It's no secret that I love music - especially when artists delve into the depths of human emotions, bringing forth narratives that resonate with various aspects of our lives. I often catch clips of new songs on social media (thankfully - because otherwise I'd be stuck in my pre-1989 musical tastes. My recent find came with a voice that held such depth of pain, power, and passion. This young woman, Maria Rose, and The Song House belted out her lyrics from the depths of her soul with her song "Drunk Again." As a mental health clinician, I found this song to be a powerful exploration of the internal struggle between striving for perfection and embracing the darker, more complex facets of our being.
Check out the song here:
The Religious Undertones: "Drunk Again" carries with it profound religious undertones, echoing the perpetual quest for spiritual perfection (ironically the topic of my current work in progress). Many religious doctrines advocate for an unwavering pursuit of moral excellence, often presenting an idealized version of oneself that believers are encouraged to emulate. This creates a works-based paradigm where often we are pushed into a narrow mold.
At the same time, this song captures the tension between the desire for spiritual purity and the recognition of inherent human flaws. The lyrics of "Drunk Again" paint a vivid picture of the protagonist grappling with the recurring theme of imperfection. The constant struggle to meet the lofty standards set by societal norms or religious doctrines can lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-condemnation. We as mental health clinicians often encounter clients burdened by the weight of unrealistic expectations, and this song can serve as a therapeutic tool to initiate conversations around the unattainable quest for perfection.
Acceptance of the Shadow Self: I have to believe that "Drunk Again" is about more than just the struggle alcohol. I remember during my Masters Degree class on substance about, I approached it with a cavalier attitude. To be fully honest, the last time I drank to excess was May 1995, and I hated the experience so much that I determined that I would not do it again. But as I opened my mind to the class, I recognized many other pathologies in myself - parts of myself that react to stress.
One of the central themes of "Drunk Again" revolves around the acceptance of the shadow self. In psychological terms, the "shadow" represents the unconscious aspects of our personality, often containing repressed weaknesses, desires, and instincts. The song encourages listeners to confront and embrace these shadow elements rather than suppress them. This aligns with the concept of shadow work in psychology, a process that involves exploring and integrating these hidden aspects to achieve greater self-awareness.
Shadow Work and Mental Health: As mental health clinicians, we often guide our clients through the transformative journey of shadow work. "Drunk Again" can be a valuable resource in this process, as it invites individuals to acknowledge and name their darker aspects. By fostering a non-judgmental attitude towards these shadow elements, clients may find the courage to engage in self-reflection, leading to personal growth and emotional healing.
Conclusion: "Drunk Again" by Maria Rose and Song House serves as a poignant reminder of the internal struggles we face in our quest for perfection and self-acceptance. Through its exploration of religious undertones and the theme of embracing the shadow self, the song offers a unique perspective that can be integrated into therapeutic discussions. As mental health clinicians, we can use this musical masterpiece as a catalyst for meaningful conversations, helping our clients navigate the delicate balance between spiritual ideals and the acceptance of their imperfect, yet beautifully human, selves.