Ep. 143: Harness the Power of Music to Stay Sober, with author Tim Ringgold, MT-BC


Image by Лечение наркомании from Pixabay 

Tim Ringgold has said that “our modern society is a breeding ground for addiction.” When we’re stressed, our brains look for soothing in the form of a substance or behavior, which can take many forms, including drugs, technology, food, work, and alcohol. We discuss why music is a powerful, efficient, and effective tool for treating and healing addictions. Tim combines neuroscience, music therapy research, psychology, and his own personal stories in his work and in this powerful conversation.


My guest today is Tim Ringgold, a board certified music therapist and author of “Sonic Recovery: Harness the Power of Music to Stay S.O.B.E.R.” In addition to his practice, Tim is an award winning international speaker, columnist, podcast host, and former Regional President of the American Music Therapy Association.

Tim Ringgold, MT-BC


We discuss:

  • Tim’s personal recovery journey.
  • Why is music a powerful, efficient, and effective tool for treating/healing addictions?
  • The S.O.B.E.R. acronym used in Tim’s book title stands for: Stay present, Open up, Be creative, Escape Stressors, and Reconnect.
  • Some favorite quotes of mine from Tim’s book:
    • “Music and addiction seem to walk hand in hand throughout the human experience… Whether intentional or not, both are effective at relieving varying levels of pain or stress in the moment. In fact, both can activate the same reward system in the brain responsible for pleasure and motivation.”
    • “…there are many things a person who is beginning a journey of recovery hopes for. Among these different wishes are:
      Hope for Pleasure and
      Hope for (Re)connection.
      Addiction provides the first at the expense of the second. Music provides both.”
  • When experiencing pain or stress, the brain has a strong motivation to soothe and bring relief before we can even think about pleasure or relational reconnection.
  • Pain can be experienced as physical pain, emotional pain, social pain, and/or spiritual pain.

Connect/Other Resources

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

Ultimate Music Business Summit 2023


Tim shares the story of his daughter, Bella, who suffered from a rare disease; and how he and his wife used music to transform Bella’s bandage changes into a time of peace instead of pain and stress.

Closing Words

WOW. As a parent, this touches me on so many levels. And since my conversation with Tim, a very close friend of my husband’s and mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So these conversations about the circle of life and death, and our deep need to be connected as humans is hitting especially close to home for me right now. Thank you SO much to Tim for sharing these powerful, personal stories with us today; and for sharing his knowledge and instruction on how music can be a powerful source of hope and healing and reconnection in the recovery process.

As you know, there are tons of links in the show notes, including a transcript of this episode and a handful of related episodes that you may enjoy. All Enhance Life with Music episodes are evergreen; so check out the back catalogue for more ways that music can make your life better. A link to the show notes page is also in the episode details right in your podcast app.

You can always connect with me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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