Addiction Recovery Program Tunes Into Music To Help Clients

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) –The drug epidemic has pushed many to search for different ways of fixing this problem that’s prevalent in many communities. One drug recovery center in Ft. Lauderdale is leading the way in a unique approach to dealing with the problem. Recovery Unplugged is harnessing the power of music and using it to break the cycle of destructive behavior that addicts frequently find themselves going back to.

“I’ve been a musician my whole life, and through the darker few years I have been going through, I haven’t really played any music and just being here has reignited my passion,” said client Stephan Garay.

Einstein once said, insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

At Recovery Unplugged, they expect different results but that’s because they have a completely different approach. Chief Strategy Officer of Music Unplugged, Paul Pellinger, was trained in the drug court program and has seen a failed attempt at trying to get addicts to open up by asking them open-ended questions.

“Matching a lyric up to what the client is going through will get the client to emote and will get the client to verbalize what they are going through,” said Pellinger.

For almost four years Paul has been using this treatment method to help those overcome their addiction at Recovery Unplugged. There is power in music and it’s now being seen as a legitimate alternative to treating addiction.

“There have been more overdoses and deaths in the past six years than the previous 19 combined. There’s an epidemic going on and I’m glad we are finally talking about it but not many people are talking about the solution,” said Pellinger. “The solution is very clear. We use music as a catalyst to engage the clients.”

And they use big names like Steven Tyler of Aerosmith to legitimize their musical approach.

Richie Supa, Steven Tyler’s longtime friend and music writer also works at the center as the Creative Director of Recovery. He talks about the effects music has on the clients.

“The song transports an addict back…that dirty apartment…that destitute dark place and transports them back to where they can smell it feel and taste it, and when the song ends I can bring them back,” said Supa.

Music is the only language everyone can understand and it’s a big part of getting through and breaking a destructive cycle that addicts keep going back to.

At Recovery Unplugged, they’re on to something new. Garay, a musician from Texas, has only been at the program for two weeks but he already sees that the music therapy has taken him to a different place.

“Search the music to remember who you are, to find yourself again. Let the music bring you back into the light,” said Garay.

Click here for more information on the program. 

More from Bianca Peters
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