Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Music of My Recovery


"Music was my refuge.  I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." ~ Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name


I find music to be an excellent tool for recovery.  Music has the potential to bring forth just about any emotion.  Some songs trigger me and make me want to turn to my addiction.  But when chosen consciously, I have the ability to turn to music that instead inspires me to continue on in my recovery work.  I have multiple playlists on my iPhone that I use at different times.  As I've mentioned before, my recovery has been largely about learning to tolerate uncomfortable feelings.  I think of recovery as strengthening weak muscles of emotions.  If I can tolerate feeling sad for the duration of a song, that delays me - at least for the duration of that song - from turning to a substance or addictive behavior to numb out from that feeling.  I have created playlists for each of the following:

  • Feelin' Blue (sad songs)
  • Forgiveness (songs that inspire me to let go and forgive)
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • Listen up! (songs I listen to when I think I need a firm talking to)
  • Meditation (guided, musical meditations)
  • Meetings (this playlist is not music, but simply MP3 recordings of meetings I can listen to anytime, anywhere)
  • Pissed (my mix I listen to when I am feeling angry)
  • Whole Not Hole (that's the name of my primary recovery mix)

Here is a sampling of songs from my Whole Not Hole playlist, which is the one I turn to the most often when I'm noticing I'm slipping away from my recovery.


  • Angry Anymore by Ani DiFranco (good song for letting go of anger towards my parents) youtube Amazon
  • Be Kind & Remind by Rogue Wave (reminds me to be kind and compassionate towards others and towards myself) youtube
  • Beautiful by Christina Aguillera (reminds me that other people's opinions of me are none of my business) youtube Amazon
  • Better Now by Collective Soul (Take the time to reflect back and see the progress I've made) youtube Amazon
  • Better Things by The Kinks ("Hoping something better comes tomorrow... I know that better things are on the way...") youtube with lyrics  Amazon
  • Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson (We are all fragile. Men have feelings, too.) youtube Amazon
  • Bright Glittering Gifts by Laura Veirs (There are unbelievable gifts found when facing my darkness) youtube 
  • Change by Blind Melon (When life is hard, you have to change" or join a 12-step program!) youtube Amazon
  • Closer To Fine by Indigo Girls (helps me move away from black-white thinking) youtube Amazon
  • Conversations with my 13-year Old Self by Pink (Great inner child song) youtube Amazon
  • Count Your Blessings by Rosemary Clooney (reminds me to practice gratitude) youtube Amazon
  • Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (reminds me I'm normal, even if I am a little bit crazy at times) youtube Amazon
  • Divine Intervention by Taking Back Sunday ("An act of God and nothing less will be accepted.") youtube Amazon
  • Drive by Incubus (Reminds me not to let "my fear take the wheel and drive.") youtube Amazon
  • Your Ex-Lover Is Dead by the Stars ("Live through this and you won't look back" lyrics remind me that this, too, will pass) youtube Amazon
  • Feel So Different by Sinead O'Connor (how can I not love a song that starts with the Serenity Prayer?) youtube Amazon
  • Feeling Good by Nina Simone (reminds me to appreciate solitute instead of feeling isolated and lonely) youtube Amazon
  • Float On by Modest Mouse (things will work out however they will) youtube Amazon
  • For No One by Zap Mama (no one is worth losing my sobriety over) youtube Amazon
  • Forever and Ever Amen by 8mm (We all have our ghosts and we all have that emptiness inside that only our HP can fill.) youtube with lyrics Amazon
  • Freak Me Out by Weezer (the line, "I know you don't mean no harm; you're just doing your thing" helps me ALL of the time.  I sing this to myself even in small moments of frustration like when I miss a bus) youtube Amazon
  • Get It Together by India Arie (to heal my body I need to reveal the pain from my youth) youtube Amazon
  • Get Off the Internet by Le Tigre (I use the internet to check out a lot, so I like this reminder to unplug now and then and live my life) youtube Amazon
  • Get Right with God by Lucinda Williams (a happy upbeat song about turning my life around) youtube Amazon
  • If I Need to Move On by Ladybug Mecca ("There are times in your lif when you have to learn to let go. Embrace the experience so you can continue to grow.  If your boat rocks, before it docks, you better still stay in the flow.") youtube Amazon
  • In the Sun by Joseph Arthur (The AA Big Book suggests praying for people whom we are mad at.  This song helps me do that.) youtube Amazon
  • La La Lie by Jack's Mannequin (I've got [program] friends who will help me pull through.") youtube Amazon
  • Laugh About It by Racoon (reminds me to find the humor in unpleasant situations) youtube
  • Nervous Breakthrough by Luscious Jackson (reminds me that there are gifts that come from falling apart) youtube Amazon
  • Out of Time by Blur (reminds me to slow down and "feel he sunshine on my face") youtube Amazon
  • Part of the Process by Morcheeba (reminds me progress, not perfection) youtube Amazon
  • Promise by Mirah ("Promise to be kind" reminds me to be compassionate.) youtube
  • Searching by Blackalicious ("The struggle is the blessing.") youtube
  • Sit Down by James (reminds me to go to a meeting and sit down next to people like me) youtube Amazon
  • Strength, Courage and Wisdom by India Arie (encourages me to look inside for the courage to live the HOW of the program - Honest, Open & Willing) youtube Amazon
  • Things Are What You Make of Them by Bishop Allen ("I was spending my days with my demons. They had taken up inside my heart. They were trying to keep me entertained; they were tearing me apart."  Reminds me to hug my demon or it'll bite me in the butt as Pia Melody says.) youtube Amazon
  • Today Has Been Okay by Emiliana Torrini YouTube Amazon
  • Today Will Be Better, I Swear!  by Stars youtube Amazon
  • What We Hate, We Make by The Rocket Summer ("I know that's not enough - to say 'I'm sorry.""  This song helps me to find some forgiveness for myself.) youtube Amazon
  • Whether You Fall by Tracy Bonham (Reminds me to do the next right thing and accept when I work my program imperfectly). you tube Amazon
  • Wise Up by Aimee Mann (Keep coming back!) youtube Amazon


What songs inspire you to work your program and stay on your journey of recovery?

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