Here is a testimonial from our most recent client. We had a successful teambuilding program held in Nashville, Tennessee.
Like so many great ideas, Recovery Unplugged, and its sister non-profit organization, the Face The Music Foundation, came into being out of a conversation about a problem.
One of the many things that make this particular conversation special, at least to you and us, is that this meeting of the minds took place right here in Florida’s Hollywood.
The problem, which we hear about constantly, is the rise of addiction among not just kids and illegal drugs, but also working adults, and seniors, with alcohol and prescription drugs too. And what’s worse, the existing methods for treating these addictions are just not working very well. Only ten percent of people completing traditional rehab programs are able to stay clean and sober.
It’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of recovery services and all too common for individuals affected by addiction to cycle in and out of rehab several times throughout their recovery process.
Enter Recovery Unplugged, with a new approach using the power of music as a catalyst for positive and long-lasting change. And now, with its sister/partner non-profit, the Face The Music Foundation, what it’s out to do is to transform the entire addiction treatment industry, with a new, three-pronged, approach: treatment and relapse prevention for those afflicted, working with kids to prevent the problem before it starts, and reducing the stigma associated with addiction.
Recovery Unplugged was an idea, says Paul Pellinger, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder, born out of frustration. After more than 20 years working in the recovery area, as a court liaison helping to put criminals with drug-related offenses into rehab rather than prison, and as a consultant helping open drug rehab centers, he was frustrated with the low success rates the rehabs were experiencing. He knew that there had to be a better way to get to the source of the issues causing addiction, and help the people suffering from it.
A Crazy Idea
“There are,” Pellinger said, “some universal truths. One is that everyone loves music. It communicates to the soul. In all my years in the recovery and treatment industry, one thing I’ve never heard anyone say is ‘I hate music.’
“So I had this idea to combine music and music therapy with different kinds of tried-and-true addiction treatment programs to create positive and long-lasting change. We could use music to help clients maintain what they learn, actually sending them home from treatment with musical prescriptions specifically designed for them, aimed at their hearts, not their heads, to engage them to have more long-lasting effects.”
Addiction And Crime
“Those dependent on illicit substances are responsible for a disproportionate number of crimes,” he stated. “Marshall will back me up on this. This is why he dedicated his life to this.”
In the courts, Pellinger had worked closely for many years with Marshall Geissler, a local criminal attorney who was also frustrated with the system. Geissler was instrumental in the formation of the Broward County Drug Court in the late ‘80s. And Geissler did indeed agree.
“As a criminal attorney with 32 years in this field,” he said, “I can tell you that it goes beyond the 80/20 rule. I would say that 95% of the people I represent are with me because of drugs or alcohol. And the vast majority of my clients are good people who just made some bad choices.”
Geissler was intrigued by Pellinger’s ideas, and introduced him to a client of his, Hollywood businessman Andrew Sossin. For Sossin, the problem of addiction hit closer to home.
“Quite frankly,” said Sossin, “there were people in my family with drug and alcohol abuse problems, including my mother-in-law, and I was getting tired of paying for rehab programs that didn’t work.”
So the three got to talking, and in 2013, Recovery Unplugged was born.
Early on, Recovery Unplugged hooked into the natural connection with the music world and tapped well-known award-winning singer-songwriter Richie Supa of Aerosmith fame as the Director of Creative Recovery.
“It’s important to know, there’s a lot of science behind what we’re doing; this is not a gimmick,” explained Pellinger. “This is not something where you go home and listen to a song and that will combat addiction. We have medical professionals and licensed clinicians implementing proven techniques to reach the root problem, and using music to connect with the brain’s hardwired reward system.”
Along with curing the problem of addiction, both Recovery Unplugged and its partner, the Face The Music Foundation, are working to transform the stigma of the disease.
“Music will always find its way in: there’s no defense against it,” said Richie Supa.
And the bottom line is, it’s working. The Recovery Unplugged system is producing statistics unheard of in the rehab community.
Where the norm is a staggering 90% failure rate, “Ours is four times better,” said Pellinger. “Now, that’s still 60% relapsing, but I choose to look at it as that many more thousands of lives we’re saving. And, we have a 95% approval rating from clients, and the number of clients who leave us ‘against medical advice’ before their scheduled treatment is complete is less than ten percent — that’s over five times better than the average — which directly correlates to better outcomes.”
