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7 Best Songs About Getting Sober

This entry was posted in Addiction Recovery and tagged best songs about getting sober, songs about getting sober on September 04, 2023 by Justin Baksh, MS, LMHC, MCAP, Chief Clinical Officer.


Addiction is a complex disease, involving many physical and psychological factors. Often characterized by an overwhelming desire or need to consume a substance or engage in a particular behaviour, addiction impacts every aspect of a person’s life, from school and work to family and other relationships.

At its core, addiction is more than just a series of bad choices or a lack of willpower; it is a chronic disorder that can be deeply rooted in various underlying factors such as genetics, environment, trauma, and mental health conditions. The compulsive nature of addiction often leads to harmful consequences, making it a struggle to control without professional intervention.

Recovery, on the other hand, is the journey of healing and transformation that follows the acknowledgment of addiction. It involves a deliberate and often challenging process of change, where individuals work to improve their health, live a self-directed life, and strive to achieve their full potential. Recovery is not a linear path and can look different for everyone. It often requires a combination of professional treatment, peer support, personal determination, and a holistic approach that addresses not only the physical dependence but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of the individual.

How Can Music Help?

The profound influence of music on the human psyche has been recognized for centuries. Music plays a powerful role in therapy, emotional expression, and communal connection. It offers a unique and powerful means of support. Music’s ability to connect with human emotions and shared experiences elevates it beyond simple amusement or entertainment. It’s a bridge to healing, understanding, and connection, aligning perfectly with a compassionate approach to mental health and addiction recovery.

Music can provide a profound emotional release, allowing individuals to connect with feelings that might be challenging to articulate. Songs about specific experiences, like recovery from addiction, can validate emotions, promote empathy, and serve as a cathartic outlet for both the creator and listener. It can mirror one’s inner state, providing solace, motivation, or even a sense of unity during difficult times.

Through lyrics and melodies, music transcends personal boundaries and creates a shared language. It can link individuals with similar experiences, creating a sense of community and understanding. In the context of addiction recovery, songs about sobriety can foster a sense of connection, reminding listeners that they are not alone in their journey, and that others have faced and overcome similar challenges.

Music therapy utilizes musical engagement to help with physical, emotional, cognitive, and social healing. Whether through listening, playing, or composing, music therapy can foster self-expression and promote healing. It’s used in various settings, from hospitals to addiction recovery centers, and is designed to meet the patient’s specific needs and goals for therapy.

7 Best Songs About Getting Sober

Here are just a few of the many popular songs about the highs and lows, struggles and victories of the addiction journey.

1.“Life is Beautiful” by Sixx:A.M.

When “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx:A.M. hit the airwaves in 2007, it resonated with listeners seeking positivity and hope. The song, released as part of “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack.” Written by Nikki Sixx, James Michael, and DJ Ashba, it was inspired by Sixx’s challenges with addiction and his rekindled love for life. Sixx once told NME he would like the song played at his funeral, “because it’s so appropriate.” He elaborated: “It says, ‘Promise me you won’t cry at my funeral,’ and I’d like to think that, when that day eventually comes, everyone will be able to throw one hell of a party and tell a lot of funny stories.

2. “Sober” by James Arthur

In a 2017 interview with Atwood Magazine, singer-songwriter James Arthur talks candidly with interviewer Mitch Mosk about his battles with addiction. “Yeah, I was definitely battling them. I think my fight with all that ran parallel to writing the album. Basically, I smoked weed every day of my life for about eight years. I got into prescription drugs as well – because of anxiety, basically, I’d have panic attacks and stuff, so I thought that was helping me. Coming off all of that stuff, I realized that it wasn’t helping, and it probably was making it worse. Once I realized that, my entire life – all of my brainpower – ran towards not doing it… Just trying to deal with it by myself, and in doing that, I got closer to getting to know my mind.” His album Back from the Edge is about his struggles to get back into the music business after being dropped by his label, but also about his own struggles with addiction, and the desire to “prove everybody wrong” in both arenas. Recovery is the final track on the album, and is a celebration of the victory of sobriety and the winning back of his parents’ respect, and has become an anthem for many recovering addicts working toward that very same goal.

