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Finding Sobriety Through Music

We know there are lots of important news stories happening across the country right now and we’ve certainly done our best to cover them from a recovery perspective. But, we also believe in taking a step back when possible and separating yourself with topics of inspiration. On that note, we wanted to share highlights from an upbeat Guardian article that touches on the power of music.


The focus of the Guardian piece is sober songs and how some of the world’s top musicians were able to improve their output once they chose to get clean. Touching everyone from country singer Jason Isbell to rocker Johnny Marr, it offers a nice profile of recovering artists who have found brilliance without drugs or alcohol.


Giving the article a personal touch, writer Lior Phillips admits that he too battled addiction early in his life. A lifelong music fan, Phillips opened the piece with the stereotype of “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.” For many it is wrongly assumed that substances can help fuel musical creativity, but Phillips is quick to call it out as a major falsehood.


When talking to Isbell, Phillips opened the conversation to myths about inspiration and using. It was something that Isbell himself once believed before making the decision to enter recovery in 2015.


“People tend to romanticize the addiction and say, ‘Well, Hemingway,’” Isbell explained. “But that’s just the addicted part of your brain. When I started writing a song after getting sober, I realized I wasn’t really afraid of losing my creativity. I was just trying to have another drink.”


Marr, who played in bands like The Smiths and Modest Mouse, shared a similar sentiment.


“There was no downside to getting clean,” Marr said. “I started writing a hell of a lot of songs for Modest Mouse. Quitting boozing meant I had more time on my hands. I felt better and had more energy. I always regard that time as being the best time of my life.”


So while most of us don’t have fame or record contracts like Marr and Isbell, there is a lesson to be learned. Being quarantined (and perhaps bored) may be a good opportunity to pick up an instrument or find some creative passion. We highly recommend giving it a try, even if you’re not currently dealing with temptations.