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6 Surprising + Uplifting Songs About Overcoming Addiction

Why Music Therapy?

If you’ve ever listened to music and had chills traveling down your spine, you’re just like us. The chills are a sign that your brain is releasing dopamine both in RESPONSE to music you love and in ANTICIPATION of music you love. Wow.

At Recovery Unplugged, we know music holds a special place in overcoming addiction. We base our therapy around it. When battling difficult substance use struggles, alcohol recovery songs and drug addiction songs are the wind in your sails and the skip in your step.

Because music is medicine, literally. There are neurons in your brain that only respond to music by singing. Your brain has selective neurons for speech and neurons for music, but it also has selective neurons for music with singing.

When we’re making music, it’s like we are soaring. We can imagine a better future for ourselves and our families. When we’re listening to music, we feel comforted. Anything is possible, even difficult change.

We put together this fun list of songs about overcoming addiction. These powerful songs about getting clean should inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Rock on, fellow travelers; these songs are a toast to you!

Overcoming Addiction Songs

“Not Afraid” – Eminem

Famous for being the first person in the history of the English language to successfully rhyme a word with “orange,” Eminem is a wildly successful Detroit rapper who rose to prominence in the early 2000s as the stage persona “Slim Shady.”

His drug usage started after recording his first album, “Infinite,” which was before he achieved his commercial success. By the release of his fifth studio album “Encore,” he was abusing prescription medications like Valium and Vicodin. He took 75 to 80 Valium a night, along with Vicodin and alcohol.

The song “Not Afraid” sounds angry and defiant, like much of his other music. But, it’s the stand-out track on his seventh studio album, “Recovery.” It feels like a football coach’s pep talk before the district playoffs kickoff.

It’s a toast to sober living. And it’s not just about his own struggle with addiction but also the power of relationships to strengthen recovery. In the refrain, he encourages the listener to “come take my hand.” Listen to this song if you need defiant encouragement.

“Amazing” – Aerosmith

This one has a heartwarming connection to Recovery Unplugged. Richie Supa, the Director of Creative Recovery, co-wrote the song with Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith in 1993. Both Supa and Tyler were addicted to drugs and have undergone rehab for substance abuse during their years as musicians. Lyrics from “Amazing” include harrowing images of substance abuse, including “hitting the floor” and “losing grip.”

But, the overall mood of the song is inspirational. Part of the refrain includes when the narrator “sees the light” and “knows he’ll be alright.” Listen to this song if you want good guitar and drums and a feeling of empowerment.

“Young Homie” – Chris Rene

Chris Rene found worldwide acclaim after auditioning with an original composition for the first season of the television show “X-Factor” in September 2011. He had only been clean for 10 weeks when filming the episode. He received a standing ovation from the crowd and judges. He’s remained clean ever since.

The song’s lyrics are some of the most moving and inspiring about addiction recovery. He sings about staying dry and his ability to see clearly. He can feel the positive reinforcements from his support system when he looks around.

This is a great song to listen to when you’re feeling vulnerable and need some encouragement.

“Breaking the Habit” – Linkin Park

Linkin Park exploded on the music scene in the early 2000s with their underground style of rap/rock fusion. Their lead singer, Chester Bennington, struggled with substance abuse, alcoholism, and depression during their touring years. At one point, his bandmates even had to stage an intervention to confront his alcohol abuse. Sadly, he committed suicide in 2017 by hanging.

The song admits the shame and guilt that come along with the narrator’s drug use. His drug use reaches a crescendo where he decides to break the habit immediately. His body hurts, and he knows it’s his fault, but he will break the habit.

Listen to this song if you need perseverance to help you break your habits.

“Needle and Damage Done” – Neil Young

If there was one song that started the anti-drug crusade, it could probably be traced back to Neil Young in 1972. He wrote “Needle and Damage Done” to document the effects of heroin addiction on musicians he knew. Tragically, his bandmate Danny Whitten would die the same year from a heroin overdose. Drug use was rampant during the 1970s but also little understood.

The song is a stripped-down lament of the lifestyle of drug abuse. He acknowledges the lure of drugs but also compares every person with an addiction to the setting sun.

Listen to this if you need a reason not to restart an addiction.

“I Took a Pill in Ibiza” – Mike Posner

This acoustic rendition came as a surprise to most people. Mike Posner became famous in 2008 with the single “Cooler than Me.” He faded into obscurity during the next few years, but all that changed with the surprise release “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”. The song is a raw expression of his life behind the scenes as a musician.

He removes the glitz and glamor, brushing it aside by saying he spent his money on girls, shoes, and a sports car. His drug use took center stage, admitting he took “pills” to prove to his friends he was “cool.” Since then, he has walked 2851 miles over six months across America from coast to coast.

Listen to this song if you need encouragement that others have been here, too.

Build A Life In Tune With Who You Truly Are

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, don’t lose hope. There is help available to bring you from the brink and into a lifetime of healing and sobriety. Contact Recovery Unplugged today to learn how we can help.

 

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Sources

  1. Salimpoor, V. N., Benovoy, M., Longo, G., Cooperstock, J. R., & Zatorre, R. J. (n.d.). The rewarding aspects of music listening are related to degree of emotional arousal. PLOS ONE. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0007487
  2. Norman-Haignere SV;Feather J;Boebinger D;Brunner P;Ritaccio A;McDermott JH;Schalk G;Kanwisher N; (n.d.). A neural population selective for song in human auditory cortex. CB. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35196507/