Youth story: Healing Through Music and Community Support

Mark had been sober for five days but was still battling the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal. He was finding it increasingly difficult to deal with the symptoms on his own. One of the ways we work to help young people dealing with addiction is by identifying coping mechanisms.

In getting to know Mark, youth workers Tatianna and Ben learned that his key coping mechanism is playing his electric guitar, which was unfortunately broken. This added a hurdle, making his recovery particularly difficult for him to face alone.

While Mark had only been with us for a short time, it was immediately clear how much his guitar meant to him. Helping to get it fixed might be the motivation Mark needed to maintain his sobriety. More than that, it would show Mark that his needs and his passions matter. So, Tatianna and Ben got right to work, and had various staff members try their hand at fixing the guitar.

Alas, the break required expert repair. Tatianna reached out to a local music shop and shared how important music was in maintaining Mark’s sobriety. In fact, it could even ultimately save his life. Understanding the healing powers of music, store manager Peter agreed to take a look at the guitar. Within a week the guitar was back in Mark’s hands, completely free of charge.

Since having his guitar fixed, Mark has often been found sharing his musical talent with staff and other young people, encouraging others to join in and providing background music for them to sing to. Mark has expressed how sincerely grateful he is to Steve’s Music Shop for their support, as well as to Tatianna and Ben for advocating for him.

With his coping mechanism well in hand, Mark is now able to take the next steps in his plan to get back on his feet. He is receiving addiction medicine support and is applying for a job training program.

Tatianna and Ben saw first-hand how incredibly resilient Mark has been in the face of extensive trauma. He continues to be a thoughtful, caring presence in the agency, sharing his talent with others and working hard toward his goals. By advocating for his interests and by reaching out for the support of caring community partners, we were able to help Mark in forging a new path driven by his passion.