Rap Songs About Recovery

Rap Songs About Recovery

I used to drink every single day at WORK!

10 Long Island Teas. 10 double shots of Grand Marnier.

That is how I would start every day at the office. First thing. Before I could get any work done, I had to down at least a couple of each.

Now, full disclosure, I am a full-time musician. I make money from playing music in bars and restaurants i.e. “The Office.” It may be one of the very few jobs where drinking is actually ENCOURAGED on the job.

Sounds awesome, right?

Not at all. I guess it is at first, but it gets old really fast. Because the more your drink, the more you NEED to drink to have a good time. It got to the point where I was living out one of the famous scenes from The Blues Brother’s movie. I would have to pay more for my bar tab than I was getting paid for my services.

And then afterward, I would spend the rest of my money at Taco Bell.

That is what we call an unsustainable business model. And it was. Both for my pocketbook and my body.

It got to the point where I was drinking at least 20 drinks a night and still not feeling a thing. I would throw up from all the shear intake of liquid, then turn around and keep drinking hoping that eventually I would get a little buzz.

Dude. What a miserable existence.

I knew I had to quit when I ended up the E.R. with severe heart palpitations. That was my rock bottom. And I walked out of that hospital and began my sobriety journey.

The hardest part for me was still playing in bars every night. Just because I wasn’t drinking, that didn’t mean i didn’t have to go to work. I had to sit there and watch everyone party around me.

It really sucked.

I was jealous and pissed a lot. I was probably not a lot of fun to be around either.

But it did get better with time.

Anyhoo, the whole reason I am telling you all of this is because one of the biggest saviors in my recovery has been music. I have been able to put all my struggles into rap songs about recovery. It has given me an outlet to pour all my emotion into. I don’t know what I would do without it. I mean, I would still recover one day at a time, but having music to turn to has been a game changer for me.

One of the first songs I wrote about my recovery was a song called “Pain.” As you might guess, it was a song about just how bad my life had gotten. I was in a lot of physical pain and even more emotional pain. I was struggling to see any hope or any way out. So I sat down and wrote a super honest song about it.

Pain” was really hard to write. I knew if I was going to do this song, I had to be brutally honest. There are a few lines in that song that I still cringe when I hear because it takes me back to that awful place.

Here is one particularly rough part of the song for me to listen to:

“Every day is a battle of wills,
My body versus me and who's got the skills?
Will I get out of bed, able to walk with a high head,
Or will I need a wheelchair instead?
I have to choose if the joy of sitting down is worth the pain of getting up,
Man, writing that down and saying it out loud feels really messed up.”

It was true. I could barely walk and I was headed for a wheelchair for sure. At the age of 40 I was about to need a wheelchair. Not because of any injury or life-threatening disease, but because I couldn’t stop drinking and eating and I had gained so much weight that my body was crumbling beneath me.

One of the first songs I wrote after going to a food recovery retreat and starting to work the 12 steps of Overeaters Anonymous (same as Alcoholics Anonymous), was a song called “The Mess Around.” I wrote this song with my good friend Chela Mancuso.

This was one of the first songs I wrote when I started to see hope again. This was a fun one to write and record. I still enjoy listening to this one because it reminds me of the hope I have found in recovery!

The Mess Around is all about telling my former drinking buddies why I don’t drink anymore. Basically , get off my case, stop asking me to “just have one dude!” because I don’t mess around anymore.

The lyrics in the third verse really sum it all up:

“ I don't mess around anymore 'cuz I am finally free,
I don't need to impress you people, I can let it be,
And I don't need to escape and numb my feelings out,
I'm not afraid anymore, yo, you should check this out,
See there's a reason that you're here, just have to take the time,
Be willing, honest and sure to open up your mind,
And when you do, I think it's safe to say you're gonna find,
It's time to leave that mess behind, and time to shine.”

I am so thankful for all the songs on my Welcome To The Fellowship album. Each song chronicles a different aspect of my recovery. These songs were a way to get the pain out but they were also a way to express my hope and joy that was starting to come back into my life.

I still go back and listen to these songs quite often. They inspire me and remind me that I’m not alone on this journey. I am part of a “distinct entity” of folks in recovery and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this family.

