Music Program

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Music is a universal language that allows individuals to express themselves and connect with others in a way unlike any other. Hearing certain songs can unleash a flood of emotions. Composing music can be a way to express one’s feelings when words alone are not enough.

The music program at Northbound empowers clients to engage with music in a healthy manner and promote healing through powerful self-expression. Through music therapy for addiction in Orange County, clients also learn to enjoy music-oriented events while maintaining a sustainable lifestyle in recovery.

Whether a client is a career musician or dabbles in the art, the music program at Northbound complements other therapies and creates a truly personalized approach to addiction recovery. It is not unusual for the lifestyle of a musician to dovetail with substance use.

Northbound guides individuals in navigating recovery while continuing to create and share their music in a meaningful way. Music and recovery can have a powerful bond, making music therapy a valuable tool to facilitate healing.

The Northbound Music Program provides an opportunity for clients to express themselves through a creative outlet. It involves a combination of listening to, composing, creating, moving to, and discussing music.

Clients explore how music affects mood, the interrelated nature of music and recovery, and how to express themselves in a healthy manner. Individuals are able to create, share, and record original works, as well as develop sustainable coping strategies for enjoying local music scenes and events within a lifestyle of sobriety.

How does Music Help the Healing Process?

Music is a powerful tool for healing, especially for those in early recovery. Music impacts mood – it can be a calming and relaxing way to manage stress, an invigorating and energizing force to enhance motivation, a solemn and respectful way to access deep emotions of grief and loss, and much more.

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Northbound’s Music Program teaches clients to wield this powerful tool to their greatest benefit.

Self-expression is promoted through writing lyrics and composing melodies. Individuals may find that tapping their creative side empowers them to express their emotions and feelings from a fresh perspective.

Music also provides a social connection. It is an opportunity to speak to others and connect on a deeper level while working through one’s own challenges and successes.

Northbound’s Music Program

Northbound’s Music Program goes beyond only listening to or talking about music. It is a comprehensive program that offers clients the opportunity to see what life is like as a musician in active recovery. Once a week, each gender-specific experiential music group explores the connection between music and addiction, examining the effects on their own life.

Clients listen to music, but also compose their own original pieces. Once a month, each gender-specific group is given eight hours at a recording studio to produce original work. Clients learn from one another and professionals in the music industry. Clients in the program benefit from having a tangible product to share with others and remind them how far they have come in their addiction recovery journey.

The music program is an extension of treatment available in both residential and outpatient programs. Clients not only work with music onsite and in the recording studio, there are also a variety of music-oriented recreational outings allowing clients to interact with music in real-life settings.

Individuals apply the healthy coping skills they have been developing during supervised trips. Clients learn to balance a musician’s lifestyle with a lifestyle of recovery through experiential opportunities.

Clients at Northbound live life on life’s terms and develop an individualized approach to treatment that is tailored to their unique needs. The music program is one way that addiction treatment is personalized to give each client the best possible chance for success. It is possible to be a career or recreational musician while staying sober.

Exploring the power of music and leveraging this creative outlet in rehab can open up many opportunities. Connect with music in healthy new ways and regain control of your life at Northbound.

Music Program Leadership

Northbound is proud to have Dusty Watson, a professional musician with 40+ years of experience, at the helm of this program as the Music Program Coordinator.  Dusty has been with Northbound for six years.  Dusty has a rich professional and personal background that uniquely equips him to serve in this role.  He has honed his clinical skills through his past tenures as a case manager, IOP Program Manager, and Continuing Care Coordinator.

With 25 years sober, Dusty truly knows what it means to be a musician in recovery.  He has toured both domestically and abroad with internationally renowned artists, sharing the stage with the likes of Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, Dick Dale and others; he is a co-founder and instructor at an annual music camp SSMC; and facilitates drum circles in prisons, schools and treatment facilities.

His passion for music and recovery, his clinical training and skill, his long-term dedication to the Northbound mission, and his energy for reaching out to the newcomer all make him the ideal individual to lead this valuable program.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.