Addiction and Supporting Recovery in the Music Industry

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The Global Pandemic has affected not only music artists but the thousands who work alongside them from promoters and sound engineers to road crew and haulage. Levels of high-risk drinking in the UK nearly doubled between February and September 2020, often associated with negative impacts on our health, family, finances and ultimately our lives. With that in mind, it is no surprise that 2020 also saw a 20% increase from the previous year of those seeking help from addiction services. Coinciding with the end of Dry January, our panel of industry experts had an open and honest discussion surrounding addiction and substance misuse in the music industry including how to spot it and take care of it as well as demystifying the 12 Step Programme and supporting those who lead sober / sober-curious lifestyles.


MARK RICHARDSON, Music Support Trustee – a self-taught musician who has played drums for Little Angels, Feeder and Skunk Anansie (with whom he still writes, records and tours). Mark has been sober since 2003 and became a recognised ICF coach in 2017, focusing on addiction recovery. He also recently completed an MA focussing on mental health in the Music Industry.


CHULA GOONEWARDENE MBACP: A former classically trained musician who enjoyed a professional career as a drummer in his 20’s, he, unfortunately, fell foul to the perils of heroin addiction, but then rehab and engaging in a 12-step programme has seen him completely abstinent since 2003. Chula retrained as a Psychotherapist in 2012, after working on the frontline of statutory addiction treatment for 7 years, and is now also a Clinical Consultant, practising from 15 Harley Street, specialising with Music Industry and media professionals, as well as acting as an Advisor to Public Health and The Home Office, lecturing in Addiction Psychology & Counselling at London’s Southbank University, and being the Co-founder & Clinical Director of AZURAMINDS.

DR. ADAM HUXLEY: Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder of THRIVE: Adam is an experienced Senior Clinical Consultant Psychologist across the NHS, private sector and third sector organisations. He is an internationally published academic author with a special interest in the field of Addiction and Recovery. With many years of experience, Adam co-founded Thrive Therapeutic Software, a service that supports over 3.5million people around the globe to prevent, detect and manage Mental Health Issues.

JON OSTRIN: Live sound engineer from LA who has toured with artists such as Van Halen, Toto, Aerosmith and Bruce Springsteen and has been working exclusively with John Legend for 10 years. Jon has been a sober member of AA for 36 years and Gamblers Anonymous for 17. During the pandemic, he has been facilitating online 12-step meetings for roadies in recovery to create a worldwide fellowship for touring personnel in the music industry that will continue long after the pandemic has ended.

RONNIE TRAYNOR: Ronnie has over 20 years’ experience working in the music industry, from a brief career as a DJ in the early 90’s to working at legendary dance label Distinct’ive Records. She went on to work with Groove Armada on a number of high-profile projects before joining Various Artists in 2010, to grow their brand partnerships division ‘Vision Artists.’ She now manages a wide range of talent including Fanny Anderson, WhenYoung and 3irdCultureKid. Alongside all of this, Ronnie has been sober for three years with a foundation in psychotherapy and qualification as a transformational life coach.

SKIDDLE: We are proud to partner with Skiddle, the UK’s most innovative primary ticket outlet and largest events guide. To discover more about the challenges and obstacles promoters face they conducted a survey, discovering that the majority feel their mental health and wellbeing is dramatically affected by their work in the events industry.

Thanks to support from the BRIT Trust, BPI, BRIT Awards and partners from the recorded music sector, we are proud to offer FREE access for a limited period to THRIVE, the NHS approved mental health app, with over 100 hours of content and clinically designed mental health tools, helping you manage stress, anxiety and depression.