Songs about Recovery

By Roger C

The road to recovery can be rough. The detox, the rehab… Even without those, the first few weeks and months without alcohol or drugs can be a challenge. But…

Life in recovery is often inspiring. Over time we discover how to live a good life, and to do that one day at a time. Who would have thought?

Today we have five inspiring songs, all about living in recovery, and what it’s all about. Enjoy!

I Can See Clearly Now

Johnny Nash wrote and produced this song for his 1972 album of the same name. The song is about hope and courage for people who have experienced adversity in their lives, but have later overcome it. ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ reached number one in America, selling over a million copies. “It’s going to be a bright sunshiny day.” You will hear more about the sun in another one of today’s songs.

Here’s the song on YouTube and here are the lyrics.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone.
All of the bad feelings have disappeared.

Let It Be

Well, the Beatles. I was one of 73 million people who saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964. Beginning two years earlier, they released over 300 songs and one of my favorites – something I understand in recovery – is “Let It Be”, released in 1970. This is a song that connects very well with the Serenity Wish (otherwise known as a prayer), often shared at AA meetings.

Paul McCartney wrote the song. Guilty of extreme substance abuse at the time, he had a dream in which his mother – her name was Mary and she had died ten years earlier – told him to “let it be”. Here are the lyrics and you can watch and listen to the song on YouTube. Whisper words of wisdom, my friends:

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shinin’ until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Just for Today

My long time friend, Nina, also a member of our “We Agnostics” AA group in Hamilton, has written a song about her life in recovery. Sung by Nina with the harmonies by her daughter, you can listen to Just for Today and, if you wish, you can read and download the lyrics.

Just for today I’ll do everything right
Hold onto the bright side with all of my might
If this is the last day I spend with you
Then let it be joyful, authentic and true

Just for today I’ll be happy and bright
Just for today I’ll let go of the fight
Just for today I’ll love all that I am
Just for today I won’t give a damn
Just for today I won’t give a damn

One Day at a Time

This song is about Joe Walsh’s recovery from heavy alcohol and cocaine addictions. As Joe put it “I got sober. It was not easy, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and I had to stop and learn how to do everything over again sober”. He then had “a wonderful life,” as he put. This song was released in 2012 and you can listen to it on YouTube and here are the lyrics for “One Day at a Time”.

Well I finally got around to admit that I might have a problem
But I thought it was just too damn big of a mountain to climb
Well I got down on my knees and said hey
I just cant go on livin’ this way
Guess I have to learn to live my life one day at a time

Oh yeah, one day at a time
Oh yeah, one day at a time

Here Comes the Sun

Another Beatles song, this one written by George Harrison and, as part of the Abbey Road album, was released in 1969. As someone put it, “To me Here Comes the Sun is a good metaphor to forget the dark, cold past, and bask in the new warm sunlight, because good is on its way…” Well said.  Here are the lyrics and here it is on YouTube.

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Which song do you like most? Are there other songs that have helped you in recovery? For a PDF of the article (with all the links) click here: Songs about Recovery.


15 Responses

  1. Alan Smith says:

    Wonderful songs!

    Here’s a song I wrote about recovery: Still Need Love.

  2. Lori R says:

    I love Jennifer Holliday’s I Am Changing:

    Walking down that wrong road
    There was nothing I could find
    All those years of darkness
    Looking for some light
    But now I can see

  3. Tom K. says:

    Amazing Grace is my all-time favorite. These are all heart warming, inspiring tunes that any of us can get strength and hope from. Thanks.

  4. Richard B. says:

    Hello Everybody!

    Happy 24!… I am reading a lot about being down and out, but not too much about solutions and what is truly uplifting.

    This song by Tracey Chapman really inspires me!!


    If you knew that you would die today
    Saw the face of God and love
    Would you change?
    Would you change?
    If you knew that love can break your heart
    When you’re down so low you cannot fall
    Would you change?
    Would you change?
    How bad, how good does it need to get?
    How many losses? How much regret?
    What chain reaction would cause an effect?
    Makes you turn around
    Makes you try to explain
    Makes you forgive and forget
    Makes you change?
    Makes you change?
    If you knew that you would be alone
    Knowing right, being wrong
    Would you change?
    Would you change?
    If you knew that you would find a truth
    That brings up pain that can’t be soothed
    Would you change?
    Would you change?
    How bad, how good does it need to get?
    How many losses? How much regret?

  5. Freddy D. says:

    A Mike Zito gem: I Was Drunk.

  6. Freddy D says:

    Recovery by Walter Trout.

  7. Freddy D says:

    This is absolutely one of the best songs about recovery I’ve ever heard: To Begin Again. Walter Trout has over 35 years of sobriety.

  8. Ish R. says:

    Spirit Bird – Xavier Rudd.

    Follow the Sun – Xavier Rudd.

  9. Scott H says:

    Tom Petty’s song Learning to Fly has always resonated with me.

    I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
    Coming down is the hardest thing

    That pretty much describes my 20 year journey to sobriety.

  10. Megan W Moyer says:

    Fantastic post!!

  11. Thomas B. says:

    Wonderful to realize that music, especially the Beatles, has evolved, just as my life, clean & sober, has evolved.

    I now am a proud member of the “old geezers club” and am just as judgmental today about the “young-uns” music as my Benny Goodmen & opera-loving parents were about my Rock-n-Roll music in the ’50s & ’60s . . . 😉

  12. Oren says:

    “I Can See Clearly Now” will always be associated in my mind with my recovery. It had reached #1 in the USA ratings a couple of months before my last drink (January 25, 1973). Everything about Johnny Nash’s recording seemed to resonate with the hope and energy I felt about accepting and surrendering to sobriety. The essential simplicity of the lyrics, melody, and chord structure – but with that surprising and sophisticated key change for the bridge – the laid-back but compelling rhythm, the undistorted purity of the synthesizer accompaniment (and his voice), it all seemed like a wonderful synchronicity to help me find the right path. I have loved that recording (and the song itself) for the past 48 years.

  13. Bob K says:

    Here is the ALL-TIME BESTEST!!!

    The X Factor by Chris Rene – Young Homie HD – YouTube

  14. Bob K says:

    “Let It Be” makes lists of the greatest songs of all time, but the George Harrison song is brilliant and I LOVE “I Can See Clearly Now.”

  15. Bobby Freaken Beach says:

    If indeed relapse is a part of freaken recovery, I’ll go with the Toby Keith classic – I Love This Bar.

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