The Northbound Experience focuses on effectively delivering innovative treatment with an exceptionally strong commitment to help their clients find new direction and strength on their road to recovery. One such innovative treatment program that’s gathering attention is Northbound’s Music Program:
“The music program at Northbound gave me the incredible opportunity to record some songs in a Studio, which is something I’ve always dreamed of. Being a part of the program and working with Dusty was by far my favorite experience while at Northbound, and is one I will always miss and treasure.” – Jamie G
We asked Northbound to tell us more.

Guest blog post by Northbound Treatment Services

Music is a universal language, and allows people from across the world to communicate their feelings without the confines of language. It allows us to express ourselves creatively, and to convey ourselves in the rawest, most unadulterated form. Music unites us, and brings us together to share common emotions and experiences. It allows for growth and healing, and gives us a healthy, exciting means of expressing ourselves.

For all of these reasons and more, Northbound Treatment Services has implemented an innovative music program into our California addiction rehab curriculum. Northbound’s music program is supervised by Dusty Watson, a Northbound case manager with over 20 years sober and an impressive musical career. As a lifelong musician and the drummer for The Sonics- hailed by Rolling Stone as having released one of the 20 best albums of 2015- Dusty is the perfect person to show others in recovery the power of music to transform lives. In addition to his involvement in our music program, Dusty tours regularly with The Sonics, and has played alongside prominent musicians such as Robert Plant. Both Stephen Creel and Connor Davis, Northbound counselors and enthusiastic musicians, have collaborated with Dusty to create a truly innovative program that allows our clients to grow and develop in their recovery. We’re thrilled to have Dusty involved, and for the invaluable contribution that Stephen and Connor have made to the expansion of our program.

The Power of Music to Heal

We are extremely proud of Northbound’s music program, and the opportunity it provides our clients to approach their recovery from an entirely different angle. Music is about passion and creativity, something that anyone in recovery can tell you is seriously lacking while we’re using. Playing music allows our clients to get back in touch with their creative side, and to learn how to enjoy themselves again in sobriety. Expressing themselves creatively in the comfort of our therapeutic community gives our clients the opportunity to relax and really get in touch with their feelings, reconnecting with the sense of creativity that was stifled by their addiction. It also allows them to bond with their peers, and strengthen the important relationships that will allow them to grow in sobriety. Some of our clients have decades of musical experience, while others have never picked up in instrument in their lives. Our program isn’t about teaching music proficiency- it’s about connection. Whether connecting with our peers or connecting with ourselves, our music program gives our clients the ability to add layers and depth to their recovery.

Playing and Recording

Our music program is woven throughout our client’s standard California addiction rehab treatment plan. Clients have the opportunity to play and compose music each week, and are given the space they need to experiment with their creative boundaries. Whether playing music, creating new compositions, or listening to each other play, our clients are able to explore ways of using music to add to their recovery. Music is about self-expression, so our clients are encouraged to create their own original songs regardless of their musical capabilities. It isn’t about creating award winning musical compositions, or competing against each other to write the most inspiring pieces. It’s about discovering themselves, learning how to enjoy themselves sober, and uncovering new creative avenues that they hadn’t even been aware of.

Each month, clients in our music program are able to spend eight hours recording their music at a professional recording studio. This makes their composition real, and gives them the chance to view the finished, final product of their self-expression. Holding their CD in their hand allows them to connect with the piece that they have created, and takes our music program to the next level. Playing music at our California addiction rehab gives them a creative outlet to express themselves, and find a new, healthy way to have fun in recovery, but leaving with a finished CD makes this process tangible and permanent. Clients that have never touched an instrument leave our program with a permanent representation of their creative potential, which shows them that anything is possible for them as long as they stay sober.

Guest Speakers and Events

In addition to writing and recording music, Northbound is proud to host professional musicians who talk about the impact music has had on their lives. This began with an invitation we extended to Steven Tyler, the front man of Aerosmith and recovering addict himself. The story of addiction and recovery than Steven shared was incredible, and helped everyone to believe that growth and progress were possible after so many stagnant years of addiction. Both our clients and staff were deeply moved by the experience, and we immediately implemented guest speakers into our music program curriculum.

Additionally, we’ve incorporated regular outings and events, which allow our clients to become comfortable in their sobriety while outside of treatment. Leaving their California addiction rehab and diving back into a career, education, or relationship can be a difficult transition. We were able to stay sober in treatment, but keeping it up while dealing with pressure at work or difficulty with the kids is a whole different story. Northbound’s music program prepares our clients for this transition by taking them on monthly outings, allowing them to really experience what it’s like to be sober and in the world. These experiential activities can include trips to the museum, concerts, and sports events, which help our clients to transition back into their lives and really experience all of the wonderful opportunities sobriety has to offer. Making this gradual transition with the support of our staff is crucial, and gives them the chance to explore their boundaries with a viable safety net in place.

Personal Growth

Northbound’s California addiction rehab treatment model emphasizes the importance of giving our clients the tools they need to stay sober after leaving our program. Whether they decide to take up an instrument or explore other avenues of creativity is completely up to them; our primary concern is to show them the availability of new experiences and personal growth. Playing an instrument is an analogy for the rest of our recovery- it can be difficult and confusing in the beginning, but with practice and dedication it can grow into something beautiful.

Learn more about Northbound.


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