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Recovery through Creativity

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Sober College holds live talent shows every six weeks in its arts warehouse. The event showcases original music written and performed by Sober College students, and the event is live streamed online, so the students’ accomplishments can be shared and enjoyed by friends and family who can’t attend Family Weekend.

 

With the Creative Arts Program at Sober College, students don’t just learn how to draw or play the guitar. They learn to live successful, happy, sober lives.

Sarah was sitting behind the drum kit in the live room, clearly lost in thought, when her boss walked in.

But Sarah wasn’t in a music studio in Woodland Hills, California. She was 2,000 miles away in her hometown, Cedartown, Georgia, in her sixth-grade music class. A tomboy, she told her instructor she wanted to play the drums. “Girls don’t play drums,” he said, handing her a xylophone mallet.

So back in the music studio, when her boss asked her what she was thinking about, the studio assistant swiveled around on the drum throne and told him about her childhood dream of being a drummer. Her boss listened intently before handing her the drumsticks.

More than 10 years after Sarah was told she couldn’t play the drums, she had her first lesson with Grammy-nominated drummer Mikey Martin of the American rock band Shiny Toy Guns.

Girls do play drums

“It’s awesome,” Sarah says. “It feels good to not let past experiences hinder me from moving forward and pursuing something. Mikey is not only giving me drum lessons, but also he’s helping me move forward from past experiences that have damaged me.”

That’s what the Creative Arts Program at Sober College is all about: using art therapy, from playing instruments to directing films to making ceramics, to explore new boundaries and manage stress and emotions in sobriety.

“The Creative Arts Program is the soul of Sober College,” says Founder and Managing Partner Robert Pfeifer.

Combining College and Rehab

With more than 26 years of experience in the fields of education and chemical dependency treatment, Pfeifer has worked with a lot of young adults struggling with addiction. When he opened Sober College, his goal was to make treatment as tolerable as possible: The longer a young adult is in treatment, the better chance Pfeifer and his team have at helping them prepare for long-term sober and independent living.

Creative Arts Coordinator and Shiny Toy Guns drummer Mikey Martin creates a professional studio vibe inside the Sober College music studio. Students meet in the music studio to write lyrics and music, record songs, or just jam on the many instruments available.

Creative Arts Coordinator and Shiny Toy Guns drummer Mikey Martin creates a professional studio vibe inside the Sober College music studio. Students meet in the music studio to write lyrics and music, record songs, or just jam on the many instruments available.

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