The Addict Next Door
Only about three percent of addicts are the classic “skid row alcoholics,” according to Pellinger.
“The other 97% are people like us, they have jobs, are functioning, don’t necessarily have track marks and a red nose and a brown paper bag; every single one of us has been directly or indirectly affected by addiction,” he averred.
“There have been two deaths in the last 24 months, right here in the religious community in Hollywood where I grew up,” Sossin noted. “Here we have an eclectic pool of people from different cultures, a wide range of populations. I would say that where we live is a microcosm of the country, because we have such diversity, and we have all kinds of people having these issues. I know, because I am approached almost on a weekly basis, right here in Hollywood, by people of all ages. Last week I met someone who was 21, and a grandmother who was 66.
“That’s why we’re here. And we’re just getting started. ”
Addressing the Stigma of Addiction
Along with curing the problem of addiction, both Recovery Unplugged and its partner, the Face The Music Foundation, are working to transform the stigma of the disease. It helps, said Pellinger, that the CDC recently reclassified addiction as a brain disease. And it also helps that so many of the famous people who made the drug culture so alluring are now on the sober bandwagon, making it hip to be straight.
“I was clear from the beginning, maybe more so than my partners, that the idea of using music to help cure addiction was a cool idea and it was going to work,” said Pellinger. “But even I had no idea that we would attract so many famous and legendary musicians who are now a part of what we do such as Dion, from Dion and the Belmonts, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Richie Supa who I already mentioned, rocker Candlebox, rappers Flo Rida and Ty Dolla $ign, Liberty DeVitto, who is the drummer from the Billy Joel Band, Morris Day from Morris Day and the Time…the bottom line is that as far as the stigma, these people are ‘out there’ that they’re in recovery, so we are using them as influencers to change the stigma, and to help people see that addiction is a serious disease.”
Face The Music
Wanting to help as many people as possible and never turn anyone away for lack of funds, the trio founded the Face The Music Foundation, the fund-raising and awareness-building partner of the organization.
The Face the Music Foundation, like Recovery Unplugged, says Pellinger, was also born out of frustration. Too many addicts were still ending up dead or in jail before they could get help because they didn’t have money or insurance.
“Not my clients,” quipped Geissler.
“So we came up with another cockamamie idea,” said Pellinger. “What if we created our own 501(c)(3)? We already had a brilliant, Grammy award-winning songwriter on the board!”
“We could put on events, (like the one we did recently at the Circle in Hollywood, added Sossin), where the goal would be to raise awareness, solicit sponsors, build community partnerships and raise money for scholarships.”
In 2014, they started the Face the Music Foundation and began to build a schedule of music and outreach events and community programs.
The search for a new executive director for the foundation in 2018 brought the trio together with Hollywood musician, team-building and non-profit pro Jeff Jacob. Sossin and Jacob had been communicating via email and phone about Jacob joining the organization when they found themselves seated together at a Jewish holiday dinner. It was, as they say, Besheret (fate).
“I believe that everything I’ve done personally and professionally up to this point has led me to be with these guys now,” said Jacob, “helping to solve this problem, and like Andrew said before, we’re just getting started.”
While the primary goal of Recovery Unplugged is to help people get and stay sober, the leadership team of the two organizations are clear that their work doesn’t stop there.
This cutting-edge treatment is now available in five locations: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Lake Worth, Florida; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin, Texas and Northern Virginia, with new facilities slated to open in the near future.
More importantly, Jacob believes, is to work within the communities they serve, to prevent addictions before they start.
Face the Music runs a program called Get In Tune, established with grant money from the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. Get in Tune is a prevention and awareness program which uses music to help underserved adolescents ages 12 -18 cope with situations such as bullying, abuse, divorce, and addiction.
“We are fortunate to partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward county and are in our second year, based on the success of the first year. The kids love us and we are overwhelmed to be able to help as many children as we possibly can,” says the Foundation’s website.
Another program, called Grace Notes, works with recovering musicians to bring music to underserved populations such as senior and special needs residences.
“Putting people into service and keeping them busy and purposeful helps them stay clean and sober,” said Jacob.
