We use music for a lot of reasons in our lives: escape our troubles, lighten our mood, pass the time and sometimes, just to relax. But did you know that music also helps you in addiction recovery? Music therapy is a growing trend in addiction treatment centers and for good reason.
The main benefit of music therapy for drug abuse treatment is that the participants enjoy it, which means they are mostly likely to come back. It also helps the participants feel like they are part of a group, which reduces isolation. Some programs work with patients to learn to play music, write songs, evaluate lyrics and create rhythm circles. All of these methods work toward helping patients get in touch with their feelings surrounding their addictions.
If your rehab facility offers music therapy, give it a shot. You’ll likely enjoy it. More than that, learning an instrument can help your brain in many ways. Studies have shown that musicians have stronger long-term memory, as well as better language processing and communication. It does this by helping your brain make better connections in its neurons, or brain cells and it engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain. Children who learn starting from an early age are better at math and problem solving, too.
If you’re unable to access music therapy, you might consider learning an instrument on your own. When you’re new to recovery, incorporating a new hobby into your daily routine is a great way to channel your energy in a positive way. Learning a musical instrument is great for those in recovery because it gives you something to focus on instead of your addiction, and it will keep your hands busy. It also gives you something to do every day: You have to practice to get better. You can take lessons at a music store, or you can learn with books and videos available online.
But don’t stick with the more popular instruments that everyone wants to learn, like guitar or drums. Consider the clarinet. As one British blogger, David Jean-Baptiste, wrote about his love for the instrument, “Maybe it’s the fine keywork in relation to wood, lathed into a conical bore. Yes there are metal clarinets and plastic clarinets, even clarinets made from glass. There is something about the wood, rosewoods, grenadilla, African blackwoods, cocobollo, the distinctive shape of the instrument and the focused sound, that in my opinion sets it above the rest.”
If you’re not a fan of the clarinet, consider another woodwind or brass instrument like the saxophone. Whatever you try, you’re sure to gain benefit from learning, such as better focus and a sense of accomplishment after you learn to play your first song.
Start with a music shop. Ask what classes they offer, and find out what you’ll need. You can rent an instrument for very little money, and practice at home. Once you get better at playing, you can play for family and friends or find a group of other musicians to play with. Perhaps find other recovering addicts who enjoy music and work on your music together. Playing an instrument brings many possibilities for your future.
Once you’ve become a musician, you can show your family and friends how you have grown in your addiction recovery and show off your newfound talent. You’ll be proud of your accomplishments and know that if you can learn this, you can do just about anything. You’ll have begun to reinvent yourself while healing your brain. That’s a major accomplishment that you’ll be very proud of.
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