Can “Drinking Music” Trigger a Relapse?



I was driving Lauren and Kristin to a concert last night in St Augustine. It was an island, reggae, heart of the summer line up including Sublime and Rebolution, bands we always listened to in The Bahamas over dinners of imported steaks, hush-your-mouth-crawfish and cases of wine. With a cannabis aperitif.


The opening act was Mickey Avalon, an obscure white rapper who’s claim to fame is a funny song called “My Dick,” we also used to play as dinner music (I’ll bet you’re sorry you weren’t invited to our family suppers, right?). Lauren played it in the car to prime the concert pump. The weirdest thing happened. I was driving along in the rain, singing and laughing, and all of a sudden I wanted a drink.




Music as a Trigger…

Has this ever happened to you? I know about music therapy from my tours of Lakeview Health – how music can sooth and calm the beast of addiction, encourage communication and ignite positive memories.


But can music also be a trigger to relapse, and should alcoholics be warned, like the stickers on R-rated rap song CD covers? Warning: This Song Might Make You Nostalgic for the Drinking Days in The Bahamas and Might Even Make you Forget That The Last Time You Listened to it While Drinking,You Crashed the Golf Cart Into a Decorative Break-Wall, Lost Those Fabulous Pucci Slides in the Mangroves and Woke Up on a Strange Island…  


The BBC “Culture” says, “The hippocampus and the frontal cortex are two large areas in the brain associated with memory and they take in a great deal of information every minute. Retrieving it is not always easy. It doesn’t simply come when you ask it to. Music helps because it provides a rhythm and rhyme and sometimes alliteration which helps to unlock that information with cues. It is the structure of the song that helps us to remember it, as well as the melody and the images the words provoke.”


Apparently my brain conveniently remembers the images it wants to remember when I listen to nostalgic songs like “My Dick”. But the images of fun were certainly provoked and my memories of crazy nights in The Bahamas were unlocked… I turned to Lauren and said, “This song makes me feel like drinking.”


She changed the song to another concert primer: Sublime’s “Wrong Way”.


The cheek.


And for your listening  pleasure, the song in question:




Today I’m not drinking because I’m turning off the “drinking music”.


How come you’re not drinking?