“We have now gotten requests to expand these programs into other organizations besides the Boys and Girls Clubs, and into other cities, and we should have some funding coming in to do so,” he said proudly. “In fact, at this moment we are preparing to launch programs in every major city in Tennessee in 2020.”
Keeping the Faith
People have asked if Recovery Unplugged and Face The Music are faith-based organizations.
Not in the traditional sense, said Jacob.
“But we do have faith; Faith that music can do amazing things.”
After seven years of beating the odds and increasing successes, it looks like Recovery Unplugged is indeed doing that.
“Recovery Unplugged shows that music can be magic,” said supporter Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. “It can be a healing experience.”
When you’re building something special, the beginnings rarely look anything like the “end-product.” For example, this old shipping pallet, partially torn apart over a weekend…hammer, saw, pry bar…trial and error…measuring… certainly doesn’t look anything like what it’s parts will evolve into, as I turn them into something that looks a LOT better than the old wallpaper they are starting to cover up in the kitchen in the new house.
Similarly, the glitzy moments such as here where I’m fortunate enough to be hanging out backstage with legendary Music Producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Green Day, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul Asylum) and Recovery Unplugged Co-Founder Andrew Sossin at a Benefit Concert for Face The Music Foundation, at The famed Riviera Theatre in Chicago…these moments are not really what it’s about. Rather, it’s about moments like this other picture here where I’m with our resident maestro on fiddle, Carl Schmid, and Roosevelt from a local Boys & Girls Club that we recently teamed up with for one of our educational programs…“Get In Tune!” (looking for funding by the way, just saying!) These sessions work towards breaking the cycle of addiction through music. Early on, before the disease can take root… On the streets, where it’s real, just watch the music heal.
Whether your re-purposing old wood shipping pallets, and trying to find just the right size board, the right color tone, the right texture, or trying to assemble a first class Board of Directors, or Creative Team, it’s all about patience, open-mindedness, creativity, vision, heart. That’s how you turn the individual notes, into a beautiful chord of music.
Amidst the opioid crisis in a world where music and the arts continue to disappear from American classrooms, Face The Music Foundation and Recovery Unplugged place a premium on music as a critical part of the recovery process.
“These type of events remind us of how much energy and passion can be galvanized by something as unifying as music,” said Face The Music Foundation Executive Director Jeff Jacob Monday night in Chicago backstage at the Riviera Theatre prior to the Face The Music Foundation benefit concert. “Music is one of the only universal languages. So we believe that it not only brings people together but that it has healing properties. There’s proof to show that music can actually put someone on a positive path and help them sort of put a new foundation under them of solid ground.”
Founded in 2014, as the non-profit arm of Recovery Unplugged, the Foundation seeks to generate the resources necessary to help those who might otherwise not be able to afford to enter substance abuse treatment by creating treatment scholarships.
Recovery Unplugged takes things further, directly integrating music into the recovery process, with a stated mission “to provide hope and healing for individuals affected by addiction using the power of music.”
“It’s rare still that type of therapy. But I think it’s one of the best types of therapy that people can go through,” said producer and Garbage drummer Butch Vig. “I’ve been playing music all my life and it’s therapy for me. I think it’s a pretty incredible program where music is part of the recovery process.”
Monday night in Chicago, Vig performed with Garbage as the benefit’s headlining act, working with dkmedia and Charity Bomb alongside openers Slow Mass and Jam Alker Band to raise awareness and funds for both charitable groups.
“I myself am a recovering addict. Five years ago, I was killing myself shooting heroin on the west side of Chicago. Now I’m part of an event that is raising money to get people into treatment that is music based,” said Jam Alker. “I started playing music again when I was in treatment just over four and a half years ago and it changed my life. I began to heal some of the deepest wounds inside of me by using music as a way to express and process the underlying trauma that had led to my addiction. It’s something that’s been a passion of mine and so I got involved with Face the Music Foundation.”
Garbage’s touring bass player, former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, is also a recovering addict. Like many musicians, Garbage see the impact the disease can have on a daily basis.
“I hope that the event can bring awareness and bring an acute sense of urgency to absolutely every single one of the attendees. Because we all know that we are less than one degree away from someone with an invisible disease,” said event director, dkmedia principal and owner David Kinsler. “It’s indisputable: Music creates emotion. It evokes. And that’s what it was always meant to do.”
