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Sometimes you just need to blast some music and dance it out. Music can be a powerful tool in healing and allow you to see that you are a part of something bigger; like what you’re going through is not unique to you, but is experienced by many. Music can be a coping mechanism; it can provide comfort in times that are particularly uncomfortable. When all else fails, music can simply be the soundtrack you let out the day’s stress. With recovering addicts especially, music has the ability to empower them to continue their journey of sobriety in challenging times.

Studies have shown that music can be therapy and can improve the dopamine produced in the brain. One study even revealed that music therapy can increase someone’s willingness to participate in addiction treatment programs and increase their engagement. Music mirrors life and offers a cathartic experience to the listener through its rhythm and lyrics. Music also offers psychological benefits that help recovery, especially in the early stages, go a little smoother. Music can improve memory and cognitive performance, help people manage pain, improve one’s sleep, improve one’s motivation, reduce symptoms of depression, and more. 

Recovery can at times feel endless and lonely, music can help remedy this. Songs that discuss addiction and recovery offer a sense of community, a sense that others are going through this as well. Here are 10 songs that discuss the realities of addiction and recovery:

The Top 10 Songs About Addiction and Recovery

Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers

This song describes feelings of loneliness and addiction experienced by Anthony Kiedis. The song details Kiedis’ journey with addiction and his darkest times. Lyrics in this song suggest experiences of homelessness and abusing drugs while living on the street. Kiedis, however, is now sober.

Amazing by Aerosmith

This track discusses a life of pain and drugs. The singer highlights himself hitting rock bottom and finally getting help, he is then amazed by how much better his life becomes.

Bad by U2

This song is about the destructiveness of heroin addiction and the band’s desire to help those who are struggling, “If I could through myself set your spirit free, I’d lead your heart away.”

Not Afraid by Eminem

This song discusses Eminem’s recovery as he overcame his personal struggles with drug addiction. This song’s lyrics talk about Eminem regaining control over himself and not allowing drugs to determine how he leads his life. He also invites others struggling with addiction to join him in recovery.

The Hunger by Florence and the Machine

In this track, Florence Welch references drug abuse with lyrics like,  “I thought that love was in the drugs, but the more I took, the more it took away.” Welch has a history of addiction and is now sober. This song highlights the importance of finding comfort in others in the hard times and knowing that challenging times will, ultimately, make you more resilient.

Sober by Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato candidly discusses the reality of relapse and the guilt associated with it. The lyrics highlight that although relapse may make you feel guilty, you do not owe anyone an explanation. You have to focus on getting yourself healthy without feeling shamed. She further touches on the pain of withdrawal and the effects her addiction has not only on herself, but the ones she loves.

Starting Over by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

This song describes the shame surrounding relapse and how relapse negatively affects the ones around you. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis also highlight the importance of community and support when recovering and understanding that relapse is not shameful.

Battle Cry by Polo G

This song discusses Polo G’s struggle with drugs and activities he was involved in while living in the hood. He talks about transitioning from the hood to fame and trying to stay true to himself while having drugs and violence still around him.

Maybe Hardly by Future

This song describes Future’s struggle with drugs and dark times. He talks about using drugs to cope with pain and the unhealthy ways in which he was living his life.

Fight like a Brave By Red Hot Chilli Peppers

This track discusses the difficulty faced by Anthony Kiedis who struggled with an addiction to heroin. Along with describing his addiction, the swing highlights Kiedis’s success in becoming sober.

These songs can offer both comfort and hope during times that seem isolating and dark. Although some of these songs simply highlight how addiction negatively affects lives, these tracks provide those struggling with addiction with lyrics relative to that may help alleviate feelings of loneliness. Along with this, some songs above offer hope and motivation to those in recovery and those just entering recovery to keep on persevering. Combining a comprehensive recovery plan, like that offered by NuView Treatment Centre, music can help you celebrate the triumphs of recovery and power-through the challenges.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside


Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson


Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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