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Did Drugs Not Make Sorkin a Better Writer?

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin thought he needed drugs to work. Then he got clean, and won an Oscar.

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Sorkin and Oscar in 2011 Photo via

By May Wilkerson

07/06/12

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Aaron Sorkin's cerebral, fast-paced scripts have made him a Hollywood legend—but he once feared that in getting clean, he would lose his creative edge. In an upcoming Men's Journal interview, the West Wing screenwriter admits: “My big fear when I quit drugs was that I wouldn’t be able to write anymore. Because if you’re a writer and you’re on a roll—and I was on a roll when I was high—you don’t want to change anything about the way you work.” After a long battle with addiction and a highly-publicized arrest in 2001, the scribe has been sober for 11 years—and earned an Oscar in 2011 for his work on The Social Network. Now back in the spotlight with a new show, The Newsroom, which premiered on HBO last week, Sorkin seems to be on a roll again—despite not being high. He's also created a stir in Hollywood by starting up a relationship with Sex and the City star Kristin Davis, herself a recovering addict who has been sober for 22 years. But despite his string of successes, when asked what advice he'd give his former self, Sorkin says: “I’d tell myself not to try drugs. Once you do that, you’re going to change the trajectory of your life in a terrible way.” 

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