On Saturday, August 1st, Ricky Byrd, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician and inspirational leader of Sunrise Detox’s Music in Recovery groups, will keynote the 2015 National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) and Behavioral Healthcare Leadership Summit.
Rockin' for Recovery : A Man and his Guitar
The Celebrity Keynote is entitled “Rockin for Recovery: A man and his guitar” will chronicle Ricky Byrd's own experiences with addiction, his discovery of the Sunrise Detox "Detox with Dignity" program, and the subsequent collaborations that led him to passionately and artfully help people in recovery, using music.
NCAD Annual Conference and Sunrise Detox
NCAD is a national conference that provides a diverse educational curriculum on the prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery management of addictions that affect various genders, generations, and cultures.
Sunrise Detox operates medical detox centers in New Jersey, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia, providing the first stage of treatment for those seeking help with substance abuse and the co-ocurring health issues associated with addiction and substance use disorders.
After completing a 3-10 day detox, individuals continue on into rehab or outpatient treatment programs. Sunrise Detox is proud to see Ricky taking the stage at NCAD, amplifying the impact or our collaborative work at Sunrise Detox drug and alcohol detox centers in Toms River and Stirling (Morris County), New Jersey.
Rock and Roll Recovery, the Hard Way
For Ricky Byrd, the road to recovery wasn't an easy one. The former guitarist for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts notes that he actually got sober while on tour, where he was surrounded by drugs and alcohol. He didn't have the privilege of a residential treatment center, but acknowledges the value of caring, professional support for those in recovery, and the role music can play in that process.
Music and Recovery Groups at Sunrise Detox
Ricky uses his own experiences with recovery and his music in his work with the patients at Sunrise Detox. Working with a Sunrise Detox Addictions Counselor, Ricky comes in and plays music for the patients twice a week at the Stirling and Toms River Sunrise Detox facilities, which usually prompts some discussion and storytelling. He says the reactions he gets are often "overwhelming".
“The therapeutic value of the music is ridiculous,” Byrd said, like a true rockstar. “As an artist and songwriter, ...when I play a love song and you see a girl crying... it seemed like a no-brainer to write some recovery based tunes and play it for patients. They get overwhelmed."
Detox is the First Step towards Recovery
Working closely with Addiction Counselors, Ricky has seen the impact his musical storytelling has on those just starting down the path to recovery. "this [detox] is the first step. They [patients] feel low self-esteem and beat up and coming off of whatever they were on. They feel miserable."
Music has a way of uniting groups together, and helping to engender community, which is an important part of early recovery. Often individuals caught up in addiction have been isolated, are fearful, and often defensive. "I try to break [the defensive barriers] down so, they will be a little more open with the counselors."
Byrd says he constantly sees people crying or nodding when he plays his music. People come up and tell him that they feel like he has written their life story. Individuals often re-discover emotion, feelings, and senses as they detox from depressants, pain killers, and opiates. Their minds and bodies were altered during months or even years of substance abuse.
"I had one kid that started crying," Byrd said, on a recent visit to Sunrise Detox. "He was a big bruiser of a kid. He had been there like 6 times and apologized to me [for crying]. I told him "dude, your feeling man. That's part of sobriety. That's great."
Helping to Support Recovery with Music
Ricky Byrd will share these stories and more at the NCAD Summit. He will share what he has learned in his 27 years of sobriety, his time at Sunrise Detox, and how he is able to apply those experiences to his everyday life. Ricky is also promoting his band Clean Getaway, and will be signing CDs at the event. Clean Getaway mostly plays at charity events and fundraisers and Byrd plays many of his hit recovery songs, including the popular hit “Broken is a Place”.
Update: See the video of Ricky Byrd at NCAD2015