recovery from addiction

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.

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!

One Day At A Time

One day at a time

Sometimes I get extremely overwhelmed thinking about the future, especially when it comes to staying sober and abstinent. I still struggle with the idea that I will never get to drink or eat certain foods again. It seems like an impossible task. It also seems incredibly unfair.

I can keep going down that rabbit hole of a thought process and land on it’s not healthy to never enjoy certain foods again. And believe me, you can find plenty of people who would agree with that. They would say cutting things out completely is too drastic and not sustainable. What you need to do is learn moderation?

That is when I start to laugh because I have tried moderation time and time again. It may work for some people, but it does not work for me. As a matter of fact, moderation makes things worse for me because it keeps the cravings alive. Every time I have tried to indulge a little here and there, I would end up binging in no time.

I know abstinence is my ticket to freedom. But I don’t have to spend my time thinking about how I will never get to drink or eat certain foods again. All I have to do is stay sober and abstinent today. 24 hours. I know that my day today and my day tomorrow are going to be a million times better if I stay sober and abstinent today.

So I’m going to do that.

Even more, I am excited to do it because I have finally found a way to live the life I have always wanted. I have real purpose in my life. I get up every day with a drive and a focus that I never had when I was drinking or in the food. I sleep better and I wake up every morning with energy and vigor that I never had. I have so much love in my life, it’s ridiculous. And the truth is, I always had it, but now I am allowing myself to see it and feel it. And it feels amazing!

I am choosing to work my program today because it is working. I don’t have to worry about the future. I don’t have to say that I’m never going to drink again or I’m never going to eat ice cream again. I’m not concerned with a day that hasn’t even happened yet. My only concern is this day and what I need to do to make it great.

And when I lay my head down on that pillow tonight, I will have peace knowing that I lived another day in victory. I was able to live the day of my dreams because I was sober and abstinent. I know I can do this today and that is all I need.