5 Songs that Get Real about Recovery

Photo: freeimages.com|Olga Abolinya

Sometimes we can’t find the words to say exactly what we mean. Whether you’re filled with joy after seeing a close friend after being apart for years, or you’re shattered by the loss of someone dear to you, often it’s these moments of intense emotion that we have trouble putting words to.

That’s why listening to a song that speaks the exact emotion we are feeling is such a powerful experience. It could be the way the melody climbs and then hits a minor chord, or it could be the way the lyrics deliver a rhyme that conveys the tension between desire and restraint. But there’s something unique about music that touches the human experience.

Songs about addiction and recovery are no different. Amid many songs that idolize substance use, the following five songs stand out and boldly portray both the hope and the struggle that those in recovery face.

Not Afraid” by Eminem

Photo: flickr.com|TDjunkie

Eminem talks about the inner strength it takes to say no to a life of addiction when faced with pressure from all sides. But he offers hope that he knows he’s not the only one walking out of a former way of life.

Young Homie” by Chris Rene

Chris Rene offers encouragement to people who are struggling, disclosing that he’s struggled with alcoholism but is on the road to being sober. He finds hope through the support of his loved ones and is able to find happiness as he lives a life he is proud of.

Sober” by Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson talks about how hard recovery is. It’s a lifelong personal journey, and no one’s path looks the same, but she reminds herself how far she’s come. And that gives her strength to push on.

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Recover” by Natasha Bedingfield


Recovery is a long process. But Natasha Bedingfield offers hope that “the worst is over now” and it is worth holding on and pressing forward.

Starting Over” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Macklemore talks about what it’s like to be sober for three years and then mess up. He talks about the shame and the pain of telling loved ones that he slipped up, but he knows that they are still there to support him, and that each day is a choice.

These are just five out of many songs out there about the challenging road to recovery. Feel free to add your favorite that isn’t featured on the list in the comments in below!


Lizzie Timberlake is a CCPE intern and senior studying psychology at Indiana University.


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