I hope you know that you are never alone. You are surrounded by people who want to love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

And when you just don’t know what else to do, please don’t forget that music has the power to change your life. Find the music that speaks to you, turn it on and let it wash over you. Music has always shouted truth to me over all the lies rambling around in my brain.

It’s ready and waiting to do the same for you.



How To Overcome Doubt And Unbelief

Here are some old beliefs that are rattling around in my brain. Maybe you can relate to some of these.

  • If I’m not perfect, then I am going to hell

  • I can’t say my doubts out loud or God will condemn me

  • All of my sexual thoughts are sinful

  • I am a sinful piece of crap

  • God only loves me when I am doing good things

  • God is a man-made construct used to control people

We don’t know for sure if God is real or not. We have to choose to believe, which I do. But all the ways I see God working have logical explanations too.

I do choose to believe God is there and that He loves me and has a plan for me. But I still have a hard time with the details.

If there are so many religions in the world, how can Christianity be the only true one? If someone was born into a Hindu family, does that mean they are going to hell?

Was Jesus who He said He was, or did people writing the bible embellish the truth to spread their agenda? The Bible was written by people and people are flawed and selfish. So how can we possibly believe everything the Bible says to be fact?

What about homosexuality? I have friends who I really believe were created gay. That’s who they are. But the Bible says it’s a sin. What am I supposed to do with that?

Does God really look down on and condemn homosexuals after making them that way? Do gay people not deserve to be happy and have love in their life? Or are all the rules like that in the Bible written by people who wanted to set the rules. Maybe it says homosexuality is a sin because the dude who wrote that part was uncomfortable with gay people. There is no way to know for sure.

The problem is that people then take the Bible as law and use it to judge other people, to condemn and hate, to start wars and to make themselves feel superior.

That is a bunch of junk and I want no part of it.

I do know that I feel happier and more complete when I choose to see God working in my life. I have tried it the other way and it did not go so well. So I think the answer is to choose what you believe.

But just because you believe in God doesn’t mean you can never doubt again. It’s ok to have doubts and it’s important to think through them. If we just stuff them down, they become toxic. Say your doubts out loud. Talk to friends about them. And pray for God to help you find peace with them.

All I really want is truth. Isn’t that what we all want? But if we just choose to only see the one side of things we want to see and refuse to listen to anyone who disagrees, then we are not seeking truth. We are seeking validation for what our fears tell us to believe.

I want to live in truth and not in fear. I don’t want to run from my beliefs. I want to do the work, to have freedom to be honest about my feelings and to find peace with all this.

I want to be able to talk about my doubts and have real conversations. I want to be open to new ideas. I want to keep learning.

I want to have confidence in what I believe. I want to love myself and others right where we are today. I want to be a light in the world and a source of love and encouragement to others. And I want my God to want all those things too.

What do you think about all these questions? Do you have any doubts of your own? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Lunch Break Concert #4 - H.O.P.E.

Lunch Break Concert #4 went down on Monday July 8th, 2019.
Click the button below to watch the replay on Facebook.

**Be sure the volume is turned up on the video

Lunch Break Concert #3 - Believe

Lunch Break Concert #3 went down on Monday July 1st, 2019.
Click play below to catch the replay.

**Be sure the volume is turned up on the video

Inspirational Rap Lyrics

Hip hop has saved my life more times than I can count. When I felt lonely as a child, hip hop was there for me.

I would sit in my room and listen to all my favorite rappers like Dr. Dre, Coolio, Cypress Hill to name a few. It was the 90’s, ya know. These rappers were my friends. They were there to encourage me. Hang out with me. And they inspired me to go into my own studio and create my own songs.

When I quit drinking, hip hop was my outlet to voice my frustrations. I could use this music to talk about how hard it was. I could also use this music to show others that it was possible for them too.

To this day, when I struggle with resentment, fear or shame, hip hop is a big part of the healing for me. There are so many songs that have inspired me over the years. I wanted to put some of my favorite inspirational rap lyrics together in a blog post and share them with you.

I hope you find as much encouragement in these lyrics as I have.

