30 Songs About Sobriety

From solo acts like John Lennon and Pink to groups like Placebo, many musicians have made music about being sober
From solo acts like John Lennon and Pink to groups like Placebo, many musicians have made music about being sober( Source : instagram )

Songs about sobriety are a genre of music that has resulted in some beautiful and personal tracks. Many singers have drawn from their personal experiences to make such songs.

A life of fame and excess often leads to problems with alcohol and other forms of substance abuse. Stories of famous singers and musicians falling into this pit of despair are as common, and sometimes even more so than stories of success.

However, many of the same types of singers and musicians have either risen from that pit to make cautionary tales about that despair or used music to air out their grievances while falling deeper in.

Either way, songs about being sober are very common, which is sad if thought about. 

In this list, there are 30 songs about sobriety.

1. Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park

Breaking the Habit by Linkin Park is a song about breaking the habit of addiction. This nu-metal song about being sober was released on June 14, 2004.

Though there is a common misconception that the song was written by lead singer Chester Bennington about his substance abuse, the band's rapper Mike Shinoda originally wrote it about a friend of his.

The lyrics of the song describe an addict deciding to become sober because they don't like the person they have become due to substance abuse.

2. Sober by Pink

Sober by Pink is a song about confronting the comforts of being sober. This pop-rock song was released on November 3, 2008

This Grammy-nominated track's lyrics show the protagonist struggling with her being sober. She states that she chose to be sober due to not wanting to be the loudest person in the room or someone that people look for when they need easy intimacy.

However, being sober has brought her a sense of ease though she still feels that "the party" is over. By this, she refers to all the substances that were once a big part of her life.

3. Hurt by Nine Inch Nails

Hurt by Nine Inch Nails is a cautionary tale about the adverse effects of substance abuse. This harrowing song was released on April 17, 1995.

Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails wrote this song about his substance abuse. In it, he paints the picture of a man who has lost everything in his life due to his problems with addiction.

The song is a good example of the importance of being sober as it shows what lies on the other side. It was also famously covered by Johnny Cash, another former addict.

4. I Took a Pill in Ibiza by Mike Posner

I Took a Pill in Ibiza by Mike Posner is another cautionary tale about substances. Posner released the song on April 14, 2015.

This folk-pop track talks about the feelings of self-loathing that the singer felt that led to him taking the pill. However, it only makes him feel good for a short amount of time.

The singer then talks about how substances don't do anything to make someone feel better, and ardently warns his fans not to do it, promoting being sober instead.

5. Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

Dare You to Move is an uplifting song about taking charge of your life by Switchfoot. The band released the song on February 6, 2004.

Unlike a lot of songs about being sober that shows the dour side of addiction, this song is an optimistic song that urges listeners to seize the day. It is an anthem for rising out of addiction.

It paints being sober  as a beautiful thing filled with chances to take life by the horns and make it your own. The song is beautiful both aesthetically and for its message.

6. Amazing by Aerosmith

Amazing by Aerosmith is another optimistic song about recovery. The band released the song on November 1993.

In Amazing, Aerosmith mixes cautionary tales about addiction and the uplifting spirit of recovery. They do this by using the verses to talk about the protagonist's substance abuse problems, especially the peer pressure that led to his predicament.

However, in the chorus, he talks about how amazing recovery and being sober is, and marvels not only at how different his life now is but also at how good he feels.

7. Gravity by A Perfect Circle

Gravity by A Perfect Circle is more a song about wanting to be sober than getting there. It is the twelfth track of the band's album, Thirteenth Step.

The song is a plea by the track's protagonist about wanting to be free of their addiction. In it, he asks the listener, or anyone in general to help them.

Equating themselves to a baby unable to stand on their own, the singer pleads to anyone to help calm their hands before they reach for another pill. It's a naked song about how helpless addiction can make people, and how people need help to become sober.

8. You're Not My God by Keith Urban

You're Not My God is a refutation of addiction by Keith Urban. It is the 12th track of his album, Golden Road.

Urban famous suffered from cocaine addiction, and the song is about him decrying the drug. In the song, he details how the drug made him feel better but ultimately realizes that he is better off sober. 

By proclaiming that it's not his God, Urban takes control of his life from the drug. It is a triumphant song. 

9. Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Under the Bridge is a song about the loneliness of being sober by Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was released as a single on March 2, 1992.

In it, the singer reflects on how lonely he feels but cheers himself up by talking about his love for his city. This rumination leads him to talk about how he never wants to feel the terrible things addiction made him feel.

