6 Surprising + Uplifting Songs About Overcoming Addiction
If you’ve ever listened to music and had chills go 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!
“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 appropriately 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 the moment when the narrator “sees the light” and “knows he’ll be alright.” Listen to this song if you want good guitar and drums but also 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 of “X-Factor.” 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 lyrics ever written about addiction recovery. He sings about staying dry and his ability to see clearly as a result. 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 choose to 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 ever need encouragement that other people have been here, too.
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.
- 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
- 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/
We take our music-focused treatment for addiction very seriously, so we are going to hold our content to the same precision standards. Recovery Unplugged’s editorial process involves our editing safeguard and our ideals. Read our Editorial Process.
- Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centers
- Fort Lauderdale Drug Rehab
- West Palm Beach Drug Rehab
- Alcohol & Drug Rehab in Nashville, TN
- Virginia Drug & Alcohol Rehab
- Rehabs in Florida
- Tennessee Drug Rehab
- Rehabs in Washington, DC
- Am I an Addict?
- Helping You Detox Off Drugs and Alcohol
- Our Residential Treatment Program
- Our Inpatient Drug Treatment Program
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program
- Partial Hospitalization Program
- Medication Assisted Treatment Program (MAT)
- Our Music-Assisted Treatment
- Faith Based Recovery Programs
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy
- Resource for Knowing What Drugs Smell Like
- 5 Children's Books That Discuss Drugs and Alcohol
- How Do Drugs and Alcohol Affect Your Sex Life?
- HBO Series Euphoria Follows Woman Suffering from Drug Addiction
- Suboxone - Is it Obsolete?
- Rebuilding Relationships After Addiction
- A Guide to What Drugs Look Like and How to Identify Them by Appearance
- Do You Have A Sports Addiction?
- The Lasting Scars of Self-Harm
- The Best Composers to Listen to While Healing
- This One Time, I went to Rehab in Mexico
- Alcohol and Job Loss: Getting Help before Getting Fired
- How Long Does Valium Withdrawal Last?