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Rock guitarist Doug Tibbs on his battle with drugs, drinking and depression and getting sober

Posted on 07-12-2017 Posted in Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Dual Diagnosis - 0 Comments

“This sounds really cliché, but if I can do it, anybody can. Here I am, a living test of torturing my body, going through everything…from being a successful touring musician to being number whatever inmate at a federal penitentiary, being flat-lining, dead, at an ER – to here I am.” – Doug Tibbs

A gifted guitarist and a well-known musician in Jacksonville, Florida, Doug Tibbs discovered his love for music at the age of 10, when he saw Kiss, a rock band, perform on the prime time Halloween special on TV. While his love for guitar and music continued, Tibbs was unknowingly overtaken by another form of intoxication – an intoxication to drugs and alcohol. In addition to drinking heavily, Tibbs began to smoke pot, cocaine and eventually crack cocaine. Though he continued to travel and play across the country as a lead guitarist-for-hire, his addiction to drugs soon resulted in him having to pawn his equipment and serve a four-year jail term for robbery.

In 2013, Tibbs decided to end it all. He smoked $300 worth of crack cocaine and drank two-fifths of whiskey. When he reached the emergency room (ER), his blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.475, six times higher than the legal limit, and he was considered dead on arrival (DOA). The doctors, however, were successful in reviving him. Post his release from the ER and recovery stints at two rehab centers, Tibbs tried to kill himself again but was saved. When the final suicide attempt failed, Tibbs decided to fight back. On July 3, 2017, Tibbs proudly declared himself to be sober for three years.

On the path to recovery

Tibbs credits his recovery to his mother, Jane Tibbs, and his sister, Pamela Tibbs-Daylor, who were with him throughout his struggle. While Pamela kept a watchful eye on Tibbs, paid for his stays at rehab centers, and housed him whenever needed, his mother, Jane pushed him towards healing and stopped him from trying to kill himself.

Jane knew that before Tibbs became dependent on drugs and alcohol, he was suffering from depression. According to Jane, Tibbs’ problems began as early as when he was 17 years old. He had quit his school in the 10th grade and had started traveling as the youngest member of a metal band. A hired gun, Tibbs wore outrageous costumes and played wherever his agent sent him. Often isolated and depressed, playing the guitar turned out to be Tibbs way of self-medication. In 2008, Tibbs was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD), for which he takes medication, even today.

Along with her mother, Pamela agrees that when it came to recovery, music was as important as medicine for Tibbs. Sober now, the 51-year-old guitarist, wants to resume his music career and is already working on a side project with drummer Brent Smedley and bassist David Lee Redding.

Music therapy

Music, often linked to one’s mood, forms an important part of one’s daily life. While some rely on it to go through mundane daily routines others listen to it to change mood and therapists use music to bring about surprisingly beneficial effects on one’s health. Music therapy, a well-known experiential therapy, utilizes clinical and evidence-based musical interventions to address the physical, psychological, cognitive, social and mental health needs of an individual.

It allows a patient to delve deeper to access hidden thoughts and feelings and express themselves in a healthy and productive manner. In addition to treating one’s mental health and substance use disorders (SUD), music therapy also helps equip patients with necessary life skills and tools required to help them post recovery.

Seek help

A leading behavioral health care provider and addiction treatment specialist, Sovereign Health of Florida’s comprehensive dual diagnosis drug rehab treat both mental illness and substance abuse at the same time. Basis one’s symptoms of the co-occurring illness, a patient’s dual diagnosis rehab program may include detoxification, individual and group therapy, or alternative therapies including yoga, meditation, art or music therapy.

Treatment for dual diagnosis Florida involves a multidisciplinary approach to create tailor-made programs for each patient. For more information on our holistic addiction treatment programs or to locate our state-of-the-art treatment centers near you, call our 24/7 helpline number today. You can even chat online with our representatives for further assistance.

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