If I ever took a loss, I learned a lesson
I won’t ever think I’m better than the next man
I’ve been down before the come up, I ain’t stressin’
Baby I’m too busy countin’ all these blessings, blessings
— Lecrae (Blessings)
They try to shut us down, and it ain’t gon’ slide
Only thing I fear is God and He on my side
That’s the confidence of God, ‘cause He got me
That’s why I really feel like
You can’t stop me!
— Andy Mineo (You Can't Stop Me)
You only get one life
And every time you lookin’ at yours
You feel like everything you have is a waste!
And the problem and the reason you could never fill a hole in your life
Is because you were never awake
— NF (Wake Up)
But I can’t forget the motto, motto
No more mediocre, just getting by though
I’m in His image, I been down for a minute
But I’m getting up today, and I’ma fight till I’m finished
— Trip Lee (Clouds)
I got my full armor on, my head to the sky
I’m going into battle with my horns up high
And I’m through playing games; you can see it in my eyes
And you can go and ask anybody I’m a ride and I ain’t turning back
— Thi'sl (I Ain't Turning Back)
Take a hit and never quit
Might be down but never out
There are days that I fail
And the trains off the rail
Through the pain we prevail
Tell ‘em you just gotta live
— Tedashii (Gotta Live)
I’m a dreamer but I ain’t the only one got problems
But we love to have fun
This is our world, from here to your hood
We alive man, it’s okay to feel good
— K'Naan (Dreamer)

Community Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

I had a friend in college who always used to say "No man is an island." I mean, he said it all the time. And even though we used to make fun of him for it, we knew he was right. A life lived in isolation is sure to be a life of misery. We need people. We need community. I wrote this song to remind us all how true this is.

Community is Principle #7 in my 12 Core Principles to a happy and fulfilled life.

People Need People: The Role Of Community

I had a friend in college who always used to say “No man is an island.” I mean, he said it all the time. We used to make fun of him because he said it so much.

But even back then, we knew he was right. We knew that if we had to go through our college years alone, we would be miserable. We would probably drop out of college and move in to our favorite cardboard box.

There was no way we could do life without each other.

And then we grew up. My friends moved away. I started to believe that I didn’t need people. And the next thing you know, I am a 500-pound alcoholic living a miserable, lonely life.

What happened?

What happened is I moved to that island. Maybe not physically, but I moved there in my mind. After getting hurt once or twice, I decided I didn’t like that too much. I decided I was going to live with as little human interaction as possible. I mean, people were the problem, right?

If I just keep people away, I can focus on me. I can do whatever I need to do to be happy. I won’t get distracted by other people’s agendas. I can just focus on myself. That is what I thought my solution was. But I was wrong.

It turns out people weren’t the problem. They were actually the solution.

All this life of isolation brought me was extreme misery, depression and loneliness. It seems so obvious now, but I really couldn’t understand why I was so sad. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do to be happy.

I needed people. I needed people bad. And once I realized this, I started taking drastic actions. The first thing I did, and probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself, was I got a job at Applebee’s.

Now, this may not seem like the dream job, and for sure, it wasn’t, but what it was was a chance for me to meet people. Not only meet people, but bond with them.

If you have every worked in the service industry, you know it is hard work. And you are in the trenches with your fellow “Applebuddy’s” every day. There is a strong bond that is created with that.

And even though I quit that job years ago, I am still friends with a lot of those people to this day. That says a lot to me.

It says that I needed these people. And maybe they needed me too. We were all so hungry for connection and we found it at America’s favorite grill and bar.

If you are feeling isolated or depressed, I would challenge you to look at your community. Are you involved with others? Are you calling friends regularly? Are you going to neighborhood events? Are you talking to people at church after the service?

There are so many things we can do to bring people into our lives. I promise, your new friends are out there just waiting for you to say “hi.” That one simple word can change your life. It for sure changed mine.

And if all else fails, I know Applebee’s is always hiring.

Community
The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records
Coming 7.1.19!

Lunch Break Concert #2 - Abundance

Lunch Break Concert #2 went down on Monday June 24th, 2019 and we had a blast!
Click play below to catch the replay.

**Be sure the volume is turned up on the video

Lunch Break Concert #1 - Welcome To The Fellowship

The very first Lunch Break Concert went down on Monday June 17th, 2019 and we had a blast!
Click play below to catch the replay.

**Be sure the volume is turned up on the video

Some folks have been having problems with the audio cutting out during the video. If this happens to you, please let us know in the comments. We are working with Facebook to correct this. Thanks so much.