Richard Patrick of industrial alternative rockers Filter made a special opening appearance Monday night as well, singing one of Filter’s biggest hits, “Take a Picture,” with backing from Chicago-based Jam Alker Band.
Back to work with Filter co-founding member Brian Liesegang for the first time in more than twenty years on the forthcoming album Rebus, Patrick spoke candidly before the show about the role music can play in the recovery process.
“When you hear the perfect kind of music for the mood you’re in, it can bring pleasure, happiness, anger and exhilaration that only a few things can. So I think it’s important to have music in recovery,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s also important just to even hear this is an actual possibility that you can get sober and you can be happy.”
Monday night over the course of about ninety minutes, Garbage hit upon virtually every corner of their recorded catalog, placing most focus on their 1998 album Version 2.0 following a tour last year which featured full performances of the album in recognition of it’s 20th anniversary.
The group worked a snippet of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” into “Wicked Ways” early and vocalist Shirley Manson gave the fans a choice later, letting them decide by show of applause whether the band would close the show with “Bleed Like Me” or “When I Grow Up.” “It pleases me to f-ck with my band,” said the vocalist of her process as the crowd roared its approval for the latter.
“Sometimes you hear about bands that say they want to change the world with their music. And there is some truth to that. Because a song can affect someone’s personal life in a way that is way beyond what the artist intended,” said Vig. “When we make music, we record and write and go through the whole process kind of in a bubble. We do it for ourselves as our own form of therapy. And when you put music into the world, how it affects people, you never know really what’s going to happen. But it’s very gratifying to hear that kind of connection with people – that the music has a healing power.”
Manson went onto decry the lack of a union for musicians on stage Monday in Chicago, ultimately praising the work of groups like Recovery Unplugged and Face The Music Foundation. For his part, during turbulent times in America, Vig sees real value in the role of the musician.
“I think the most important thing that an artist can do, whether it’s conscious or unconscious, is get people to think,” he said. “I don’t think any music fan wants to get hit over the head with slogans or be told what to do. But a great song can reach out to you on an emotional level, or even a sociopolitical level, and make you think about the world that we live in.”
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “In 2016, an estimated twenty-one million people aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment,” translating to nearly 1 in 13 people. As the opioid crisis continues in America, the work of groups like Face The Music Foundationand Recovery Unplugged is more important than ever.
Raising awareness of the fact that recovery is even a real possibility is crucial to Richard Patrick.
“It’s a disease. I never wanted it. I woke up and I was way in – really deep into addiction. And now I’m a healthy, contributing member of society that can help other people. And that’s the best part of it – helping other people,” Patrick said. “I get all these people who say, ‘Is this real? Can I really get sober?’ Well I did it. And I can only speak for myself but if you can believe in yourself just a little bit, you can do it. I’m just spreading the message that you can get sober. Literally you can save people’s lives just by being a good example.”
Find the original article here.
Ever been to a good, authentic Irish Pub? You’d know it if you had. Dark wood, soft lighting, dark humor, darker beer, bright smiles. You know the place right? Oh, also a good Irish Pub will almost always have an acoustic duo or trio in a corner playing a combination of foot-stompin, Celtic drinking songs, and cry me a river Irish ballads.
At The Field, on Griffin Road every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night a trio called “Celtic Bridge” takes the stage. And as I experienced last night, the regulars at THIS Irish Pub, love their string-band music. Man, do they!
Celtic Bridge is comprised of John Schreiber – bass, guitar, vocals, Roisin Dillon – fiddle, and Ade Peever -guitar, vocals.
The band plays a mixture of traditional Irish jigs and reels, Irish and Scottish folk songs, original songs, and popular music from various genres. The band borrows liberally from the catalog of The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, Christy Moore, Van Morrison and The Chieftains, Dick Gaughan, Robert Burns, Lunasa, Crooked Still, Planxty, Andy Irvine, and Paul Brady. They also sprinkle in original songs by Ade Peever, original tune arrangements by John and Roisin, and the occasional mountain, old-time and Appalachian influenced tunes.
Ade and John have a great stage presence, and it’s clear to anyone paying who is attention, that these guys LOVE the collaborative music-making process. For them, making music is not just a collaboration between musicians on the stage….but also a joint exercise in merry, melody making with the audience themselves.
