This is an autobiographical song about Taylor's battles with addictions (primarily heroin), the "monkey on his back."
Speaking with Rolling Stone in 2015, Taylor explained: "This one's a warning not to think of a junkie as a complete functioning human being. Heroin should've killed me about five times, but it never did. My kids suffered from their father being an addict. I think there's no way they can't. People take drugs to be in control. They want to short-circuit any risk that they might take in life, any uncertainty, any anxiety. They just want to find the chemical route, to just push the button that gets the final result. So all of your relationships suffer, no question about it."
Carla Thomas became the first woman to achieve a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 with a song she wrote herself when "Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)" reached the chart's top tier in 1961. Thomas was just 16-years-old when she penned it.