Healing with Music: Recovery Unplugged

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday December 20, 2018

(l to r) Richie Supa and Steven Tyler
(l to r) Richie Supa and Steven Tyler  (Source:Recovery Unplugged)

According to loved ones, Tommy McClenahan "had a knack for making all those around him feel as though they were the most important person in the room." He fought for the underdog and had a passion for helping others. At 24 years old, McClenahan became part of an alarmingly increasing statistic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths soared over 72,000 in 2017.

Recovery is a lifelong commitment. Helping those who face addiction is the passion and dedication of Recovery Unplugged, the Face the Music Foundation, and Recovery Unplugged Records. The innovative intersection of creative therapies with inpatient, outpatient, and long-term treatment programs is changing the paradigm on how we look at alcohol and substance abuse.

(l to r) Richie Supa and Naomi Fabricant
(l to r) Richie Supa and Naomi Fabricant  

Face the Music Foundation

Face the Music executive director Naomi Fabricant is a tireless advocate for innovative treatment centers that incorporate music-based rehabilitation. She worked along Grammy-winning songwriter and guitarist Richie Supa for 15 years, cultivating an extensive and broad-reaching skill set in the music and entertainment industries. When Supa joined Recovery Unplugged as director of creative recovery and Face the Music found its footing as an extension to help advocate for resources for those seeking treatment, Fabricant was a natural fit to lead the charge.

"There's no simple answer," Fabricant admits. "The foundation helps raise money for those who don't have financial resources for treatment. However, education is just as important, using music to help kids deal with a range of day-to-day issues. We're introducing kids to all different genres with positive messages to find a way to deal and cope with a variety of situations from multi-generational families of addiction, abuse and bullying. We want to get to them before bad patterns set in and give them a skill set they can use throughout their lives."

The Get in Tune program (through Broward County's Law Enforcement Trust fund) is a three-week initiative pairing adolescents from 10 to 18 years old with licensed therapists, clinicians, and group facilitators. A partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County further connects resources to those in need.

Recovery Unplugged Records

A record label with a vision to support and encourage sober living, Recovery Unplugged Records is a natural extension of the prolific strides made at Recovery Unplugged locations around the country.

"As a fully integrated music program, we've had some amazing breakthroughs affecting hearts and souls," says Fabricant of the Recovery Unplugged treatment model. "My goal for Recovery Records is to be the standard of quality, conscious music and send that message throughout the world."

"It's designed to reach everybody who is touched by addiction," says Fabricant of the vision for the label, which includes Supa's "Enemy," an 11-track album that draws inspiration from rock, blues, country, r&b and more. Rap group Sekkond Hand has also appeared at Recovery Unplugged's Fort Lauderdale and Austin locations as part of the label's initiative.

"People forget that addiction really is a disease. We're using music as medicine in a way that can have a positive effect on anyone touched by addiction, including — but not limited to — the addict."

(Source: Getty Images)

The Ties That Bind

Addicts are often accused of considering themselves terminally unique and it's important to recognize the universality and humanity that ties us all together. That being said, those coming from the LGBTQ community often face discrimination and other obstacles that make recovery even more challenging.

Fabricant honors her brother, whom she describes as "the glue that kept our family together," through her work with the Face the Music, Recovery Records, and Recovery Unplugged. Her sibling passed away from complications from AIDS in 1991 and instilled in her a passion for helping and supporting youth struggling with sexuality, gender and body issues.

"Different songs help kids feel included. As beautiful as they are, it's sometimes hard for a 12-year-old to find the words to express feelings. That's what my vision is for Recovery Unplugged Records."

This ideology is born out of Recovery Unplugged's ethos, where Fabricant says clients "are all unique and different but given the same love. We're a family — our mission is strictly to save lives and help."

Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? Visit RecoveryUnplugged.com.

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Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.