And Roisin on Fiddle simply rocks. She’s played in string bands all around the world, and these days Hollywood is very fortunate to have her as the string shredder of the house band at our own local establishment.
The band takes requests, cues the audience when to clap on certain songs, stomp their feet on others….or chime in with a line of a song such as “I think I’ll have a pint!” All of this interaction leads to a truly unique evening of entertainment. Playing live music requires a live audience if you know what I mean. Certainly, some kinds of music engage in different ways, but in a genre and setting which demand a true give and take with the audience, these guys didn’t let us down.
About halfway through the 2nd set, The fellow on the barstool next to me walked up to the stage and dropped a few bucks in the request jar. “Galloway Girl”, an old Irish ballad was the tune he wanted to hear. As the band plowed through this emotional melody, I looked his way through the corner of my eyes. I could see he was tearing up during the first chorus. Who doesn’t love a good cry?
This song was followed by foot stompers and hand clappers such as “Finnegan’s Way”, and “The 200-Year-Old Alcoholic.” These songs that I was previously unfamiliar with, now are on my list to look into further, and maybe even learn myself to have some fun on the guitar. The songs of the Irish are often poignant, often festive, and often humorous. Sometimes, all in the same title.
I can’t wait to dig deeper into original recordings by Ade and visit again with these guys. They make Hollywood proud. If you want to visit them check out their Facebook page for more information. Another Guinness please barkeep!
Email Jeff Jacob if you have a local band you’d like us to check out!
Find the original article here.
So, I’m sitting on a colorful blanket under a palm tree on Hollywood Beach. Having found a little shade in the heat of the day, I am content. Toes in the sand, I have a notebook and pencil with me.
There is sand, breeze, and salt in the air. Heavenly. About an hour into my “allotted” two-hour window, (how much money I’d put in the meter), I noticed the sand around my blanket was moving. Little red ants were going about their business.
At first, I was startled. I love all things outdoors, but some of the DNA in my family tree does not.
However, I’m not them, and they’re not me, right? Trying to be calm about it, I use hands and feet to push piles of sand around me and move the ants (without harming them..mostly) away from the blanket. Surely, they would get the point if I kept digging these moats and building these…well, ant “defense” hills?
Nope. These industrious critters kept on their merry mission. United and focused on the task at hand. They seemed to be working together towards a purpose of higher calling. One that largely involved moving around my blanket, though not on it. Mostly. Some of them did make it onto the blanket as I held still and tried to focus on my book, the ocean, the breeze… is something crawling on my leg? Nope, nothing there, wait….nope nothing. Oh, there’s one. Crap.
I was fascinated by their determination, their collaborative instincts. The way they worked together reminded me of an article I once read about a forest of trees all of whose roots were connected. They communicated with one another in an organic, almost mystical way.
This red army was on their own little scavenger hunt for who knows what…food? Building materials? A Ms. Pac Man machine with a joystick that works well? Not sure what, but they had a mission, and somehow they were energetically connected. Did they ever quarrel? They must sometimes.
I recently saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Queen, like all bands, had their fights. But they also did some amazing work through collaboration.
Did you know that infamous foot stomping, drum-banging part at the start of “We Will Rock You” was not Freddie’s invention? Rather, it stemmed from the genius of guitarist Brian May. At the start of a rehearsal that Freddie hadn’t yet arrived at, May got tired of waiting and pitched his idea to the band of somehow involving the audience in part of this new song. Giving them their “own part.” Can you hear it? Stomp, stomp, clap…stomp, stomp, clap!
If you are inspired to do something collaborative with the entire community, join us in our annual city-wide scavenger hunt. We’ll challenge you, have fun, get to know each other, shine a light on some local non-profits, and celebrate all the good that Hollywood has to offer!
Here and everywhere, we are intrinsically interconnected. Amidst the daily grind, it’s easy to forget how nearly every action we take, or decision we make, has a domino effect on the ones around us. A butterfly effect if you will. Keep that in mind every day, every moment. At work and at home.
Think about it. Stay present. Give, collaborate, lift up your neighbor, breathe, rinse, repeat and do it again. Dare to see through the eyes of the other, dare to truly listen, be a great friend, an inspirational teammate, a leader who makes a difference.
United all boats rise.
All together now, get to it.
Find the original article here.