We have all had it happen. A song gets stuck in our head, and it seems like nothing can shake it loose. Some songs are well known earworms, and others might be specific to a given individual. Either way, once you hear an earworm of a song, it can stick with you for hours—or even longer. Even if you really like the song that keeps playing and playing in your head, the earworm experience can get pretty annoying. Still, it turns out there are some catchy numbers that could help you remember some important recovery lessons and strategies.
Let’s take a look (and a listen) to three of them.
Earworms for Recovery
- “Straighten Up and Fly Right”
This one dates all the way back to 1943. “Straighten Up and Fly Right” was Nat “King” Cole’s first big hit. The song tells the story of a buzzard who “took the monkey for a ride in the air.” Before too long, the buzzard tries to “throw the monkey off his back,” and that’s when the monkey makes the demand that serves as the song’s title. He tells that buzzard to “straighten up and fly right.”
At this point you might be wondering a few things. First, you might wonder why anyone would write a song about a buzzard and a monkey. Next, you might wonder how that song became a hit—one that has been covered by quite a few other artists over the years. And third, you might be wondering what any of this had to do with recovery.
Let us answer the third question. It turns out that straightening up is a great way to reduce stress. And when you reduce your overall levels of stress, you are shoring up your recovery. So, we would argue that when you straighten up, you give yourself a better chance of flying right.
- “Surfin’ Safari”
In 1961, the Beach Boys had a suggestion: “Let’s go surfin’ now/ everybody’s learning how/ come on and safari with me.” While it is a little unclear what exactly it might mean to go on a “Surfin’ Safari,” the first two lines can be a useful reminder for a person in recovery.
But the kind of surfing we are recommending is nothing like a safari—or even like “shooting the pier” or “walking the nose” (two things surfers apparently do while surfing according to “Surfin’ Safari”). Instead, we are suggesting you learn a technique known as “urge surfing.”
Urge surfing is a kind of mindfulness practice that can help you manage cravings for drugs or alcohol. The technique involves alternating your focus between the physical manifestations in your body of your cravings and your breath. You can think of a craving as a wave and your breathing as the surfboard that allows you to glide over the waves.
- “Come On Get Happy”
Here’s an early 1970’s earworm that we almost feel we should apologize for even mentioning. “Come On Get Happy” was the theme song to” The Partridge Family,” a sitcom about a family band and their misadventures. If we’re being honest, the song can seem as insipid as it is catchy.
But we’d like to call your attention to the verse:
We had a dream we’d go travelin’ together
And spread a little lovin’, then we’ll keep movin’ on
Somethin’ always happens whenever we’re together
We get a happy feelin’ when we’re singin’ a song
There are a few key themes in the verse that relate to recovery. One of them is the notion of togetherness. The song is so invested in the idea of good things happening when people are together that it actually rhymes the word with itself!
And togetherness is an important idea when it comes to recovery. Surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends is a key way to support your sobriety. So is attending 12-Step (or other recovery program) meetings. Spending time together with people who understand what you have gone through and what you are working toward is a great way to stay on track with your recovery.
We also want to highlight that last line about getting a happy feeling when they are singing. Listening to and making music are both good ways to support your mental health and your sobriety. So go ahead and belt this earworm out. It just might make you feel better and bring a smile to your face.
Here’s a Song We Like: “You’ve Got a Friend”
Whether you prefer the James Taylor version, the Carole King version, or their duet on the number, “You’ve Got a Friend” is a song that describes our commitment at Bel Aire Recovery Center.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend
You can count on our caring, professional team in Kansas to help you regain and maintain your sobriety. And that should be music to your ears.