The song uses the imagery of a bridge, and being under it, as the adverse effects of addiction and substance abuse. 

10. Call Me When You're Sober by Evanescence

Call Me When You're Sober is a denigration of addiction and the addicted by Evanescence. It was released on September 4, 2006.

In the song, the singer chides her lover for only calling her when he is drunk or under the influence. She batters home the point by telling him to call her when he's sober, unwilling to entertain his drunkenness.

It not only works as a condemnation of inebriation but as a reminder of how being sober is important not only for the addicted but for how they act around their loved ones.

11. The A Team by Ed Sheeran

The A team is another cautionary tale about addiction by Ed Sheeran. It was released as a single on June 10, 2011.

According to Sheeran, he wrote the song after visiting a homeless shelter and listening to their stories. The song then became a big hit in many different countries. 

The song bemoans the life and situation of the girl Sheeran is singing about, who is stuck in a life where there is no out. Getting sober to her is not just a dream but an unattainable fantasy. 

12. Dark Times by The Weeknd

Dark Times is a song reflecting on the darkest part of people's lives by The Weeknd. It's the 12th track of his album, Beauty Behind the Madness.

The song also features Ed Sheeran who joins Weeknd in talking about "Dark Times" and how these dark times make people make promises they can't keep.

An interesting thing about this song is that lyrically, it can be seen as a reply to an earlier pick: Call Me When You're Sober. This song comes across as the confession of the person Evanescence was singing to.

13. Self Care by Mac Miller

Self Care by Mac Miller is a sobering track about overcoming addiction. It was released as a single on July 13, 2018.

The track is about the late Mac Miller choosing to take care of himself and upholding his own well-being over his past addictions. It's both a dark and uplifting track about being better than your addictions.

Sadly, in real life, Mac Miller would succumb to his addictions rather than beat them, but in Self Care, he left behind an anthem for other recovers to succeed where he couldn't.

14. Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar

Swimming Pools by Kendrick Lamar is an indictment of alcohol. This song against alcoholism was released as a single on July 31, 2012.

In it, Kendrick Lamar muses over all the reasons why he turned to alcohol for peace, ranging from peer pressure to hereditary reasons. However, he decries addiction by stating that it is a swimming pool where people eventually drown.

By the end of it, Kendrick has chosen to get out of the swimming pool rather than become another one of its victims. 

15. Bad by U2

Bad is a song about heroin addiction by the Irish Rock band U2. It was released as a single on October 1, 1984. 

In the song, the singer talks about the many horrible feelings that led him to try heroin. He then describes the elation that the drug makes him feel. 

However, he follows it up by describing that despite the good feelings, he wants to get clean and let it go. The phrase, "Let It Go" is a repeated refrain in the song that undercuts its main theme of getting sober.

16. Recover by Natasha Bedingfield

Recover by Natasha Bedingfield is a song about celebrating healing. It is the 12th song off of her third album, Strip Me.

In this song, Bedingfield talks about how healing is a difficult process that often hurts. She details how the scars one has due to addiction and substance abuse will never go away.

Though somber, it is a powerful affirmation of the power of recovery and how it's an ongoing process and not a one-stop shop that fixes everything.

17. Recovery by James Arthur

Recovery by James Arthur is a song about celebrating the long journey toward being sober. It was released as a single by Arthur on December 9, 2013.

In the song, Arthur bemoans the many struggles he had to face due to his addictions. However, he takes strength in knowing he has come far.

Recovery is a great anthem about the struggles a former addict faces in their recovery process. It embodies the power of recovery.

18. Starting Over by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Starting Over by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis is about the many pitfalls on the road to getting sober. It is the 14th track from their debut album.

In the song, Macklemore regrets being so open about his path to recovery. He feels that people judge him for every mistake he makes.

However, the singer is also aware that these mistakes are part and parcel on the path to getting better. The song forms a meditation on the many ways he has failed on that path, but also the many times he has gotten over his failures and kept trying. 

19. Hate Me by Blue October

Hate Me by Blue October is a song about someone sober regretting their past actions. It was released by the band on January 24, 2006.

In the song, the singer thanks his partner for helping him recover, but asks them that they should hate him for his actions while addicted. It's a heart wrenching song about regret.

However, as far as the song goes, their partner doesn't hate them. This makes the song sweet, no matter how dour the lyrics. 

