Percocet Addiction Is To Blame For August Alsina’s Absence
In 2014, R&B singer August Alsina was on an upward trajectory toward superstardom after he released his debut album Testimony and gained instant notoriety for his sit single “I Love This Shit” featuring Trinidad James. That same year, Alsina was named Best New Artist at the June 2014 BET Awards. He was also listed as Rolling Stone’s top 10 artists to watch out for in 2014.
Just a few months after his big win at the BET Awards, Alsina passed out and fell off stage during a September performance at Irving Plaza in New York. He would ultimately make a full recovery from his injuries, but the world hasn’t heard much from Alsina since – until recently.
With fans clamoring for more of his soulful voice and edgy R&B sound, Alsina appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith’s web TV show Red Table Talk to explain his absence. According to Alsina, an addiction to the opioid painkiller Percocet took control of his life. Now in recovery, the singer is sharing his story.
You can watch Alsina’s fall off stage here:
Jada Pinkett Smith – An Advocate For Recovery
Before we talk more about Alsina’s recovery from opioids, let’s talk about Jada Pinkett Smith for a minute. As you’ll soon find out, she is an integral part of Alsina’s recovery.
We all know Pinkett Smith as an amazing and glamorous actress who has starred in films like The Nutty Professor, The Matrix Reloaded, Set it Off, and Girls Trip. We also know she has been married to well-respected actor Will Smith for more than 20 years. The couple has two children – son Jaden Smith and daughter Willow Smith. Both have made their own mark on the entertainment industry.
But, what you probably didn’t know is that Pinkett Smith sold drugs and struggled with a sex addiction when she was younger. More recently, she admits that she briefly battled a problem with alcohol addiction. And, her mother is a recovering heroin addict. Yes – there is much more to Jada Pinkett Smith than meets the eye.
Because of her personal history, Pinkett Smith is gaining a reputation for helping people who struggle with substance abuse and other addictive behaviors. We love that she is using her celebrity status to make a positive impact in the lives of people who feel enslaved by addiction.
Red Table Talk – A New Look At Jada Pinkett Smith
If you’re not familiar with her new show Red Table Talk on Facebook, it’s definitely worth checking out. The show stars Pinkett Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, her daughter Willow Smith, and featured guests. It focuses on engaging topics of conversation that usually happen around a red table. The show debuted on Facebook in May 2018 and was recently renewed for 13 more episodes.
Red Table Talk gives us special insight into Pinkett Smith’s intellect, her compassion for the world she lives in, her concern for hurting people, and her desire to make a positive difference. She comes across as being very relatable and down-to-earth.
Discussing Addiction Around The Red Table – Four Unique Perspectives
Pinkett Smith recently sat down around the red table with August Alsina, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her sister-in-law (Will Smith’s sister) Ashley Marie to discuss the very important topic of addiction.
“Alcoholism and drug addiction runs through my family and I have had my own addictions that I’ve had to get over and it just made me realize that really great people just get caught up,” Pinkett Smith said in the beginning of the show.
What is so engaging about this particular Red Table Talk episode is that each person brings a unique perspective to the conversation as it relates to different stages of recovery. Banfield-Norris is recovering from heroin addiction and now celebrates 27 years of continuous sobriety. Jada Pinkett Smith represents the concerned friend who once struggled with alcohol addiction herself. She helped her friend Alsina get clean. Alsina became addicted to opioid painkillers after an injury and is new to recovery. Marie is addicted to marijuana.
This episode of Red Table Talk created a forum that revealed some very interesting points about addiction. Each of these four personalities gives us an opportunity to provide a profile of four different types of substances and examine how addiction impacts the individual.
