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  • Writer's pictureErik Frederickson - Life Coach and Recovery Coach

26 yrs ago today Kurt Cobain Died of a Suicide | What can we learn from his life and death?

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Revolutionary? Drug addict? Creative genius? These are just a few of the titles that have been put on the late Kurt Cobain, maybe all three are suiting.

If we step past the musical accomplishments and talents of Kurt Cobain we can see that his life is still being mirrored by countless people who are trying to find their peace in isolation and addiction. At best ending up in depression, and at worst death. A troubled and wildly talented young man, Cobain ended up losing his life in isolation and addiction. Music was an outlet that only worked for so long.

On April 8, 1994, the lead singer of the Seattle based grunge band Nirvana, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his Seattle home. After law enforcement surveyed the scene they released a statement that Cobain, "was found with a shotgun across his body, had a visible head wound and there was a note discovered nearby."

The Grammy Award winning lyricist left behind a wife, Courtney Love, and a daughter named Frances Bean.

If the last 26 yrs have shown us anything regrading addiction and its direct ties to mental health, it's that the drug problem hasn’t gone anywhere. As a matter of fact, it has dramatically increased.

Let's look at a few things that Kurt Cobain battled, after all,

"History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done."

-Sydney J. Harris


We need to spot the signs and take it serious.

Cobain had talked of suicide multiple times, and had even written suicide notes and taken "fatal doses" of heroin in attempts to end his life long before that dark day in April of 1994. Just six days before his passing he escaped a Los Angeles treatment center after being checked in for one day, only to be overcome by the demons that had pursued him for years just days later.

We know we can't force people to be ready to change, but often times the signs leading up to the breaking point are overwhelming. It's the moments early on where people are often seeking attention, and crying out for help.

If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicidal behavior or drug and alcohol abuse, help is available. No one has to live like that forever.


Self Medicating

Kurt Cobain had life long back pain and stomach problems, and doctors could never figure out what exactly caused the stomach issues. The undiagnosed stomach alignments were so bad that on more then one occasion he spoke of killing himself just so he could be done with the pain.

Cobain had also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and even at a young age his parents said, "He began to withdraw and feel ashamed much of the time. He experimented with marijuana and heroin."

After his parents divorce at the age of 8 yrs old Cobain had a rough upbringing. Moving frequently to live with his dad and relatives, he felt misunderstood and turned to experimenting with drugs at a young age. The internal emotional pain mixed with his very real health issues drove him to seek more and more comfort through drugs, which didn't help his mental health issues.

“They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same.” -Kurt Cobain

I personally lived through 13 yrs of active addiction, a suicide attempt, an overdose, watching addiction and mental health issues take the lives of over 30 of my friends, and all the insanity that goes with it. I can say now, having nearly 11 yrs of recovery, what helped me the most was relationships with people that cared and chose to understand me, not label me and diagnose me.

Intentionally loving and seeking a relational connection with people in the middle of their struggles, stops many problems before they progress into more serious ones.


Accountability Combats Enablement

Just because someone is wildly creative, successful, smart and charming doesn't mean their addiction and mental health issues aren't slowly killing them.

Kurt Cobain went from being the lead singer of a relatively unknown Seattle based grunge band, a genre of music yet to popular, to a few years later releasing one of the greatest albums in American music history, "Nevermind." "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation," Rolling Stone stated as they ranked this album the 17th greatest album of all time.

How many deeply talented people have carried addiction and mental health issues straight to a sad and early grave?

Someone's success or talent cannot be reason for us to enable behavior that flirts with death on a daily basis. Is talent and success the marker for acceptance in our society? And is a successful career more important than someone's personal health and well being?

“Thank you for the tragedy. I need it for my art.”

-Kurt Cobain

I've seen too many people create a chaos in their life and learn to use it to push them into some form of accomplishment or success. Peace is an elusive pursuit when it doesn't start within.

I encourage you to confront, in love and compassion, your functioning and seemingly successful friends that are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. They may seem to be functioning at some level of success in their daily lives, but the beast of addiction is one that no one can't defeat alone. We need each other.


What I see with the life of the talented and troubled Kurt Cobain was a voice for a generation. A young man that was in pursuit of God. I see someone that was looking for peace, acceptance, true joy, and some form of solitude as he passed through this life and into the next.

We have an opportunity in front of us now to love those that are troubled and talented and walk with them into the peace and joy they are searching for.


Over 22 millions Americans are estimated to be living in recovery, that is proof that drug and alcohol addiction does not have to have the last say in anyone's life. We do recover!


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