The sounds of…recovery

Ok, I’ve always been a person in love with music. This was re-enforced when I spent so many years in my teens & early 20’s as a “band wife”. (I’ll admit it: I had moments when I thought I was THE sh*t.) It was in the 80’s, so I know it dates me, but I don’t think I’d have wanted to miss out on the spandex & Aqua Net for ANYTHING. \m/ (cue “Quiet Riot” Bang Your Head) 😉


Maximum Scumbaggery

Anyway, a little more than a decade after that period is when I crawled into the Rooms of recovery. They told me I only had to change one thing (everything) , so that included music.

As a young child, I was fed the Beatles, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Jim Croce, Carol King, and the other biggies from that era as a steady diet. I will always hold a place in my heart for them, as they take me back to the time before my parent’s divorce. Back to when life was, at least, predictable.

Then toward the climax of my carousing days, I remember Bob Seger, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Prince (still love that man), and most of the late 80’s post hair-band groups.

When I got clean & sober, I became aware of what my potential triggers were, and the (bar) music was a HUGE trigger. I had previously spent a LOT of time in bars. My bff and I knew where to go for “ladies night” for at least 5 nights a week, and of course the bar was always the quickest place to cop some dope – whatever you prefer, so, yeah.  Heck, my bff & I MET at a Ladies Night. I remember when Barfly (movie with Mickey Roarke?) came out & we all loved it. It was pretty accurate. Now I think it would be pretty depressing to me.

So, once I began getting sober, I eventually cut out all of the tunes I’d gotten drunk and danced (that’s both sad and funny, but I won’t go into it now) to, and for a minute, I was kind of lost. The secret to getting a grip on early sobriety, for me, was to never remove something (dangerous)  without replacing it with something at least neutral, and preferably positive. I think I initially went back to the music of my pre-self-medicating days. If the radio was playing in the car – when was it NOT??- I kept my guard up for any “old drinking songs”. Pretty simple cure: change the station. Stay out of bars (sometimes people think they can go there & get healthy. I’m not aware of ANYONE who was successful in recovery using this tactic. If you do, please let me know!), and if you’re with people who don’t care about triggering you, maybe change your friends.

After a few years in the Rooms, I started working on a new relationship with the God of my understanding, and nowadays I play only “positive encouraging” (KLOVE) stuff. It really does encourage me, and it gives me healthy and productive things to think about, in contrast to the things the other music bombarded me with, like…well, basically, that old lifestyle.

Music has been a backdrop for my entire life. While the speed amd tempo has varied, the subject matter of what I feed my mind, as I live a clean & sober life, has adjusted accordingly.

Someone smarter than me once said “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” To a large degree, that works for music too. Play me what you’re feeding your mind and spirit, and I’ll tell you about your future with mind-boggling accuracy.  (It boggles my mind, anyway, and I’ve seen it play out in relapse after relapse.)

If you live long enough to get a few years in recovery, I daresay that you’ll be able to tell newcomers what their likely future will be.

So, to my best recollection, that’s my Early Recovery Music story, and I’m stickin to it.




5 responses to “The sounds of…recovery

  1. So much I recognised. I lost a lot of “friends” when I went into recovery (7yrs woohoo!). They thought I was attention seeking and weak because I stopped coming to gigs and hanging out in the pub. Now I realise that’s not real friendship. I’m not triggered into drinking by songs, but my depression can turn on a riff. Oh and I also thought I was the sh*t. Sigh. So embarrassing. I married the bass player. And the only criteria I appeared to apply was his lovely hair and butt! Needless to say, divorce followed bloody quick. Anyway. Take care. We’re the real sh*t now you know. 🙂 x

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    • 🙂 I was SO close to marrying the lead guitarist. Later I told him that I was grateful that we split, because of the disaster my life became. I was glad to have (inadvertently) spared him the worst of the insanity. Way to go on 7 years!!!
      You may be right. Maybe we now ARE the sh*t. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post. When I first got sober, one of my counselors said she had to take a break from her normal music because it made her think of drinking. So I tried it myself, and damn it if she wasn’t right. So I made a playlist on Spotify called “Sobriety is for Bad-Asses,” and it was filled with up-tempo, feel-good, and sometimes silly music…not my normal listening. But it made me feel better.

    After a while, I was able to add back in certain groups and songs, but there are tracks and groups I can’t see myself listening to again. I break the rule every now and then, like with Alice in Chains. I LOVE Alice in Chains, but good lord, I want to drink if I listen to, say, Jar of Flies or Dirt. I have to be careful with Chet Baker, too, whom I also love.

    Like you, my days and nights are drenched in music. I also write music, and I listened to some tracks the other day that I composed while I was an active alcoholic. I hear pain, confusion, violence, and darkness. I don’t write as much music as I used to, and when I do, my songs are much more melodic and even peaceful. When I try to go all distorted and weird, I can’t make it happen. Of course, I never intended to write “weird” music back then…it’s just what came out.

    Wow, that was a long response. Hope you’re well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate a long response. 🙂 I just listened to old Weird Al tunes for about an hour recently, when I was having a potentially miserable day. He never fails to crack me up.
      When I was a young girl filled with angst (now I know it was depression, among other things), I wrote a lot, too. It was filled with longing and sadness. Hm.
      Yep, we write from where we are, inside. Isn’t that why they call them Starving Artists? I was starving in so many ways, like you, from the sound of it. THANK GOD FOR RECOVERY!!
      Have a groovy day.

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