20. One Day at a Time by Joe Walsh

One Day at a Time by Joe Walsh is a song about the difficulties of being sober. It is the 7th song on his album, Analog Man.

In the song, Walsh talks about how he used to be when addicted. Always the first to arrive but last to leave a party.

Howeve, since getting sober after years of trying, the man contends with the reality that he now has to take it one day at a time.

21. Not Afraid by Eminem

Not Afriad by Eminem shows the upsides of getting sober. This power message of recovery was released on April 27, 2010.

In the song, the rapper talks about the new found focus he has now that he has left his bad habits behind. He feels a surge of energy to right his wrongs and take life by the horns.

He then extends the same energy to all of his supporters, saying that they can hold on to him to get to the same sober destination he is at.

22. Cold Turkey by John Lennon

Cold Turkey is a song about the adverse effects of quitting substances by John Lennon and his Plastic Ono band. It was released on October 20, 1969.

"Cold Turkey" is a phrase used to describe quitting something right away. In the song, the singer tells about how terrible a time he is having from quitting his addictions in such a manner.

He describes the physical effects of doing so like his eyes rolling, not being able to sleep and much more. By the end of it, he pleades to someone to make him well, promising that he'll be a good boy from then on.

23. Salvation by The Cranberries

Salvation by The Cranberries is a song pleading people not to fall into addiction. It was released on April 8, 1996.

In the song, the singer begs the listener not to fall into the trappings of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. She sings that salvation is free, liberty is free, and that addiction only leads to bondage.

It also warns parents of the pitfalls their children could fall into and tells them to tie their kids to beds to clean their heads.

24. Life Wasted by Pearl Jam

Life Wasted by Pearl Jam is a song about overcoming one's past. It was released as a single on August 28, 2006 for their self titled album.

In the song, the singer talks about facing a life wasted, either their own or a friend's. They talk about the ever-presence of death and co-relates the true.

However, the song is a hopeful one as the singer ends it by saying that though they've faced a life wasted, they're gonna make sure that theirs isn't the same. It's a powerful message to end the song with.

25. Fallen by Sarah McLachlan

Fallen by Sarah McLachlan is a song pleading people not to point out her mistakes on the path to recovery. It was released on September 22, 2003.

McLachlan paints a picture of the difficult path to getting sober and how she has currently stumbled. She begs people not to tell her they told her so, that she would fail.

She admits she has messed up, but also states that what's worse than that is seeing how people she thought cared for her are actually embarrassed and turn their heads away.

26. It Ain't the Whiskey by Gary Allan

It Ain't The Whiskey by Gary Allan tells the story of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It was released on Sepetember 23, 2013.

In the song, the narrator states that though his life has taken a turn for the worse, its not because of substance abuse. He then blames a lost love for how it drove him to alcoholism.

In the meeting, he shares his sorrows and lays himself bare. Finally taking charge of his recovery and road to becoming sober. 

27. Save Me by Shinedown

Save Me by Shinedown is another song about an addict begging to be saved. It was released by the band as a single on August 23, 2005.

The song is a sorrow-filled tale about an addict reflecting on the mess their life has become. This person desperately wants to be saved and become sober but doesn't know how to.

It's a tale all too often told, but the feelings of the narrator are so visceral that the song become too real. Anyone who has been down the depths of addiction knows this feeling.

28. Song to Say Goodbye by Placebo


Song to Say Goodbye by Placebo is a song about letting go of bad influences. It was released as a single on March 6, 2006.

In this song, the singer describes decries a friend or partner that they feel is a bad influence. They states that their relationship with this person was a mistake.

Thus, the song is a literal song to say goodbye as they are living this person and their influence to be free of their addictions.

29. Devil In a Bottle by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Devil in a Bottle by Lynyrd Skynyrd equates alcohol to a literal devil. It is the third song from their 1994 album, Endangered Species.

In the song, the narrators talks about how there is a devil ina  bottle of alcohol that actively tries to make him drink it. THis devil also tells him to make bad decisions.

But what makes the song one about being sober is that despite being hurt by the devil many times over, the narrator has fought back and is now free.

30. Say It Ain't So by Weezer

Say It Ain't So by Weezer is a song about generational alcoholism. It was released as single by the band in 1995.

In the song, the singer talks about his father's alcoholism and how that broke his family apart. Seeing his stepfather drink, though casually, has made him fear that this would lead to his family breaking up again.

Thus, the narrator vows to break what he thinks to be a generational curse by vowing never to drink.

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