Music can have an immense impact on your life. It creates a powerful effect on your emotions, especially in times of vulnerability, and is an outlet to express yourself.
During recovery, you will experience a wide range of emotions.
The following ten songs provide motivation, inspiration and joy—along with the ability to overcome sadness and fear. If you are struggling to organize your thoughts and feelings, you may benefit from listening to one of the following songs.
1. “My Silver Lining,” First Aid Kit
A song does not necessarily need to mention addiction in order for a recovering addict to relate. Beautifully upbeat and filled with catchy harmonies, “My Silver Lining” speaks of pushing forward, something that’s very much in line with the recovery process.
The line “There's hope, there's a silver lining. Show me my silver lining” is an especially great way to look at your journey. There is a silver lining and you can reach it. There is a brighter side to life; a life without addiction.
2. “Not Afraid,” Eminem
This is another favorite amongst recovering addicts, as Eminem has struggled with addiction for many years. He almost lost his life in 2007 from a methadone overdose but he bounced back and is stronger than ever. “Not Afraid” is dedicated to anyone who has gone through addiction or has lost someone to the disease.
3. “It's Been a While,” Staind
The lead singer of Staind suffered with addiction, which is apparent in this song. He reflects on his past with powerful lines such as: “And it's been awhile, since I can say that I wasn't addicted. And it's been awhile, since I can say I love myself as well.” The song was a major hit on the charts and those who feel lost within their recovery process can easily connect with his lyrics and tone.
4. “Amazing,” Aerosmith
Steven Tyler is a great example of someone who has completely turned his life around after addiction. This song taps into how desperate you feel when you're addicted and how liberating it is when you finally get clean. Tyler has said that he wrote this song for those who are still struggling, as he knows how it feels to lose everything to addiction.
5. “Animal I Have Become,” Three Days Grace
This song reflects on lead singer Adam Gontier's OxyContin addiction. It was reported that his addiction turned him into someone who was abusive and angry. Since he wrote this song in rehab, it's a true reflection of his experience.
Many can relate to this song as drugs and alcohol often turns people into someone they no longer like. Although they are hurting those around them, they feel powerless over their addiction. When you seek out an effective recovery program, you're able to reflect. This is exactly what happened to Gontier and the same can go for you. Become the person you want to be. There's a beautiful person inside of you, hiding behind your addiction.
6. “Rehab,” Amy Winehouse
This popular song from the late Amy Winehouse states, “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said, ‘no, no, no.’” At first, this may not seem like the most inspiring recovery song, but it puts addiction into perspective for many. Though Winehouse's management team urged her to go to rehab, the singer refused and unfortunately that led to fatal consequences.
Winehouse finally lost her battle to addiction five years after the song was released which plainly reveals the real and horrific side of addiction. Although recovery is challenging, it is a much better alternative to death. As an addict, every day may be your last and a recovery program can be exactly what you need to protect your future.
7. “Mr. Self-Destruct,” Nine Inch Nails
This song was written by Trent Reznor as he expresses the power of addiction. It touches upon feelings of guilt and fear, as they are commonly expressed within addiction and recovery. The lyrics accurately describes how addiction takes over, with lines like “I am denial, guilt and fear and I control you” and “I am the lie that you believe and I control you.”
Sometimes what you need to hear might be someone else's take on addiction. It's one thing to hear your mom speak of your addictive behavior, but it is another to hear it powerfully sung by a musician. This song allows addicts to know that they're not alone and that their addiction does not need to control them. They can make a change.
8. “I'll Find My Way Home,” Jon & Vangelis
This song has been mentioned amongst quite a few recovering addicts as they've discussed the way it puts things into perspective. It is a song that they can now listen to, celebrating the positive feelings that recovery has brought them.
You too can be strong and utilize the support you have. You can succeed, so let music move you towards a more positive direction.
9. “Life is Beautiful,” Nikki Sixx
Nikki Sixx had struggled with addiction for many years. He has been very open about his addiction, even writing a book about his journey. He speaks of his experiences with relapse and withdrawal symptoms, allowing many to connect with his stories.
In this song, he reflects on his experience with addiction and the fact that 'life is beautiful.' As many addicts understand, this disease takes people’s lives each and every day.
10. “Sober,” Kelly Clarkson
Although Kelly Clarkson is not an addict herself, this song still resonates amongst recovering addicts. Everyone is addicted to something, so whether or not it is substances or alcohol, "Sober" is broad enough to relate to any form of addiction.
Toni Young is a behavioral health consultant for ActionRehab.org. She is also a current faculty member of the Association of Addiction Professionals, NAADAC. Toni is a strong proponent of dual diagnosis treatment, integrated healthcare, recovery oriented systems of care and trauma-informed co-morbid services.