If want to check out this Red Table Talk episode before you continue reading, you can watch it here:
For the first time ever, Jada’s mom Adrienne Banfield Norris shares details of her 20-year heroin addiction, and how it affected a young Jada Pinkett Smith. Also joining the family is special guest August Alsina, and Will Smith’s youngest sister, Ashley Marie, both of whom have faced addiction.If you or someone you know struggles with addiction, we would like to help you find information about substance misuse, prevention and recovery. Please visit Facing Addiction with NCADD: resources.facingaddiction.org
Posted by Red Table Talk on Monday, July 9, 2018
Adrienne Banfield-Norris – The Recovering Heroin Addict
Interestingly enough, Banfield-Norris says the first drug she tried was nicotine. We typically don’t think of nicotine as a drug, but it is. She started smoking cigarettes at age 15 and then continued on to alcohol, marijuana, and then it just progressed on to harder drugs.
“I abused drugs for over twenty years,” she said on Red Table Talk. “There’s a stigma and a stereotype attached to addiction that makes it difficult for people to seek the help that they need so if I can help in any way help with just a little bit of some of that, it will be worth it.”
Twenty-seven years. That is how long Banfield-Norris has been free from heroin addiction and the use of all other drugs (including alcohol). That’s a mighty long time! She is a walking, talking testimony that no matter how far down you go, once you hit rock bottom – there is nowhere to go but up.
“My entry into drugs was just trying to be a part of the crowd,” Banfield-Norris commented. “I was just a teenager in a really unhappy space, somebody that was just really, really uncomfortable in my own skin and just had a lot of insecurities.”
Heroin Addiction – It Just Kind of Creeps Up On You
Banfield-Norris is one of millions of Americans who have struggled with an addiction to heroin in their lifetime. We are so happy she found recovery. So many people don’t. Heroin addiction kills tens of thousands of people in the United States every year. And, with the opioid epidemic in full swing, more and more people are getting hooked on heroin and dying from an overdose.
Let’s be real about the use of heroin. It is powerful substance that creates an overwhelming feeling of relaxation and tranquility. To be frank, it makes the user feel soooooooooo good, which is what keeps people going back for more. This euphoric feeling is what gets people hooked on heroin.
The thing is, heroin addiction typically doesn’t happen overnight. It usually starts out as a once-in-awhile thing. Then it becomes a recreational weekend “hobby” – you know, something fun to do on a Saturday. Pretty soon, it is being used on weekdays. Then, every day. Then, without even realizing it, someone using “H” will be completely addicted to it.
Heroin is extremely physically addictive. Once the body depends on the drug to function, it’s all downhill from there. Without a regular dose of H, withdrawal is inevitable. It is this withdrawal that keeps people in the insane cycle of addiction. They want to avoid the painful symptoms that always accompany detox. These include head-to-toe body aches, vomiting and diarrhea, fever, sweats and chills, insomnia, and a host of other unpleasant physical reactions.
Getting Help For Heroin Addiction – Sobriety Isn’t Easy
During Red Table Talk, Banfield-Norris shared that it took her six years of sincerely trying to stop using heroin to get one continuous year of clean time. She kept returning again and again to the drug.
“Cuz I had been a revolving door for so long. I’d get a couple months clean and then I’m gone again.”
She says early in the episode through tears of gratitude, “I had to let go and surrender so that I could receive what He (God) was trying to give to me through other people.”
We admire Banfield-Norris’s determination to stick with recovery. So many people try to quit using heroin. They end up going back to the stuff and never try to stop again because they perceive their relapse as a total failure. Shame and guilt often drive people to stay in their addiction. They want to avoid the painful feelings that result from a relapse.
There are a lot of factors that lead to relapse. The most obvious is that most people use H for many years before they make the decision to quit. It becomes a coping skill. It takes time, patience, hard work, and a strong support system to learn how to live a life in recovery and stay away from drugs and alcohol.
For this reason, addiction experts recommend that people who suffer from a heroin addiction seek professional help to learn relapse prevention strategies. This increases the chances for ongoing sobriety. Recovery may not be easy, but it’s worth it.