How To Find Your Self Worth

A big turning point in my life was when I asked myself:

“What if I just choose to believe in God? What if I choose to believe God is there and what if I just start to look for evidence of Him working in my life? What have I got to lose? I mean seriously, what’s the worst thing that would happen?”

I think I was scared of looking like a fool. Scared of people making fun of me. I felt like it was a waste of time to put energy into something that maybe didn’t exist. But the truth is, I was wasting my time trying to find another solution for God. I was wasting money paying for alcohol, food, girls, whatever it took to fill the void in my life. The void I felt was an absence of spiritual health. Whether you call Him God, the universe, or your higher power, I could feel that a big part of me was missing when I wasn’t connected to God. And trying to fill that void with other things was killing me. So the truth was, I couldn’t afford NOT to believe anymore.

Once I realized I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, I knew I had to make that change. I decided to believe and just have faith that God was there. And even more importantly, I decided to start looking for how He was working in my life. As soon as I chose to see it, it was abundantly obvious that He was working in my life.

I started a list of all the little “God things” that started happening. And as soon as I started seeing these things as God working in my life and not just coincidences, I quickly realized that God had been there all along. And even more, I realized how much I mattered! Because if almighty God is taking the time to work all kinds of miracles in my life, big and small, then He must love me a whole lot.

And if God loves me, who am I to not love myself?

How exciting it was to realize this! To know that God cares for me the way He does. God is providing all that I need. He is showing up in my life every day. It’s so amazing to see it! I know that I am supposed to be here and I know God has big plans for my life. That is huge. And I am so grateful that I can finally see that now! The evidence was there all along, all it took was me deciding to see it.

Why Am I Depressed?

Why am i depressed?

I have struggled with depression my whole life. I have had some really great years and I’ve also had some really dark years. But mostly my life has been a day to day combination of both.

When I joined Overeaters Anonymous and started working the 12 steps, I thought “Finally, I found my solution. Now I’ll never be depressed ever again!” Just typing that now makes me realize how silly that thought was, but I so desperately wanted to be free from this sadness that I believed there was a simple solution. All I had to do was fix it and I’m good, right?!

Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

I have been in the program for a little over a year now. It’s been amazing. I have learned so much and have really grown too. Yet, these last few days I have found myself struggling with depression again.

Why is this still happening? I am doing the work. I thought I fixed this!

The truth is there is no “fixing” it. There are things I can do in my daily life to deal with it. And I do believe over time it will get better, but I don’t think it ever goes away. It’s a part of me.

But here is the good news. I don’t have to deal with it alone anymore. I have a sponsor I can talk this stuff through with. I have my fellows that I can hang out with. And most of all, I can turn my sadness over to God and He comforts me. I’ve heard people say that my whole life but I only recently started to understand what that truly meant.

It means that I know I am loved. Unconditionally. It means it’s ok to feel my emotions. It’s ok to feel depressed. I don’t have to fix it. I can sit in it and feel it. Experience it instead of running away from it. And I know I can handle it because God is with me. Always.

I can be depressed and know that my life has a lot of worth because I am a creation of God. I can be depressed and know that God still has a plan for my life. I can be depressed and still see the joy around me. I can be depressed and know that I won’t feel like this forever.

With God all of these things are possible. And He has shown me time and time again that he will not fail me. He will not abandon me.

And that means I’m going to be ok.

Once I realize that, I can deal with the depression a lot better. It’s different now than it was in those dark years a long time ago. The difference is God. And God is good.

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately: “How do people do life without God?” I really don’t know. I know when I tried, it did not work. I know that I am grateful to have found God again and to have Him to turn to. I can’t imagine doing life any other way.

Perseverance Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This year I am releasing a new song every month. Each song represents one of 12 core principles I have found to be the key to a happy and fulfilling life. Perseverance is the 6th principle and my single for June. It's also the hardest principle to spell. :) It is fitting that it is halfway through the year because it is all about seeing things through to the end.

It's a simple, quirky song that I hope inspires people to never give up. Home is always just one more step away!

Welcome To The Club

Welcome to the club

Why is it that spiritual people seem to be happier and have betters lives? Is it a coincidence? Or is it because they belong to a special club that gives them an unfair advantage? Can we get into this club or are we not cool enough?

I used to think that’s how it was. These people were special, chosen and they each lived the kind of happy life that was out of reach for me. I thought I wasn’t cool enough to be a part of this club and I was destined to be miserable and alone.

