Music and Recovery

I’ve just watched this stunning documentary…

It is on again on 4seven as well late tomorrow (Aug 29th) as well.  It is about a group of musicians brought together to play with one of Britain’s top orchestras.  One thing, they are all recovering alcoholics and addicts, can music help them in their recovery?  Can they face the fears that often were triggers in their drinking.  Just a great programme – I was in tears at the end.

I recently commented on a post about being a musician in recovery and wrote this comment….   It is pertinent here

For years I was a musician who drank – or was that a drunk who was a musician? Hmm…

I remember in my year before stopping drinking totally I was in a band. I was trying to control my drinking, I was in a period of enforced abstinence. We had a gig that I’d arranged that was in fact in front of many of my work colleagues and my big boss and an important guest. I went to the pub on my own (as ever) for three or four before turning up – I couldn’t do it. Soon after the band disbanded … then reformed without yours truly in it… not the first time that had happened btw.

I didn’t play live or jam with anyone through the early years of sobriety – I was too focused on that. Then I thought about it – mistake! I associated playing with drinking – could I play live sober? I seriously doubted it. It became a big big thing in my head. Then a sober friend announced he was having a party (to celebrate his 20 years sober actually) he is a musician (well a bass player.. haha). He asked me to join in. I was again riven with doubt and worry. I turned up and played, mostly sight reading the songs over the piano players shoulder – no pressure there then! They asked me to join permanently – they did a few gigs a year. At the same time another musician friend indicated to me a solo acoustic opportunity with Rock Til You Drop. I played that… just me an acoustic and my material (some covers)… I was asked back and invited onto a radio show. I’m still playing occasionally live and have played in bars and pubs and it is ok I’m there to play not to drink and I’m fine with it all now… the nerves are still there but I walk through them sober now. I’m a much better musician sober than I ever was a drunk as well of that there is no doubt at all.

I also play in a music collective called the Rochester Music Cafe – I’ve talked about this on my other blog.  Being put in that fearful position of working with others in music, feeling I need to be the best, be perfect, step up and go beyond and all that and to do it with limited rehearsal time etc. it is for me growth to walk through that fear and survive… and I’m only playing to a handful of people in a church hall not with a famous orchestra and on national tv so I take my hat off and doff it as low as I can to the Addicts’ Orchestra – you have my utter respect and admiration all of you.


You can see the whole performance of the Rhapsody for the Tamed the piece the addicts worked on together on the following link… Utterly beautiful

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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3 Responses to Music and Recovery

  1. There are comedians who are scared to death that they won’t be as funny sober, so they continue to drink. It’s an old story and a few lives have been lost because of it.

  2. sherryd32148 says:

    I can’t wait to get home so I can listen to this with the hubs and my boys (who are all muscians). Me? I play the radio.


  3. CH says:

    So cool. I have been a self employed musician for 25 years and recently quit drnking. 7 months. The music is better no question. Even if I feel awkward, which is less and less, it sounds better. Music does not i prove your ability, iy allows you to relax with occasional unreliable positive resukts. Keep rocking.

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