• Lost your password?
  • Or, login with:
  • New User? Sign up here!

Retrieve Password


Get involved in the conversation.

May Wilkerson May Wilkerson

Smokey Robinson Says Religion Saved Him From Cocaine

The Motown legend recalls a divine moment that helped him bid goodbye to cocaine forever. He also has some advice for Justin Bieber.

5 Substance

There are plenty of ways to recover from an addiction. For R&B legend  William “Smokey” Robinson, Jr., it was a conversation with a  in a roadside church back in 1986, with a pastor and God.

In an interview with the Telegraph, the singer/songwriter and former VP of Motown Records talks about getting hooked on cocaine in the ’80s despite thinking he’d be immune. “I thought that it couldn’t happen to me,” he says, “That’s the cunning of drugs. I could never become addicted! ‘I love sports, and I run, and I take care of myself. I can overcome this.’”

Though he smoked “a whole lot of weed” when he was younger, it was “always manageable.” But cocaine, he explains “was a whole other animal.” Though the 74-year-old didn’t start “dibbling and dabbling in the cocaine” until the relatively mature age of 41, it took control of his life. Friends and family’s attempts to intervene didn’t help. He credits a pastor at a storefront church near his Los Angeles home with finally getting him to kick the drug—with some assistance from the big man upstairs.

“[The pastor] told me that God had told her I was coming,” he recalls. “And she told me all the things that were happening to me, physically and emotionally and mentally–which I shared with no on one earth!” Apparently these top-secret treatment methods worked, because Robinson says: “I walked in that church an addict, and I came out free. May of 1986. Never looked back.”

Though he still drinks occasionally, he “never liked the taste of it” and adds that his father’s alcoholism left him with an “adverse relationship” with the bottle. Also, he grew up surrounded by addiction, and the alcoholics struck him as the “most pathetic.”

And what of other young stars who could potentially find themselves in the same boat? Robinson apparently has some words for Justin Bieber, who he believes is talented but headed “on the wrong track,” saying: “I’d like to have a one-on-one conversation with him. I met him in the beginning and he was a nice kid. I just think he’s running with the wrong people now, and being influenced by the wrong things.”