Songs about Recovery

Fifty Chosen Articles:
Number Forty-Seven.
Originally posted in March 2021.

Five inspiring songs, all about living in 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


For a PDF of the article (with all the links) click here: Songs about Recovery.


 

6 Responses

  1. Witek says:

    Thank you, Roger.
    It’s a real pleasure to translate the lyrics of those wonderful songs.
    Witek, Poland

  2. Bullwinkle says:

    Jason Isbell‘s writing describes abstinence, not sobriety when he writes “It gets easier. But it never gets easy” is one that will instantly resonate with anyone who continually struggles to remain sober”. He’s confusing the symptom with the problem, especially when the absolute “never gets easy” is used in the context of recovery. The mentality “struggles to remain sober” assuming ones is not drinking, is abstinence, not sobriety.

    For me Alcoholism was on a first and second stage spectrum. I’ve known some, but not many that reached a third stage. My recovered state is where my symptoms IE., craving, obsession re: drinking was no longer a psychological issue. This was engendered by 12 Step self-examination, which is effective for those that struggle with non-substance addiction. When the symptom drinking remains a psychological problem, it’s not the recovered state, which isn’t sobriety. When I finally realized my recovery process wasn’t the symptom drinking alcoholically, that the recovery process is a life long continuum (Step 10), then I was sober.

    • Debra says:

      Very confusing comment from bullwinkle. Not sure you understand Mr. Isbells history. And I don’t recognize the comments that alcohol is on a spectrum, although that is an interesting concept. We are all different and yet the same in our addiction and sobriety. Glad your getting help.

      • Bullwinkle says:

        Debra writes “Very confusing comment from bullwinkle. Not sure you understand Mr. Isbells history. And I don’t recognize the comments that alcohol is on a spectrum, although that is an interesting concept. We are all different and yet the same in our addiction and sobriety. Glad your getting help.”

        As I stated in my first paragraph, I’ve recovered from alcoholism both physically and mentally. When I didn’t recover mentally, I was abstinent, not sober.

        It’s simple for me, but I understand when others don’t read the AA text, why it’s confusing and they don’t understand the difference between abstinence and sobriety.

        Here’s the recovery process.
        Page 25: “There is a solution. Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation.”
        Page 35: “So we shall describe some of the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem.”
        Page 64: “Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Our liquor was but a symptom. So we had to get down to causes and conditions.”

        The CRUX of my problem preceded drinking and it was discovered by self-examination.

      • Bullwinkle says:

        Debra writes “Very confusing comment from bullwinkle. Not sure you understand Mr. Isbells history. And I don’t recognize the comments that alcohol is on a spectrum, although that is an interesting concept. We are all different and yet the same in our addiction and sobriety.”

        This is patently not true, as I stated, there are 3 stages, 1, 2, 3. Most I’ve known don’t reach 3. Before my addiction to alcohol, I didn’t suffer from bipolar affective disorder which those afflicted virtually suffer the rest of their lives, sober or not. I wasn’t sexually abused, which is the case with both genders. I didn’t suffer from PTSD, but many do and not just military veterans. Depression is on a spectrum. I haven’t known an alcoholic that on some level wasn’t depressed. My depression was diagnosed situational by an MD, I had immature coping skills. The AA text suggests seeking help beyond the AA suggested program of recovery. I stopped drinking, examined why I drank, and my depression stopped and hasn’t returned.

  3. Debra says:

    Jason Isbell, the songs he wrote after his recovery that are amazing, and touched my soul. Thanks for the article and information.

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