Friday, March 26, 2010

“We Weren’t Born to Follow”

Someone once said, “music is what feelings sound like”. Just as music is the sound of feelings, I believe one can make the argument that, “lyrics are the speech of the heart.” Words have the power to change us just as a melody affects our emotions.

There are so many hit songs with immediately recognizable lyrics. For example, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was just sung on the Grammy’s by Mary J. Blige giving the song a generational rebirth over 30 years after it’s original introduction to the public’s consciousness.

Likewise, Kool and the Gang wrote an international hit in the song “Celebration”. This song is played at every wedding, party, and funeral (just kidding) all over America. Yet, perhaps it most poignant moment was when it was blasted out loud in 1981 when the Iran hostages were successfully rescued and returned to America. Everyone identified with the powerful lyrics of the song and freedom was celebrated indeed!


Which brings us to the song I’d like to share this month by the rock band Bon Jovi called “We Weren’t Born to Follow”. Part of addiction recovery is having a positive attitude. One of the hardest parts of early recovery is resisting peer pressure to join the party crowd again. For most addicts, this social group was the source of their identity. This group often gave their life meaning and identity. Most people don’t join such a group with the intention of getting a “purpose” or “identity” but for many it seems to do the trick. And, as they fall victim to chemical peer pressure, they soon become nothing more than the blind being led by the blind.

Recovery teaches a different principle. In the words of Bon Jovi, recovery teaches that, “we weren’t born to follow.” This song is the quintessential call to stand strong and face life on life’s term without joining the crowd. Jovi croons, “come on and get up off your knees, when life is a bitter pill to swallow, you gotta stand up for what you believe.” Standing up for what you believe is not always easy especially in early recovery. But part of getting better is learning to swallow the bitter pill of non-conformity and finding out it does the body good! x

The song continues, “believe that the sun will shine tomorrow, And that your saints and sinners bleed, We weren't born to follow, You gotta stand up for what you believe” An important part of recovery is the belief that life is going to get better. Much like the hope one has on a cloudy day that the sun will indeed come out again. The statement regarding saints and sinners bleeding is really saying, “hey, everyone has stuff that goes wrong in life.” In spite of that, stand up because recovery is about leading not following and changing the world one sober moment at a time. So, of course, just as the song ends, so shall this article end, “let me hear you say yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah!” [insert big guitar chords ringing out, drums crashing, and the ear splitting roar of the crowd!]

Chris Newcoomb - Aftercare Coordinator

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