When someone is recovering from a life-dominating issue, no matter what the problem may be, I believe they need to have what I call a Recovery Toolbox. In that Toolbox are all the resources they are using.
What’s In Your Recovery Toolbox?
The first item in your Toolbox needs to be a personal relationship with Jesus, because all healing– physical, mental, emotional, spiritual– comes from Him.
Next would be your Bible, because it is the Word of God that renews our minds.
Active participation in a local church would be your third tool, because you need a support network of people you can trust.
But there’s another tool you can use in your recovery which is often overlooked: music.
The Transformational Power of Music
The American Psychological Association states that music has therapeutic and psychological benefits for people in recovery. Studies have proven that music:
- improves the body’s immune system function;
- increases the amount of dopamine produced in the brain, which promotes feelings of wellness;
- decreases the amount of cortisol in the body, reducing stress;
- promotes self-awareness and increases self-esteem;
- provides an acceptable and safe outlet for emotional expression;
- improves memory and cognitive performance;
- reduces symptoms of depression;
- lowers blood pressure;
- improves sleep quality;
- increases personal motivation;
- helps in pain management.
Wow! No wonder God encourages us to worship Him with music!
According to the Sober College School of Addiction Studies in Los Angeles, music can help purge destructive emotions, manage stress levels, and can alleviate boredom, which is one cause of relapse.
They state, “Music can make recovery easier as it helps people manage their moods and emotions while simultaneously allowing them to feel a general sense of calmness and happiness they may not otherwise feel.”
Sounds good to me. Sign me up!
What’s Playing In Your Head?
Years ago, American Express ran a series of commercials with the tag line, “What’s in your wallet?” When it comes to recovery, the correct question is “What’s playing in your head?”
My wonderful wife Penny is an excellent example. She has been on Disability for years because of a number of health issues which result in chronic pain. Some days are better than others, but she is never pain-free. She copes with it through prayer, time in the Word, exercise, a very restricted diet, medication, and regular physical therapy. But another tool she uses is music. She often surrounds herself with praise and worship music, which helps turn her focus to God and away from her pain.
Music has also been one of my tools in handling depression. I have been on an antidepressant for decades, and fortunately my doctor found one that works very well for me. Most days I am fine, but once in awhile I have what I call a “foggy” day, when it feels like there’s an electrical storm in my brain. It is hard to focus on those days, and that’s when I pull out my Recovery Music. For me that means my favorite Christian artist, the beautiful and talented Mandisa.
Mandisa Is My Recovery Music
Some of you may remember Mandisa from her appearance on American Idol, or her concerts with Toby Mac. She has had her share of struggles and is very transparent about them, and her songs often reflect recovery themes. Her very first hit was titled “Overcomer.” Let these lyrics sink in:
Staring at a stop sign, watching people drive by, T Mac on the radio,
Got so much on your mind, nothing’s really going right, looking for a ray of hope.
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you.
You’re an overcomer, stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under, ’cause God is holding you right now.
You might be down for a moment, feeling like it’s hopeless,
That’s when He reminds you: You’re an overcomer!
Everybody’s been down, hit the bottom, hit the ground, oh you’re not alone;
Just take a breath, don’t forget, hang on to His promises,
He wants you to know: You’re an overcomer!
The same Man, the great I AM, the One who overcame death, is living inside of you.
So just hold tight, fix your eyes on the One who holds your life,
There’s nothing He can’t do.
He’s telling you: You’re an overcomer!
Such powerful words! Those are the kinds of affirmations we need to fill our minds with.
If you don’t have a Recovery Toolbox, start putting one together. And don’t forget the music!
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