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Hip-hop Teaches Millions About Recovery From Addiction

Hip-hop Teaches Millions About Recovery From Addiction

According to Phil Grant, an addiction therapist at Smarmore Castle, an Irish rehab clinic, “music is universal, whether it’s hip-hop, blues, rock, traditional Irish or ancient. Music is a way of communicating that doesn’t need words.” And writing about music is a good way to celebrate Recovery Month.

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Phil facilitates a drum circle at Smarmore rehab clinic in County Louth (the clinic I’m working for). “We build community through rhythm,” he says.


At Smarmore, participants in the drum circle get hands-on experience of community building by learning:

  • Respect for others in the group

  • To listen and not talk over each other

  • To have fun

  • To deal with anxiety and fear

  • To become facilitators


But they don’t do hip-hop at Smarmore and that’s what I want to write about in this article. Drum circles and other types of therapeutic music (like this one in the USA) are great, they really are. I know as I’ve participated in several drumming groups, but the truth is that they only reach a few people and the number who are affected by addiction is staggering.



My objective is to help raise awareness about recovery from addiction in Ireland and if hip-hop can help reach a wider, and younger, audience then surely that is a force for good.


On a personal level I feel enriched by researching this article as I’ve come across a type of hip-hop, the Irish variant, that I would love to explore further.


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Rupert Wolfe Murray is a freelance editor and author of the travel book 9 Months in Tibet. He’s currently working as a writer for Smarmore rehab clinic in County Louth.



Last updated & clinically assessed 30 March, 2022