Jada Pinkett Smith – The Concerned Friend And Problem Drinker
Quite often, it takes the care and concern of a friend or family member to get an addicted person to step out of denial and get real about their substance abuse. This was the case with Jada Pinkett Smith and her friend August Alsina.
Pinkett Smith and Alsina met in London in 2015 when her children Jaden and Willow were performing at a concert. That day, Alsina told Pinkett Smith that he could really use some help dealing with life.
“And then, come to find out, that he was abusing Percocet,” Pinkett Smith said. “August and I and my mother and the family as a whole have been pretty much on this journey with August and his healing.”
Alsina says that he experienced a turning point in his addiction when Pinkett Smith called him crying and expressing her concern for him.
He said to her on Red Table Talk, “To feel your emotion and you balling, that was a reality check for me, and I was like ‘wow, if someone else can love you that much that it hurts them, why doesn’t it bother you that you’re actually hurting yourself?’ And that moment really changed the trajectory of my life just to start walking away from it.”
What To Do If Your Friend Or Family Member Is Addicted
Who knows where August Alsina would have ended up if he didn’t have Jada Pinkett Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris to turn to for help. He may still be using or he may have overdosed and died.
By offering their unconditional love and support, these two ladies gave Alsina hope that he could recover and find a new way to live. Banfield-Norris certainly serves as living proof that no matter how severe an addiction might be, it can be broken.
If you have a friend or family member who is addicted, your first inclination may be to get angry at them. This is especially true if they have stolen from you, lied to you constantly, abused you in some way, or promised repeatedly that they would stop using drugs or drinking – only to continue with the same behavior. However, the one thing more than anything else that an addicted person needs from loved ones is compassion.
If you want to help a loved one get sober, check out this article about helping an addicted friend or family member.
Pinkett Smith Has Had A Number Of Difficulties With Her Own Addictions
As the daughter of a recovering heroin addict, Pinkett Smith admits she has had her own struggles with addictive behaviors. Although she has never gone to a rehab, she has had her fair share of wake-up calls.
“My addictions jump around. When I was younger, I definitely think I had a sex addiction of some kind. That everything could be fixed by sex,” she said. “Then I became a gym addict. I was just in the gym constantly.”
Pinkett Smith says she has to be vigilant about her behavior or she can quickly find herself engaged in a cycle of obsession and compulsion.
“I remember reaching a rock bottom that time I was in the house by myself and I had those two bottles of wine and I was going for the third bottle and it was like, ‘Now hold up. You’re in this house by yourself going onto your third bottle of wine. You might have a problem,’” she admitted. “So, I went cold turkey. That’s the thing about me, I can go cold turkey. I am a binger and I have to watch myself because I can become obsessed with things.”
Thank goodness Pinkett Smith didn’t experience any severe consequences because of her heavy drinking.
Alcohol Addiction – The Struggle Is Real
So many people make the mistake of thinking alcohol is safe. Because the drug (yes, alcohol is a drug) is socially acceptable and legal, most people don’t give a second thought to just how dangerous and addictive booze actually is. You might be surprised to learn that beer, wine, and liquor are just as deadly as heroin – if not more so. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 88,000 people lose their lives every year because of alcohol abuse.
When we hear about Jada Pinkett Smith reaching for that third bottle of wine, we might be shocked to think that she may have struggled with alcohol addiction. She is an accomplished woman with many achievements. However, many people who suffer from alcoholism continue to lead successful and productive lives as high functioning alcoholics. Just because your life isn’t in the gutter doesn’t mean you are not physically addicted to alcohol and headed for trouble.
In our experience, though, people like Pinkett Smith are the exception and not the rule. Most people who become hooked on alcohol engage in destructive behaviors that result in dire consequences. They may desperately want to quit drinking, but they have lost the ability to stop on their own without help.
Think you might be addicted to alcohol? Please learn the warning signs for alcoholism.