3. “Old Ways” by Demi Lovato

“The first thing I think about is going back to a time when I was engaging in self-destructive behaviors,” she says in a 2015 promo for her album Confident. “But it’s also like, now being at an age where I’ll go out to a club and I’ll look around the room, and there’s a bunch of people drinking, partying … it looks glamorous,” she continues. “In that moment, I may think, ‘You know, it’s been a long time. Maybe I don’t have a problem anymore.’ Or ‘They look like they’re having so much fun.’ I easily remember how dangerous that spiral is, when you’re the type of person that lets it take over your life.” 

4. “Not Afraid” by Eminem Marshall Mathers

The infamous “Eminem,” has a long history of addiction, which he has always been up front about. He’s often spoken of his battles with drugs like Ambien and Vicodin. He was hospitalized in 2010 with a methadone overdose that nearly killed him. His album “Recovery,” released in 2010, won a Grammy for Best Album the following year, and is all about his struggles with addiction and his adjustment to sobriety. He has since become a huge source of inspiration and motivation for fans in their on their own recovery journey. “Not Afraid” was the first single released from the album and an instant hit. With its strong, positive message about not being afraid to take a stand for yourself, and the desire to inspire others to do the same, the song and its creator have done just that.

5. “Amazing” by Aerosmith

Written by Steven Tyler in 1991, Amazing is one of Aerosmith’s biggest hits. The song is about Tyler’s personal experience with drug addiction, hitting rock bottom, and achieving sobriety. Tyler recently reaffirmed his commitment to sobriety, when he entered rehab in May 2022, after a relapse. In a statement from his bandmates, “After foot surgery to prepare for the stage, and the necessity of pain management during the process, he recently relapsed and voluntarily entered a treatment program to concentrate on his health and recovery.” In an interview with GQ, Tyler says he still takes part in a 12-step program, no matter where he is or what he’s up to. He also told Haute Living, “There is no drug stronger than music.”

6. “Demons” by Kenny Chesney

In a 2007 interview with CMT’s Katie Cook, country star Kenny Chesney had this to say about his song “Demons.” “In the song, it talks about music being a demon. It talks about women being a demon — which I confess, that might be mine. And it talks about alcohol and drugs. I know people that have one of those somewhere. Or I know people that have got all of them at once. Are you kidding me? (laughs) What am I talking about?! But we do. It’s how you deal with it and how you move on and how you choose to lead your life. I think that’s what makes this song so powerful.” The message of the song is what makes it so powerful. Namely, that anything can become a demon (an addiction) in our lives, but that we have the power to choose how to respond. We choose how to live our lives, and we choose whether we give in to those things or not. That shift in mindset puts the power and the choice back in our hands.

7. Hunger by Florence & The Machine

We all have our hunger, those places inside us that seem to never be filled, and this song (that was never meant to be a song) perfectly addresses that feeling and all the ways we try unsuccessfully to fill those voids. In a 2018 Instagram post, Welch explains: “This song was never meant to be a song, it was a poem written in an effort to understand the ways I looked for love in things that were not love. I was never thinking it would be a song, but maybe that’s the point. And by singing it out loud, together we become a choir, a chorus, higher than the hurt, louder than loneliness.” Says Natalie Harmsen of Atwood Magazine in a 2018 article, “If she set out to create unity and strength, that’s exactly what was achieved. People find comfort in knowing they don’t go through hard times alone, and they become all the more resilient for it. It’s an anthemic, heartfelt tribute to yearning without regrets. All the voices combine, ringing out to affirm we do, indeed, all have a hunger.”

For those wrestling with the challenges of addiction, the path may sometimes feel lonely and insurmountable. Yet, the stories and messages in these and many other songs stand as a testament to resilience, hope, and the universal power of music. Songs like these remind us that we are never truly alone in our struggles. They offer solace, encouragement, and a shared human experience that can light the way during dark times.

If you or someone you know is facing addiction, reach out to professionals who specialize in recovery. Lean on the supportive community around you and let the inspiring words and melodies of music be a constant reminder that life is, indeed, beautiful, and that healing is within reach.

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