On the occasion of the birthday of Smokey Robinson this past February, Rocket Man and I paid tribute to him at length in “Essence of Motown.” We focused on Smokey’s career in the sixties as a songwriter, performer and producer — all extraordinaire.
Today Fox News has posted an AP feature on Smokey’s bout with drugs and recovery: “Smokey’s Robinson offers ‘food for the spirit.'” The AP story reports:
He began using drugs during the 1980s, and what started out as recreation with friends eventually overtook him for a two-year period.
“I was dead,” he told The Associated Press. “I was ashamed of myself because it wasn’t like (drug addiction) happened to me as a teenager or a young man. I was a full-fledged adult and my life was going exactly as I would have written it, but drugs don’t care who you are or what you’re doing.”
After his close friend Leon Issac Kennedy took Robinson one day to a storefront church in Los Angeles, Robinson says he quit cold turkey after the service. “I turned it over to God,” he said of his recovery. “I never went to rehab or a doctor or psychotherapy. The Lord freed me that night and when I came out of there, I was healed.”
Now Smokey’s back with a new recording of inspirational songs and an expanded line of Smokey Robinson Foods cuisine.
The devastation wrought by drugs is a story that many need to hear and that cannot be told too often. Smokey has not only returned his life to productive purposes, he has regularly shared his story of triumph over drug addiction at churches, rehabilitation facilities, gang meetings and juvenile detention centers. This is a sobering story in more ways than one.