Where Recovery Education & Rock-N-Roll Come Together
Where Recovery Education & Rock-N-Roll Come Together
“Rockers In Recovery® Radio”
Like the conventional pairing of peas and carrots; sex, drugs, and rock n roll seem to collide more often in the same sentence, as well as in the lives of musicians that play the music. Just like celebrity addicts who are in acting, music artists are prone to those same temptations of the party scene. As many of these famous musicians that have succumbed to their substance addictions over the years (Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Kurt Cobain, Brad Nowell, Amy Winehouse), there are as many who escaped the ultimate consequence of death and now enjoy a life in active recovery.
Sobriety Unplugged – The Story, the Music, the Therapy, the Impact:
Sobriety Unplugged Created By RIR Member Paul Stephen Wilson to shed a light on addiction recovery based songwriters. Using this experience as a way to elicit and process emotions and have a whole lot of fun while doing it.
The desire to avoid experiencing and regulating intense emotions are major factors in substance abuse disorders (SUD) and relapse following treatment (Baker, Gleadhill, & Dingle, 2007). An important aspect of treatment is clients learning how to feel and tolerate their internal emotions without the use of substances. Music is an ideal way in which to evoke intense emotional states in people with SUD. This is a form of treatment that can help “individuals process strong emotional states in the absence of substance use”. (Baker, Gleadhill, & Dingle, 2007).
Substance use and music share an important commonality. They can alter consciousness (Aldridge & Fachner, 2010), provide direct and immediate instant gratification (Baker, Gleadhill, & Dingle, 2007) and produce feelings of “bliss and serenity” (Solanki, Zafar, & Rastogi, 2013).
The experience of music therapy can elicit both conscious and unconscious emotions (Inselmann, 2007) (Aldridge & Fachner, 2010) (Mössler, Assmus, Heldal, Fuchs, & Gold, 2012). Through the verbal processing of the musical experience, clients can now identify and put into words emotions they were previously unaware of or unable to express. Music can break through walls that restrict their capacity for recovery (Aldridge & Fachner, 2010) (Baker, Gleadhill, & Dingle, 2007) (Bonde & Wilgram, 2001) (McCaffrey, Edwards, & Fannon, 2011) (Sergio Castillo-Pérez, 2010) (Solanki, Zafar, & Rastogi, 2013) (de l’Etoile, 2002).
Music therapy has been proven to produce positive outcomes for clients ambivalent or resistant to treatment or have difficulty expressing feelings. Music has the ability to influence thinking and feeling which are prerequisites for behavioral change (de l’Etoile, 2002) (Mössler, Assmus, Heldal, Fuchs, & Gold, 2012). Research shows that the experience of listening to the music, lyrics, and processing what they experienced reduces feelings of shame, depression, anxiety, isolation and guilt. Clients can gain mutual identification, acquisition of a new coping skill, and enhanced optimism and hope from this experience. (Aldridge & Fachner, 2010) (Baker, Gleadhill, & Dingle, 2007) (Sergio Castillo-Pérez, 2010) (Silverman, 2011) (McCaffrey, Edwards, & Fannon, 2011).
Rockers In Recovery Unplugged & Sobriety Unplugged Case studies prove the effectiveness of utilizing music as part of the treatment experience. Music is more than just entertainment; it is a proven, beneficial intervention in treatment. Music and the therapy process can create behavioral changes as well as the ability to process and identify emotions: (Bonde & Wilgram, 2001) (Aldridge & Fachner, 2010) (Baker, Gleadhill, & Dingle, 2007) (de l’Etoile, 2002) (Solanki, Zafar, & Rastogi, 2013) (Mössler, Assmus, Heldal, Fuchs, & Gold, 2012) (McCaffrey, Edwards, & Fannon, 2011).
All research shows that simply listening to music does not have the same effect; it is the live experience and the process after that creates the intense impact. Clients that have difficulties with appropriate social interaction at the verbal and non-verbal level, lack of motivation for communication, poor relationships, lack of ability in sharing experiences and poor sense of self, will benefit most from this type of therapy. (Bonde & Wilgram, 2001). (Aldridge & Fachner, 2010). In other words, this therapeutic experience will improve the outcome of treatment for the substance abuse population.
Professionals in the substance abuse field are always looking for ways to improve the therapeutic experience for their clients. Key components of achieving and maintaining recovery are: motivation, optimism, hope, and coping skills (learning how to deal with and express emotions in a healthy way). Many times, clients have a difficult time opening up, expressing, and processing their emotions. Due to having limited time with clients (often 30 days in treatment), clinicians must look for effective ways in bringing about this process as quickly as they can so they can help the client begin the process of healing. RIR does this in a way that will engage the client, capture their attention, entertain them and have such a profound impact on their life; they can carry it with them always.
The Story: Sobriety Unplugged Musicians walk in capturing the undivided attention of everyone in the room. After all, this is not just a speaker coming in; this is RIR musicians, guitarists and song writers. Clients are looking forward to hearing their story and will listen intently as our musicians share their personal struggle with substance abuse and their journey to recovery. RIR musicians share their experiences in a way that will make them laugh, contemplate and often times cry.
The Music: Sobriety Unplugged musicians and sometimes a special guest will then perform; singing and playing songs about active addiction and recovery. The lyrics and music combined produce a multitude of emotional reactions, surprising the clients as the experience brings to light emotions they have had a difficult time expressing or perhaps were unaware of.
The Therapy: Clients have come for this very special treat looking forward to the break in routine. They have had RIR musical contributors come to perform just for them. Every emotion they have experienced has been natural; unintentional. This is entertainment, not therapy right? Actually, though they are unaware, this experience with the RIR musical contributor has created an amazing opportunity for emotional growth, gaining coping skills, knowledge, hope and the opportunity to walk away from this experience one step closer to their new lives. Jack Kelly CAP, who is familiar with RIR and the experience will now help the clients process the emotions they felt and discovered, the hope and motivation they found, and show them how they can use all of this as a coping skill both now and in the future as a tool in their recovery. Using this experience as a way to elicit and process emotions with a clinician in a group setting also allows the facility to bill as a group session.
Sobriety Unplugged – The Impact: The experience of RIR can be the beginning of therapy for clients who have a difficult time expressing themselves, bring forth emotions and experiences clients were previously unaware they had, give hope, add motivation and provide a different outlet for clients to express themselves. Clients can learn to channel their emotions and even escape from reality for a few moments without having to use a drink or drug to do so.
Sobriety Unplugged Musicians stories, lyrics about substance use, their struggles, and recovery allow clients to process through music what many can’t through other means; creating that opening and breaking down that wall. Specifically to SUD, music and the therapy that follows provide the opportunity for the client to access feelings that are both integral to their addiction and pose obstacles in recovery.
Remember “Sobriety Unplugged”, visits schools, sober events, conferences, sober houses,addiction detox centers, drug and alcohol treatment centers all over the United States. Sobriety Unplugged along with select members come to share their message of hope, and play an unplugged set of songs geared towards recovery.