Tue. Jul 16th, 2019



Music. To some people it is simply something used as white noise, a way to drown out the silence that we sometimes find ourselves in. To others, such as myself, it is life.

Ever since I was a kid, music has been a staple in my life. My dad got a job as a maintenance supervisor when I was in the fifth grade. My time in a vehicle increased at this point, and the radio was a staple. We may not have had mirrors on the car or windshield wipers that worked but the radio was always working.

Rockand roll was the melody and I was quizzed daily on the artists that would come through on the radio.
When I was 15, I was given my first job. I was the DJ at the local skating rink and in absolute heaven. To this day I don’t think of it as work because I got to pick what was played while hanging out with my friends every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all while getting paid. Yes, I was the ‘ish’ in my neighborhood.

Regardless of the time period in my life, music has always been something I have turned to. If I was having a bad day, I would play a mixed cd (or find a playlist on my phone in current years). If I was having issues waking up, I would blare music to get my motor running. If I wanted to talk a walk down memory lane, I would hunt through songs til I found the perfect memory trigger. No matter what, music is life to me. In fact, if I had to choose between television or music for the rest of my life I would pick music.

That is a no brainer.

Now, since I have been on the recovery path, both staying on the path and detouring, music is still key. Growing up, I remember hearing songs like Cocaine by Eric Clapton and singing to them in the car. Actually, when my dad heard me singing that song he changed the station right there and I don’t think he ever listened to it after that.

We live in a society where music both celebrates recovery and glamorizes drug usage. Songs that talk about being screwed up play on the radio and then are followed by artists singing about their conquering addiction. Kurt Cobain has become a martyr for the rock community, and he was a severe drug addict. I could name so many more artists but you get my point.

Back to the point of the article.

In my recovery, I have turned to music. When I relapsed I have turned to music. One band that has gotten me through some very hard times in my life is Shinedown. I have been a fan of Shinedown for many years now, but prior to getting clean I never really paid attention to what the lyrics meant. Sure, I knew all the songs but I never really delved to deep into the meaning. Once I kicked heroin, certain things in their music started to stand out to me. It was like my sober mind was throwing a road flare in their direction saying, ‘hey lady, pay attention!’

And I did.

So many of Shinedown’s songs actually serenade us to the tune of addiction. Save Me, Follow You Down, Cut the Cord, Black Cadillac, etc., all can be interpreted as addiction songs. This doesn’t surprise me now that I have done some research on the band. The lead singer is in recovery himself.

It doesn’t stop with Shinedown. Theory of a Deadman’s song Rx, is another song about addiction. Great song by the way. I could keep you here all year naming off all of the songs that have spoken to me since I have been in recovery. I won’t. I will let you do that yourself.

So let me ask you this. Why do you think music is so influential and inspiring through addiction and recovery?

For me, it is simple. We idolize these people. The artists that share their story and knowledge through verse and melody are getting paid big bucks for being exactly what we are, human. To me, it helps me understand that for one, I am not alone. I see, through music, that no matter if you make more money than you can spend in a lifetime, or if you are homeless and wandering around your childhood neighborhood, we are all vulnerable to this disease.

I also can relate on so many levels to the words that are being sung. Many times, in my active addiction as well as my sobriety, I couldn’t convey what was going on in my mind. My brain was so jumbled that I couldn’t put a train of thought together if my life depended on it. When I would turn on music, those thoughts would somehow come together and I could actually begin to process what I was feeling.

Music therapy at it’s finest.

Another reason I find music relatable are those times when we feel ashamed. Ashamed of our feelings and ashamed of our actions. We don’t know how to reach out and in turn we end up keeping our feelings locked away. This, as anyone knows, is a very unhealthy coping skill.

Through music I am able to project my feelings and thoughts without actually being more vulnerable than I already am. Listening to bands like Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Theory of a Deadman, and Rise Against actually inspires me. If I am having a bad day and feel that nobody understands what I am going through, I blare these bands on my Google Music playlist and begin to calm down. My thought process levels out and I am more apt to actually discuss what I am going through.

I have never really been shy about sharing my story and the things I am going through in life. If I don’t process before venting though, my thoughts come across as jumbled and disorganized. I end up losing my train of thought and a simple rant session turns into a clusterf*** of something that is not followable.

Through music I find clarity.

Another way music helps me is when I am in a certain mood and I can’t tell you why. You know what I mean here. Some days you just find yourself irked or upset and you can’t really put your finger on why that is. I have been known to sit and rack my brain as to why I’m in a funk but it takes music to actually bring me out of it.

Sometimes I honestly just need a good cry. So, I find music that triggers memories and thoughts that help to open the floodgates. Yes fam, it is okay to cry. We need to cry sometimes. It is a human emotion and to deny that we deny ourselves an emotional outlet. IT DOES NOT MAKE YOU LESS OF A PERSON. I promise you it doesn’t and anyone who makes you feel like it does has no business in your life.

Still, other times I need to be mad. I’m talking full on, raged out, using every swear word known to man and some not even angry. Guess what, they have music for that. I have a playlist specifically for that and I promise you that after about 30 minutes of the musical stylings of Mudvayne, Slipknot, Godsmack, etc., I am a reformed woman who enjoys rainbows, sunny days, and long walks in the park. No, you won’t find that profile on Match.com

Again, music is a topic I can go on for days about, but why should I bore you anymore with how I cope? Find music for yourself. Where I may take a meaning from one song, you may identify with it on an entirely different level. That is the beauty of music, my friends. It is not made to conform to a box.

Music is a form of expression. Hell, the things I take from a song may or may not even be what the artist was trying to convey. Regardless, it has still helped me as well as it has the artist and  countless others, I’m sure.

So, the next time you find yourself in a funk and you feel lost, try it. Turn on a song that you like or that you know gets you hyped. Lock yourself in the bathroom and slip your ear buds in if you think that others will judge you. Do whatever it is that you have to do in order to find this form of therapy.

Music is truly one of the best tools that I have found to me cope.  If it doesn’t work for you, what’s the harm – at least you tried, right?

Keep the Beat Going Fam


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