Like most holidays, Father’s Day and addiction have a complex relationship. This day means something a little different (and I dare say a little more) to fathers, sons and daughters who have gotten another chance at life through recovery. It represents another reminder of the ability of recovery to help repair and strengthen your relationships and be present for the people who are most important in your life.
When it comes to father’s and addiction, the knife cuts both ways: we often think of the father at their wit’s end, trying to get their child into treatment; but more and more-particularly with the explosion of opioid addiction among baby boomers-it’s the other way around.
As a father in recovery, I can’t help but look at addiction from both sides: the father who would do anything to keep his children from this disease and the person in recovery whose resolve to stay clean is strengthened all the more by his children. I carry this sense of duality with me whenever I meet a family who is struggling with alcohol or drug issues. My vision for Recovery Unplugged was decades in the making, but it was ultimately my children who gave me the motivation to push it forward, because I really didn’t know what true love was until I had my kids.
Using Music to Help Families Break the Cycle of Addiction
Part of the Recovery Unplugged mission has been to help break the cycle of addiction for years to come, so it stops being passed down from father to child; this is something I’ve practiced in my own life with my kids, and music has always been a big part of that. In addition to being a catalyst for recovery, music is also one of the best ways to create meaningful memories and moments that strengthen relationships and increase happiness. For my own part, some of the best memories I have are of my kids and I blasting Michael Jackson, AC/DC or other artists and just dancing around, lip syncing and going crazy.
As they’ve gotten older and they’ve gotten into their own artists, the presence of music in our relationship has only gotten stronger, and it’s helped to create lasting memories that let them know they’re loved, valued and respected. This is something every kid needs for a stable and balanced childhood.
Flipping the Script: Using Music to Get Your Loved One Back from Addiction
In the context of addiction treatment, this emphasis on music-based memory can be flipped around to help families reach that loving, vibrant and strong person that’s been affected by drugs or alcohol. People always say you have to want to go to treatment “for you”, but family is one of the greatest motivators to enter recovery. They’re usually the catalyst for a person to enter treatment—very few people wake up one day and say: “I want to get clean” on their own. But there are also a lot of issues, like enabling, friction and resentment that go along with that.
Instead of going the traditional route to try and move past these issues, like writing an essay or asking a lot of questions, we can do it with a 3:30 song. I’ll find out from clients’ parents or loved ones if there’s a song that they share an emotional connection with, and in the first session, I’ll play that song and that will start the process of them opening up to treatment. From there, their personalized playlist will serve as a soundtrack to their long-term recovery, even after they leave their program.
Something to Remember this Father’s Day
Whether you’re a father watching your child battle addiction or vice versa, you have more power than you may realize to rally and get them help. Anyone who has ever had to do this knows, that even though people sometimes come to treatment reluctantly, their parents or children are usually the first people they thank when they get clean. It can be difficult, especially for sons and daughters, to take the first step toward guiding their loved one toward treatment. Recovery Unplugged is ready to work with you every step of the way so you can start enjoying Father’s Day again. Our intervention specialists and admissions staff will work with you and answer all your questions to make the process as easy possible. Happy Father’s Day from Recovery Unplugged.