Ray Charles: Lessons From His Life & Death

An image of Ray Charles, smiling, with his arms wrapped around himselfWhen he was 73 years old, the legendary music icon Ray Charles died on June 10, 2004. Many regarded the blind musician as a musical genius. He received a number of awards, accolades and was the first to barter musical deals that were unheard of at the time.

The cause of his death of such a talented and smart man? Liver failure, resulting from acute liver disease and hepatitis C.

What led to these diseases? A long-sustained drug addiction.

Ray had a very long history of substance abuse, including heroin and alcohol. He even responded to the situations caused by his drug use and reform with the songs “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, and the release of his first album since having kicked his heroin addiction in 1966, “Crying Time.”

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By 2003, Ray was diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease and hepatitis C.

“If I knew I was going to live this long,” he added with an ironic smile, “I would have taken better care of myself,” Ray said.

The Main Reason Why People Abuse Drugs

Many people do not understand why people become addicted to drugs. They mistakenly view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem and may characterize those who take drugs as weak. One very common belief is that drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior.

Many don’t understand that drug abuse is very much a disease.

People generally take drugs to either feel good or to feel better, since drugs affect the motivation and pleasure pathways of the brain. What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug addiction. Many don’t understand that stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower.

In Ray’s case it was said he began using drugs to stop the frequent nightmares…,