August Alsina – New In Recovery From An Addiction To Percocet
We mentioned earlier that Alsina sustained a serious injury when he fell off a stage during a New York performance in September of 2014. What we didn’t tell you is that he fell because he passed out from drinking too much alcohol and smoking too much weed. We also didn’t tell you the full extent of his injuries.
Alsina’s fall was so severe; he went into convulsions, flatlined twice, and had to be resuscitated. Subsequently, he was in a coma for three days. During his rehabilitation, he was prescribed the opioid painkiller Percocet to manage his pain. Alsina admits he abused the medication.
He said, “I literally had an endless supply of Percs. I’m like, off my body, off my house, I was literally raining pills like Skittles, for real.”
Although Alsina never actually admits how much Percocet he was taking every day, we get the sense from this comment that he was probably taking them all day every day.
How Alsina’s Addiction To Percocet Progressed
Alsina says that his stepfather was addicted to crack and his father was also addicted to crack and was an alcoholic. As a young man, this was Alsina’s introduction to addiction. He associated drug abuse with binges that resulted in his stepfather pawning everything in the house to get more money for drugs. Alsina admits that he had a certain stereotype in his mind of drug addiction – and it certainly didn’t involve being hooked on medication prescribed by a doctor for chronic pain.
“Because it’s coming from a doctor, you feel like ‘what am I doing wrong?’ So, it’s a tricky situation,” he said. “On the one hand, I’m like ‘it’s coming from the doctor,’ and on the other hand I’m like, ‘well, you’re obviously addicted.’”
At one point, Alsina said he had a memory of his stepfather sweating and shaking after coming off a crack binge, hustling around to get his life back together. It made him look at his own behavior.
“I was just always thinking I had it under control and that I could beat it.” But, Alsina one day said to himself, “Wow, I’m a junkie.”
Opioid Addiction Is Common For People With Chronic Pain
Quite often, chronic pain and opioid addiction go hand-in-hand. In fact, many experts agree that people who are prescribed narcotic painkillers for pain are at the greatest risk for developing a substance abuse problem. This is not surprising. With easy access to pain medication – and a legitimate reason to use it – people often get hooked.
Alsina is just one of many Americans who became an unsuspecting addict. It’s easy to justify the use and abuse of opioids when you have chronic pain. After all, they come from a doctor in a bottle with your name on it. Street drugs like cocaine require the user to go to seedy neighborhoods and make illegal drug purchases. This makes the addiction difficult to rationalize. When you are hooked on painkillers, you go to your local pharmacy. It’s legal and safe. It’s easy to be in denial that a problem exists.
Nevertheless, abusing opioids like Percocet can have detrimental consequences. Using them regularly ultimately leads to tolerance. This means the user needs more and more of the drug to feel the same effect. Using more of the drug leads to physical dependency. By the time someone realizes they have a problem and decide to break the habit, withdrawal is inevitable. To avoid the pain of withdrawal, users stay stuck in the vicious addictive cycle.
This is what happened to Alsina – until he quit.
Alsina Quits The Percs Cold Turkey
Alsina didn’t go to a rehab or a detox. On Red Table Talk, he said he decided to give up Percocet and get sober, claiming that it was “literally just as simple as making a decision.”
He added, “I know that anybody who ever experienced an addiction with pills, you have to pay the piper. There’s no way around it and it’s not even an experience I can tell you what it feels like…. but withdrawal is not a good feeling at all. “
At this point in the conversation, Banfield-Norris stepped in, expressing her opposing opinion.
“I disagree with that. It’s not simple like that and I think that’s deceiving to people,” she said.
This is where Ashley Marie speaks up, who – up until this point – had been quiet for the duration of the conversation. Let’s hear from her.
Ashley Marie – Addicted To Marijuana
Pinkett Smith’s sister-in-law Ashley Marie expressed her gratitude to Banfield-Norris for saying that quitting drugs is not just as simple as stopping. She said she decided that she was going to quit smoking weed for two weeks and found that she couldn’t make it through the first night.
