Music and Recovery
Music can be a powerful tool in recovery, in minutes touching the epicenter of our emotional core. They can elicit feelings of the past, of good and bad days gone by, or give us hope for the future. But ultimately, the right ones take us right were we need to be: eliciting the healing powers of a good beat and solid lyrics. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite songs to listen to for those who are struggling with addiction and those who have embraced a life of recovery.
1. Starting Over, Macklemore
The superstar, who is known for making powerfully written music with messages that hit our pop culture hard, released “Starting Over” to document his own experience with relapse. His lyrics document a truth for many addicts who attempt to get sober: that recovering from relapse is a hard pill to swallow and a tough road to walk down. For anyone struggling with relapse, this is a song rich with hope, as Macklemore famously says, “If I can be an example of getting sober, then I can be an example of starting over.”
2. It’s Been A While, Stained
Released in 2001, this chart topper doesn’t explicitly mention addiction except in 1 line. However, the message in the song most definitely relates to those in early recovery. The songwriter, Aaron Lewis, tells the story of someone reflecting on their past, living in regret and depression for their thoughts, feelings and actions. The song sheds light on many of the difficult feelings and consequences addicts face in early recovery after the absence of drugs and alcohol have made them feel again, a unique standpoint we haven’t seen in many other songs.
3. Breathe Me, Sia
Before Sia became the international pop star that we know her as today, she released the song “Breathe Me” in 2004, which you may have heard. This powerful song relates most with addicts who are in the midst of their disease, feeling lonely, weak and incapable of escaping themselves. So many people who need recovery fall into what seems like an endless circle of addiction, continually starting back at square 1. The lyrics are also relatable to those who suffer from other afflictions like food addiction and self-harming.
4. Everyone’s On It, Lilly Allen
Leave it to Lilly Allen to talk about a controversial issue: the prevalence of drug addiction, and twist it into a catchy euro-pop song. We love it! She gets right to the issue, explaining how drug dependency is affecting everyone both old and young, rich and poor. Allen sings “Why can’t we all just be honest. Admit to ourselves that everyone’s on it, from grown politicians to young adolescents, prescribing themselves anti-depressants”. She uses this song more specifically to exploit the reality that so many people are enabled to use prescription medication. Allen, who has very publicly had her own problems with addiction, makes this in-your-face jingle catchy with lines like “See your daughter’s depressed we’ll get her straight on the Prozac. But little do you know, she already takes crack”.
5. Hate Me, Blue October
This song, released in 2006, is completely unique in its message from the other songs we have on our list. It begins with a recording from the songwriter’s mother at the peak of his addiction, genuinely concerned for his wellbeing and coming from a place of love. His well-written words illustrate the grief we feel for our loved ones who suffer alongside us both during addiction and in recovery.
6. If The Breakman Turns My Way, Bright Eyes
The lead singer of Bright Eyes writes many songs about his struggles with addiction and experiences in recovery. This low key song elusively tells a story of listening to your inner voice and leaving for a place of respite and recovery from your daemons. Also, we think there is a unique correlation to the saving power of going to treatment. Lines like “All this automatic writing I have tried to understand, from a psychedelic angel who was tugging on my hand.
It’s an infinite coincidence but it doesn’t form a plan. So I’m headed for New England or the Paris of the South. Gonna find myself somewhere to level out”, make this one of our favorite unknown songs of recovery.
7. I’m Not Afraid, Eminem
We couldn’t complete our list without listing at least 1 seriously positive song about life in recovery, since after all achieving sobriety is one of the most positively life altering accomplishments one can attain. Also, we couldn’t end without announcing one of our favorite artists in recovery, Eminem. There are quite literally dozens of songs we could have chosen from any of his 8 albums, including his 2010 album titled “Recovery”. But we chose this song because of its positive message about the strength and support of the recovery community as well as a message of relief from the obsession of addiction that is achieved through a program of recovery.
Music is an extremely therapeutic tool for early recovery. In fact, some well-known artists have joined forces to build the movement “Rockers In Recovery”, a group of sober musicians who work together to spread the word of recovery through their music, hosting concerts throughout the country. To learn more about the organization or to catch one of their upcoming concerts, visit them at http://www.rockersinrecovery.org/.
For more information about The Hope Center for Recovery, and to learn about the unique therapy we offer including music therapy, call one of our team members 1.866.233.1869.