Tue. May 21st, 2024
taylor-alert-–-inside-the-taylor-swift-themed-addiction-recovery-group-–-where-former-alcoholics-and-drug-users-sing-her-songs-and-gossip-about-travis-to-battle-their-issuesTaylor Alert – Inside the Taylor Swift-themed addiction recovery group – where former alcoholics and drug users sing her songs and gossip about Travis to battle their issues

Taylor Swift is now helping Swifties shake it off, bringing fans with drug and alcohol abuse problems together to heal through her music.

Swift Steps, a virtual support group for Swifties fighting addiction, was founded in January this year and has already grown to a group of 740 strong on Facebook.

The group meets virtually four times a week to continue their recovery journeys together.

Swift Steps founder, Julianne Griffin, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that she uses a mixture of Swift’s music, history, and guest speakers to prompt the difficult conversations those in recovery must sometimes have.

Julianne Griffin (left) and Emily Bee (right) run Swift Steps, an online community for Swifties in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse issues

Julianne Griffin (left) and Emily Bee (right) run Swift Steps, an online community for Swifties in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse issues

The group was founded on the premise that some young-ish adults are looking for a less judgmental recovery program than the traditional 12 Step track

The group was founded on the premise that some young-ish adults are looking for a less judgmental recovery program than the traditional 12 Step track

Griffin is also the founder of Blank Space Recovery, a mentor service for those in recovery through which Swift Steps is hosted. She became a certified peer specialist after entering recovery from opiate and benzodiazepine addiction nearly a decade ago.

Her friend Emily Bee, who is not herself in recovery but lost a sister to addiction at an early age, helps run the community.

Griffin says the goal of the group is to foster an addiction recovery community ‘where everyone’s accepted.’ 

That non-judgmental vibe is exactly what members appreciate about the group, and according to the Inquirer, medical professionals see the group as a helpful addition to the standard 12-step program.

Groups like Swift Steps can be especially helpful to those who don’t necessarily embrace the religiosity or rigidity of more conventional 12 Step programs.

For Griffin, that kind of space became a necessity when she stopped attending 12-step meetings after being told her MAT treatment plan meant she wasn’t completely sober.

MAT – Medication-Assisted Treatment – is the use of medications, in addition to therapy, to treat substance abuse disorders.

Eric Zillmer, the director of the Drexel University Happiness Lab calls Swift Steps ‘brilliant.’

‘People with substance use disorder can feel alone … so to create a platform where people feel comfortable sharing under a cultural phenomenon driven by authenticity is fantastic,’ he said.

‘Swift is so culturally irresistible, but also amazingly authentic and so positive. She communicates a message of hope,’ he added of Swift’s general place in the culture.

Griffin and Bee agree, but Griffin adds that members of the group are ‘living by Taylor’s example’ precisely because ‘she’s not scared to be messy.’

Those in addiction recovery ‘have regrets,’ she says, ‘and that’s okay. We can turn them into something better.’

The group, which meets virtually four times a week, has grown from zero to nearly 750 members in the span of four months

The group, which meets virtually four times a week, has grown from zero to nearly 750 members in the span of four months

The members in recovery talk about Taylor's music and history, in addition to hearing from guest speakers and having tougher conversations about recovery

The members in recovery talk about Taylor’s music and history, in addition to hearing from guest speakers and having tougher conversations about recovery

Griffin hopes Swift Steps will sooner rather than later become her full-time gig. Presently, she works in finance, and sells Etsy merch to offset the costs of the group

Griffin hopes Swift Steps will sooner rather than later become her full-time gig. Presently, she works in finance, and sells Etsy merch to offset the costs of the group

Swift's cultural relevance has never been more tangible, as her fans come of age with her and encounter adult problems - like addiction - they are finding ways to move with her through life

Swift’s cultural relevance has never been more tangible, as her fans come of age with her and encounter adult problems – like addiction – they are finding ways to move with her through life 

Swift’s cultural relevance has never been more tangible, as her fans come of age with her and encounter adult problems – like addiction – they are finding ways to move with her through life. 

Swift Steps is a prime example of the communities of adults into their late twenties, thirties, and likely even forties who are uniting around real world issues via her product.

And the performer is not slowing down.

Her latest offering, The Tortured Poets Department, was an immediate hit with consumers. It sold some 1.4 million copies the Friday it was released and was streamed on Spotify more than 300 million times in a single day. 

The album’s first single, Fortnight, featuring Post Malone also shattered several records. 

On Sunday, Billboard announced Swift’s album debuted at No. 1 atop the Billboard 200, marking her 14th No. 1 album, handing her a tie for most No. 1 albums among solo performers. TTPD also received the highest ever amount of streams in a week for an album.