When asked how often she smoked marijuana, she said, “I was always high.”
She admits that she had been smoking marijuana all day, every day. She would smoke when she woke up, she would smoke on her breaks at work, she would smoke at night. She stayed high on weed.
“If I felt myself coming down, we’re smoking again,” she admitted. “Vape pens, candies, blunts. It was always a way for me to make it through the moment, make it through the tears,” she said.
Marijuana Really Doesn’t Provide An Escape – It’s An Illusion
Ashley Marie says that she has a difficult time coping with the fact that both of her parents are now deceased. She uses marijuana to cope with her grief.
“I’m sad because I lost my mom. My mom is going to always be gone. So, how could I ever be okay with that pain?”
Alsina admits that he too was hooked on weed and used the drug to escape.
“It’s really just one big illusion, it’s the biggest lie of life, I’ve discovered,” he said.
Banfield-Norris responded, “That’s what I keep telling people – it’s an escape. You’re not really dealing with your own reality for whatever reason or the discomfort. And you have to be willing to learn another way to cope with whatever is going on with you because at the end of the day, when the weed is gone, that problem is still there.”
Is Marijuana Really Addictive?
With marijuana becoming more socially acceptable and legal in many states for recreational and medicinal use, there is a lot of information out there that says weed is not addictive. This is simply not true. A chronic user may not become physically dependent on the drug like they would if they were taking Oxycontin.
However, marijuana is addictive nonetheless. Marie Ashley serves as a perfect example of how this can happen. So does Alsina. So do millions of other chronic pot smokers across the United States who are struggling with dependence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 30 percent of all people who use weed will develop Marijuana Use Disorder.
Marijuana Does Cause Withdrawal And You May Need Help to Quit
Once someone has Marijuana Use Disorder, they will go into withdrawal once they stop using weed. Yes, you can go into withdrawal once you stop smoking pot! Irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, extreme mood swings, a loss of interest in daily activities, and other uncomfortable symptoms accompany withdrawal from marijuana.
People who are addicted to marijuana often need help to quit. Tens of thousands of people across the United States go to an Intensive Outpatient Program or residential rehab every year to stop abusing marijuana. If the drug wasn’t addictive, this would not be necessary.
“You’re trying to do it on your own and you can’t. And you don’t have to,” Banfield-Morris told Ashley Marie about her inability to stop smoking pot.
Think marijuana is entirely safe? Here are nine health problems caused by weed.
What These Four Red Table Talk Participants Have in Common
Studying Jada Pinkett Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, August Alsina, and Ashley Marie gives us an insight into how addiction (no matter the drug of choice) can profoundly impact the individual. Substance abuse affects people from all walks of life. Success doesn’t exempt anyone from getting hooked on drugs. We see this up close and personal on this episode of Red Table Talk.
What we also see with these four people is a very interesting connection. Later in the show, all four admit that addiction issues run in their family. We know that Pinkett Smith’s mother is a recovering heroin addict. Banfield-Norris discloses that substance abuse issues affected her family. Ashley Marie reports that both of her parents were alcoholics and Alsina says his father died from drug addiction.
“It runs in the family and I do believe there is a hereditary element to it all” Banfield-Norris said.
“This is deeper than just myself. My father died from this,” Alsina agreed.
Indeed, addiction is a family affliction. There is still some debate about what causes addiction. However, most experts agree that people who come from a family with a history of substance abuse are more likely to abuse substances themselves. Whether it is genetic or a learned behavior, if you come from a family with a history of addiction, watch out! You don’t want to find yourself hopelessly addicted.
If you are already hooked on heroin, alcohol, Percocet, weed, or any other drug, help is available. You too can celebrate 27 years clean one day, just like Adrienne Banfield-Norris. One day at a time, you can get there!
Wondering if you have an addiction to drugs? This quiz will clear things up.
Think you might be an alcoholic? Take this quiz and find out.
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