For young people in recovery, music can act as a bridge to sobriety and provide an outlet for healthy recreation. Recently on a visit to Old Friends Guitar Shop in Wentzville, MO, a young man in our Troy Day Treatment Program was given the opportunity to play the guitar of his dreams. As he began to strum the perfectly tuned antique, acoustic twelve string, a familiar light of self assured contentment settled in. With teens struggling from substance abuse, one of the biggest enemies to sobriety is the foe of being discontent. But at this moment, the young man you see in the photo was anything but bored. He was in the moment entirely. Not in the past, not in the future, but fully in the present. The virtue of living in the moment was no better expressed than by Grammy award winning artist Ray LaMontagne, in his song, "Be Here Now":
"Don't let your mind get weary and confused
Your will be still, don't try
Don't let your heart get heavy child
Inside you there's a strength that lies...."
When redirecting our minds through awareness, uncertainties become irrelevant and strength is found. Allowing the mind to rest reaffirms the sense of control, autonomy, and escape that so many teens end up struggling to achieve through high risk behaviors. Such is the plight of substance abuse in adolescence. But the great gift of music not only provides a life skill that teaches discipline and commitment. But it's also a place where the mind can be free to "Be Here Now".
Written by: Michelle Boonaerts