After Anders Osborne got clean and sober, he quickly realized he needed some help at work. A gigging, touring musician, Osborne works at festivals, clubs, theaters and music halls, most of which sell alcohol. Traditional recovery programs maintain that people in recovery should keep their distance from alcohol. Osborne found that approach a tough sell.
Osborne’s dilemma inspired him to create Send Me a Friend. It’s a network of people across the nation who attend recovering musicians’ gigs. In long-term recovery themselves, the friends are there to support musicians in recovery as well as others in music-related jobs.
Send Me a Friend recently opened an office at Imagine Recovery, an outpatient program at 728 Nashville Avenue. Send Me a Friend is also an official project of Positive Vibrations Foundation. The program has more than 2,000 volunteers throughout the nation.
Send Me a Friend’s newest initiative is a series of monthly “Lifeshops.” Osborne will talk about using songwriting as an aide in recovery on September 20 at 7 p.m. at Imagine Recovery.
Anders’ Lifeshop is an event where people in sobriety can meet with other songwriters and share ideas and inspiration. Participants can learn new tools for staying creative, happy and connective.
The Lifeshops series will move beyond music, Bill Taylor, who co-founded Send Me a Friend with Osborne, adds. “We’re using the term ‘creatives’ rather than musicians. We’ve realized the need for this extends beyond musicians, even though that’s the core of what we do. We want to develop a community. So many people in the music and creative community in New Orleans have in one way or another faced some of these issues.”
Osborne contacted Taylor about his Send Me a Friend concept because of Taylor’s experience at nonprofits. Taylor liked the concept’s straightforwardness. They launched the program in December 2016. Send Me a Friend’s partnership with Positive Vibrations Foundation began in January.
“With any new endeavor, you’re never sure what the reception will be,” Taylor said. “But we were confident that the idea was simple and strong enough to be well received.”
“It’s a fantastic idea,” said Ben Faulks, executive director of Positive Vibrations Foundation. “I see this as a great way for creative energy to help people recover and grow and live the productive, successful, creative lives they want to live.”