Alumni Perspective: Change my feelings in a heartbeat

by MJ (Munro 2011)


Music can have the power for one to be healed….
It can create a portal for feelings to be revealed…

Has the power to transform every emotion…
Bring you from the depths of despair to the waves of a beautiful ocean…

Can be used to enhance a beautiful state…
To feed resentment and perhaps fuel more hate…

To wallow in sadness and create even more…
Or to switch it up and dance till you’re sore!

It can feed my disease of perception if I guide it to be so…
However, now that I’m more aware… and the truth I know…
I have to face that I have choices between play and pause…

As the music I listen to is the symptom, not the cause.


Music has always played a very important and beautiful role in my life. I’ve been blessed to have this grow and expand in wonderful ways throughout my recovery so far, whether it be for pleasure, healing, reflection, romance, meditation, or plain old fun!

It can change my feelings in a heartbeat.
You can’t stop me from smiling when you throw in that drumbeat.

My responsibility lies in the choices I make.
Whether that be listening to certain music, or the substances I do or do not intake.

I always gravitated towards music as an expression of my self, and in particular, as a way to deal with difficult emotions.  Well, perhaps sometimes to “wallow in” or “feed and help painful feelings grow”! I also intuitively used it for good and healing, but I didn’t know how to gauge this as I do now.

I love music and one of the incredible gifts I’ve been given is creating some music of my own.  Playing the piano for hours, or listening to albums, has also been very therapeutic and fun – whether done solo or in a beautiful bonding experience with my family and friends.

What I now realize in my recovery is the responsibility I have to do the next right thing in order to stay in a place of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  Part of this is “listening to the next right song.”

I think there are times when certain music can be a good thing.  When someone I love died, I listened to some very sad music for quite some time.  I believe that for a period of time it was healthy for me to sort of stay in that place, to stay in the grief and possibly even feed it with this music.  It helped heal me in its own way.  However, there did come a point where it did not serve me or my recovery to listen to those songs, and to do so would have kept me in emotions and feelings that would have been detrimental to my recovery.

I am now able to ask myself when I find myself spiraling into states of being that are painful: Do you want to keep feeling depressed?  Or do you want to feel ____?  And then I have a choice.  I can choose to listen to music that feeds the pain, or music that switches it up and places me in a different state of mind and being.

I think so much can be written on the power of music.  This bit of writing has only barely scratched the surface.   It plays a part in my daily life to a profound degree.  It is infiltrating my being in ways I never could have imagined, and I am enjoying exploring and experimenting with it every step of the way.  I hope you are enjoying your journey with music as well!

Wishing you a beautiful day!

About the Authors

Renascent Alumni
Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email