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This year’s Alumni Reunion on Nov. 14 features an inspiring musical performance from John McAndrew, a Nashville-based singer, songwriter and musician.
McAndrew is no stranger to the recovery community; he has been sharing his story for nearly three decades. In that time, he has also recorded over a dozen records, and performed at honorary events such as Eric Clapton’s 25th sobriety anniversary at Crossroads Antigua and the closing ceremony of the AA convention in 2000; and he was recently submitted for Grammy nominations.
Although he has signed with a record label and has his music playing all over the world, McAndrew knows what it takes to stay grounded.
“My recovery is first,” McAndrew says. “That’s the foundation of my life, and without that I would have nothing. My recovery has influenced what I write and sing about.”
“A big part of my recovery now is to carry these messages through my music,” he says. “I’m able to be a part of this bigger picture. It means a lot to me.”
McAndrew’s songs have a hopeful, spiritual theme that listeners can relate to.
“For all audiences, whether they’re in recovery or not, everybody is trying to get home spiritually,” he says. “But those of us who are in recovery need extra work in that.”
McAndrew is passionate about engaging people through his music, in a way that invites them to explore their struggles with spirituality and find peace.
“The first requirement is to know that we can’t do it alone: We need a power greater than ourselves, and we need each other,” McAndrew says. “The hard part is to trust something higher than you. We all struggle with it.”
Even when McAndrew is on the road performing, he tries to spend extra time at treatment centers to facilitate small groups with patients focusing on music and spirituality. He is able to connect with patients on a more personal level. McAndrew is also the Director of Music Assisted Therapy at Cumberland Heights, where he leads workshops on music and spirituality.
McAndrew especially enjoys performing for those in recovery and their families at events like Oxford Treatment Center’s Alumni Reunion.
“It’s an honor for me to be a part of what works at Oxford Treatment Center,” McAndrew says. “These are the people that carry the message and take it out farther.”
McAndrew has a special fondness for seeing families come together at events like this. He sees the way they are strengthened by coming together, sharing their own stories, and knowing that they are not alone.
“To watch sobriety and recovery is really a celebration,” McAndrew says. “I just don’t think there’s anything more beautiful to see than to watch how much families can heal from the work that treatment centers do and to watch people’s lives grow. It’s so important for people to get together and be reminded of the transformation and grace and all the beautiful things that happen.”
Alumni, staff, friends and family are invited to attend the Alumni Reunion, Saturday, Nov. 14, on Oxford Treatment Center’s residential campus.