While caught in the trap of drugs, I envisioned the recovery process as months and months of pain and agony. I hated my addiction and the impact it had on my everyday life. I wanted to quit using, but something dark swarmed within me. This darkness was fear. I was terrified of the pain that would come from recovery. Everywhere I looked, there was only failure. How could I possibly overcome my addiction when the odds were against me? How was I going to endure months of horrible pain and still not be guaranteed success? People shared with me the hard road of recovery, but no one bothered to tell me about the parts where the ride was smooth. However, the combination of music therapy and addiction treatment offered some hope.
Overcoming an addiction is hard; I’m not going to lie to you. Every day is a challenge, but there are things you can do to make it easier and even enjoyable. One of these hidden gems is music therapy. It is used to help people in all areas of life. Women use music to help them relax, breathe calmly, and enjoy labor and even childbirth without medication. Men use it to alleviate stress at the end of the day. Others use it as a tool to fall asleep and overcome insomnia. With music therapy being used for so many different people, it makes sense that it would be used for addiction recovery, too.
Music Therapy and Addiction Recovery
Here are 9 ways music therapy can help in addiction recovery.
1. Eliminates Fear
Remember how I said fear prevented me from starting my recovery process? It wasn’t until I stopped being afraid that I was able to conquer my addiction. Music therapy builds confidence so you no longer fear the path to recovery – you embrace it and look forward to daily success.
2. Finds the Root of the Addiction
As you begin listening to music with a therapist, they can help you discuss the reasons you turned to drugs in the first place. Getting to the root of your addiction is key to long-term success. If you don’t deal with the “why,” you could easily slip back when that trigger arises.
3. Strengthens Spiritual Health
Music therapy goes beyond listening to your favorite songs; it puts the instruments in your hands. As you learn to create music, you will begin to understand yourself and your spirit.
4. Boosts Social Health
When a person participates in group music therapy, they learn to appreciate the people around them. Everyone has to give and receive. This is huge! Most addicts suffer with respecting themselves; they believe they aren’t worth it. As everyone in the group nurtures one another, respect for themselves begins to grow.
5. Gives a Sense of Control
Drugs steal your life away. After years of losing myself to addiction, I wanted to feel in control again. Music therapy gives patients back a sense of control; they get to play an active role in the recovery process. As they play instruments and create music, the healing begins.
6. Increases Self-Esteem
If you have low self-esteem, you are not going to succeed. Getting involved, staying busy, having hobbies, and surrounding yourself with positive environments are simple ways to increase self-esteem. These are all things I have talked about before, but the fact that music therapy does all of them makes it that much more powerful.
7. Releases Emotions
Anger, sadness, fear, and elation are emotions we all feel; it is what makes us human. When we allow these emotions to build up we can overact or even fall victim to drugs. Music therapy allows you to release these emotions as you pound on the drums with anger, cry with your fingers on the piano, and voice pain through singing.
8. Helps the Brain Feel Happy
Drugs mess around with the chemicals in the brain; you get a false and temporary sense of pleasure. The combination of music therapy and addiction treatment creates positive endorphins that make you feel happy in a healthy and safe way. The more you play, the happier you become.
9. Enhances Communication
Music makes an environment feel safe, and when we feel safe, it makes it easier to communicate. Music is a huge way that people share their emotions and speak without talking. I love the way music makes me feel, and I know music therapy can make the recovery process so much easier. You will no longer fear recovery – you’ll excitedly look forward to it.
The combination of music therapy and addiction treatment has a long history of positive outcomes. It allows people to unwind while giving them a chance to express themselves. Morningside Recovery offers a host of experiential therapy options to encourage sobriety. Reach out to us at 855-631-2135 to learn more about our addiction treatment services.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: Vladimir Morozov (Flickr)