International Women’s Day

8 March 2019

Today is International Women’s Day and we are taking this opportunity to share a story about a relisant woman who is using Music therapy for her recovery.

Music Heals is please to fund the music therapy program at Charlford House. Since 1970, Charlford House has provided a supportive treatment facility for women who are ready to move on from their substance addiction.

Aisha came to Charlford House for her first introduction to recovery after quarantining at Firth, as an attempt to overcome an addiction to alcohol and crack. She reports feeling hopeless and that Charlford Houses’ program was her last stitch effort to try at life. We started working together with the main goals of cultivating emotional intelligence and regulation by using music to bypass the defense mechanisms and allow her to connect with true emotion. After five months of being at Charlford House, she decided to leave as the difficulty in managing the challenging emotions became too much. This led her back into a relapse of 4 months. This is a common occurrence in recovery from addiction. However thankfully, she returned in 2018 after this relapse and was finally ready to show up to do the hard emotional work that the twelve-step program we offer requires. It was during this time that Aisha started putting into practice all that she was learning.

Our sessions have included lyric analysis, songwriting, meditation, guitar lessons, creating recovery playlists and learning to ride the waves of emotion. It was our therapeutic relationship and connection through music that allowed her to learn how to practice vulnerability and face the fear of experiencing challenging emotions, as well as cultivating a mindfulness practice. Through visualization and exploration, she has developed a relationship with her emotions as a tool, which then inspires her creative expression. After a five-month stay in our residential treatment facility, Aisha graduated from our program into our second stage program.

It is with the Music Heals funding that we have been able to continue our work to promote long lasting, fulfilling recovery that Aisha so deserves to experience. We now are continuing to cultivate self-expression through songwriting, promote accountability through following through with appointments, and expanding her awareness and mindfulness. Aisha has a very real talent at writing and performing. In our weekly sessions, we are building confidence, and preparing for a performance about her transformation in May this year. When I asked Aisha what her goals are for our sessions, she pointed to one of the main goals of successful recovery. This goal is to help other people through her music and writing, being able to carry the message of hope in the face of despair, and to offer connection in face of isolation.

Aisha is becoming a beacon of light in an often dark world of addiction. Her difficult experiences may now be used for good, giving her struggle a sense of meaning through the active process of songwriting and performance. Thank you to Music Heals for supporting women to overcome the addiction through music therapy.