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Throughout the decades, rock n’ roll has sometimes been associated with drinking and drugs. Wesley Geer, a well-known guitarist formerly of the rock band Korn, knows from personal experience how the two are often linked.

“I was a musician lost in my addiction, not knowing which way to turn,” he told Guitar World magazine. “But I listened to the people who said, ‘There’s a way out of this hole, and if you do certain things you could have this incredible life.’ I listened and I gave them a chance and I tried this life of recovery.”

In 2012, Geer founded Rock to Recovery, a music therapy program that helps clients in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction experience the healing powers of music. During Rock to Recovery sessions, a professional musician who is also in recovery guides clients in choosing an instrument and creating a song, with lyrics often inspired by their own recovery.

Malibu Beach Recovery Centers is pleased to offer Rock to Recovery as part of our experiential therapy options. In each session, clients get creative, laugh, dance and sing if they wish, work as a group, and express themselves in a way that’s freeing and fun.

Rock to Recovery: A Message of Hope and Healing

For young people especially, listening to music or going to concerts or music festivals is central to their social lives. A key message of Rock to Recovery: individuals in recovery can thoroughly and completely enjoy music without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Another important message is that sobriety won’t take away an individual’s creativity. Many musicians, artists and actors who have struggled with addiction realize that being under the influence hurts their ability to work or perform.

Yet, at the same time, they have relied on drugs and alcohol to relieve anxiety, escape their worries, cope with stage fright or mask the symptoms of depression or other co-occurring mental health conditions. They fear that without drugs and alcohol, they will no longer be themselves.

Rock to Recovery shows individuals in rehab that sobriety doesn’t diminish creativity – instead, it’s the other way around. By thinking and seeing clearly, by breaking free of substances that dull the senses and slow thinking, the creative spark grows stronger.

The Rock to Recovery Method

  • The professional musicians who lead the group share their story of addiction and recovery, their experience with music before and after addiction took hold, and the way they used music for healing. Many musicians who lead Rock to Recovery groups have had record deals and years of experience touring and playing with bands.
  • No musical experience is needed! There’s an instrument suited to everyone. Most participants have never played an instrument or written a song before.
  • The group works together to come up with a melody and lyrics. As the song takes shape, the group picks up on the energy of the live music. They become part of the band – enjoying a sense of belonging and the experience of creating something meaningful.
  • Some discover talent they didn’t know they have. Some played an instrument or sang as a kid but quit. The Rock to Recovery process awakens their old skills and memories and reminds them of an activity they once enjoyed. For others, the process helps them get comfortable with expressing themselves, and their creativity flows through writing the lyrics.
  • The end result: performing their finished song. The group is enveloped in the natural high of making music, the shared experience of performing and the sense of accomplishment from knowing they’ve created and recorded something both beautiful and cool.

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