he had died from too much Prozac?
Party on Garth!!