Not true.

The truth is these people are choosing to walk a path that I avoided for along time. It was my choice to stay out of the club even though their doors were wide open to me.

All I had to do was walk in.

What is so great about this club anyway? Why are the members so happy all the time? I think it’s because they are more grounded. They are connected to God and to others. They have peace. They have focus and energy to pursue big things. They have love and have people all around to lift them up. They have community. They have purpose. They have a giving spirit and spend time thinking about others. They have perspective.

These people are not lucky or privileged. They are actively pursuing the life that they want and they are getting results. It is not an exclusive club that is impossible to get into. It is something that is available to you and to me. It’s opportunity that surrounds all of us. If we let down our defenses and stop making excuses, we can have all those things too.

People are not spiritual because they are successful. They are successful because they are spiritual. It is our choice whether we pursue these things or not. No one is stopping you except you. The Spiritual Club is open and taking new members every day. All you have to do is walk through the front doors.

I’ll see you in there.

Perseverance: The Story Behind The Song

Click play below to learn more about my song “Perseverance” and what inspired it.

Believe Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

If we want to achieve anything in life, we need to stop being so cynical. We need to allow ourselves to believe in something. I have lived on both sides of this principle and found nothing but misery while being cynical.

Once I chose to believe in possibility, everything changed. I want this for others who dream of changing their lives. If that sounds familiar, then this song was written for you!

The Power Of Belief

“If I want to achieve then I gotta believe.”

There was a very specific, pivotal moment in my life. It wasn’t a wedding day or a graduation day, it was the day I decided to believe again. Not just believing in God, but believing in possibilities. Choosing hope over cynicism.

Somewhere along the path of life, I became extremely cynical. I think it happens to a lot of us.

When we are kids, the world is a magical place. Every day is an adventure full of wonder and joy. This is why kids never want to go to bed and can’t wait to get up in the morning. Their life is awesome and exciting.

And then we grow up. We get hurt a few times. And it all starts to change.

Fast forward a few years and we are miserable. We see the world as a dark, depressing place. We are trapped in a routine that never changes. There is nothing new to explore. No more adventures. No more excitement. Just work, bills and taxes.

Maybe we get out and do something fun on the weekend, but it’s short-lived and we are right back to our mundane existence on Monday.

This is when bitterness sets in. What happened to our life? We used to have dreams and goals. When did it all change? Why do we all of the sudden dread everything we have to do?

And that’s when it happens. That’s the day you become a cynic.

After crossing over to the dark side, there is no more hope. There is no more wonder. And any beliefs you had about the possibilities in your life, go right out the window. We start looking at the world as a curse instead of a blessing.

We make fun of people who look happy. We tell ourselves that people who have the kind of life we want just got lucky and we are not meant to have that kind of life. Nope. We are meant to be fat. Broke. Lonely. And depressed. That’s just the way it is for people like us.

What if you just decided to change that way of thinking? Right now. Right here.

What if you chose to believe? What if it is really true that our lives are a manifestation of our thoughts and if you changed your thoughts you could change your life? What is the worse thing that would happen if you just decided that you were going to believe in life again like you did when you were a kid?

That was the pivotal moment in my life. The day everything changed for me was the day I asked myself those exact questions. And I chose to go for it.

I decided to believe again.

Once I made that decision, I also had to keep my eyes and heart open to see the opportunities in my life. I had to fight off cynicism constantly and look for the good stuff. I had to stop making excuses and stop making fun of happy people. I had to try. I had to get up and do something. But if there was real hope on the other side, it would be totally worth it.

I can tell you now that there is and it was.

I started seeing doors opening. I started seeing different people coming into my life. I started having successes in ways I never thought possible.

Was life perfect and easy from then on? Of course not. But something was different. Things were actually happening. And the best part of it all was I started to get excited again. I started to have moments where I felt like a little kid. I had dreams and I believed that they were possible. I had a reason to get up in the morning.

I was finally living the life I always wanted. All I had to do was choose it.

Life sucks sometimes. There are plenty of people who will tell you that. And it’s true. But I’m here to tell you that there is a whole other side to life that is just waiting for you. You are meant to be happy. You are meant to be successful Your “luck” is just waiting for you to find it. I promise it’s there.

All you have to do is choose to believe.

Believe
The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records
Coming 5.1.19!