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Justin Townes Earle - The Good Life From Now On


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Steve Earle's son Justin struggled with addiction in the shadows of giants—and came out swinging

by Michael McCall


All addicts know the bottom exists, and they know someday they’ll slam against it. They just can’t predict when, where and how—or with how much force. The bottom nearly killed Justin Townes Earle in July 2004. Twenty-one at the time, he’d been staying with a woman in her late 20s whose drug habit had grown to catch up with his. Crack cocaine fired their bond, but they were equal-opportunity abusers: They didn’t limit themselves to one way of getting high.

At a particularly hazy juncture, the woman hadn’t returned to her residence for three days, nor had she called. Earle continued to crash there when he wasn’t hustling to score. Then the landlord appeared in the doorway to boot him out. His girlfriend wasn’t returning, Earle was told. She’d suffered a breakdown and was getting help.

So he called a friend—another woman—who, a few days earlier, had said she’d lend a hand if he wanted to straighten up. He’d spent enough time crisscrossing the line that he wasn’t sure of his motivations—one week he’d ache to live differently, the next he’d gleefully get buzzed again. But he was tired, he hurt and he needed a friend.

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