When most people think about music, particularly rock music, they probably do not associate it with sobriety. Traditional venues for rock shows and live music include bars and halls that serve alcohol. It can be very difficult for people in recovery who enjoy live music and want to have sober fun. Recognizing the power of music to heal and offer a way to have fun while sober, the band Rock to Recovery formed to share their music with people in addiction recovery.
Ex-Korn Guitarist Forms Music Group
Based out of California, Rock Recovery is comprised of professional musicians who share a common interest in playing music and engaging with people in recovery from addiction. The founder of Rock to Recovery is none other than Wesley Geer, the founding member of the band PE and former guitarist for the highly popular band Korn. Geer realized that music could be a powerful way to engage with the recovery community and to help them to process emotions, reduce cravings and develop a sense of self and belonging.
Rock to Recovery Visits Treatment Centers
Rock to Recovery, unlike other bands, doesn’t just play music from a stage to an audience. Instead, the band actually interacts with those in drug addiction recovery. Rock to Recovery visits drug addiction treatment centers on a weekly basis and teaches residents to play instruments, sing together and write and record songs. Making music, in this way, is a fun and sober group activity that offers individuals the opportunity to express themselves and process emotions through a creative process.
Sober Fun through Shared Love of Music
Finding fun sober things to do is an important part of the recovery process. Often, people who struggle with a substance use disorder made alcohol or drugs the focus of their lives, leaving little room to engage in sober fun activities. Once the substance of choice is removed from the equation, people in recovery can easily find themselves getting bored or feeling lost.
Music can be an effective way to not only express one’s self but to have fun in a shared social setting. Because making music can be a communal activity, it also opens the door to support during recovery. It’s important to have fun and enjoy the new lease on life that sobriety provides. Many people in recovery have to establish new friends and support groups and forming bonds with others based on a shared love of music can be a lasting foundation for sustained sobriety.
Benefits of Music in Addiction Recovery
The ideas behind Rock to Recovery — that music can be a healing, transformative tool for people in recovery — are not new. Researchers have known about the benefits of music therapy for a long time. Music therapy is an established field that refers to the clinical and evidence-based, therapeutic use of music. There are formal music therapy programs that train and certify professionals to use music to address emotional, cognitive and social needs.
Music therapy can be very effective in treating addiction. Music therapy can provide avenues for communication that can be highly valuable, especially for people who struggle to express their feelings and thoughts. There is also a physical aspect of music therapy as participants use their bodies to make music and dance. Taking part in a creative activity like making music, listening or dancing can also help facilitate social bonding, raise self-esteem, which can motivate individuals to take an active role in their recovery.
Aletraris, L.; et al. “The Use of Art and Music Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs.” Journal of Addictions Nursing, October 01, 2014. Accessed October 17, 2019.
Harrison, Klisala. “The social potential of music for addiction recovery.” Music & Science, May 31, 2019. Accessed October 17, 2019.
StreetInsider.com “Rehab Shows How Rock Music Can Help In Addiction Recovery.” August 27, 2019. Accessed October 17, 2019.
American Music Therapy Association. “What is Music Therapy?” Accessed October 17, 2019.