The most important song of 2016

One of the great joys of working with young people is that they introduce me to their music. If not for them, a middle aged guy like me doesn’t get to hear incredible artists like Macklemore.

His latest song is not just an important message and arguably his finest song to date. It’s a vital piece of social commentary coupled with a call to arms. What follows are excerpts from “Drug Dealer

“They said it wasn’t a gateway drug
My homie was takin’ subs (Suboxone) and he ain’t wake up
The whole while, these billionaires, they kicked up
Paying out congress so we take their drugs
Murderers who will never face the judge….

But I seen homies turn grey, noses draining blood
I could’ve been gone, out 30’s, faded in that tub
That’s Prince, Michael and Whitney, that’s Amy, Ledger and Pimp C
That’s Yams, that’s DJ A.M
God damn they’re making a killing
Now it’s getting attention cause Sara, Katey and Billy

…But this shit’s been going one from Seattle out to South Philly
It just moved out about the city
And spread out to the ‘burbs
Now it’s everybody’s problem, got a nation on the verge…

…My drug dealer was a doctor, doctor
Had the plug from Big Pharma, Pharma
He said that he would heal me, heal me
But he only gave me problems, problems….

… Best friends with the thing that’s killing me
Enemies with my best friend, there’s no healing me
Refilling these, refilling these
They say it’s death, death
Institutions and DOC’s

So God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
And the wisdom to know the difference…”

I don’t have words as to describe why this song has made me cry the first ten times I heard it. I don’t want to explain it. You get it if you live it or love those who live it or if you’re in recovery from it.

I love that Macklemore speaks the truth about the dangers of prescribed pain killers and where it takes too many of us. I love that he points out that this epidemic isn’t new…it’s just new to the suburbs.

This song is my heart hating the disease of addiction and the stigma that comes with being an addict. It’s about loving my heroes in addiction recovery. It’s about the bravest people I know and having the guts to change your whole life.

Most of all, I love that Macklemore closes out the song with the words that have guided me and kept me sane:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change

Courage to change the things that I can

And the wisdom to know the difference.


Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim is the cofounder of an online addiction recovery program that is affordable and provides complete anonymity