Finding Freedom From Behind Bars

By Kelvin Young

I’m a sound healer and community health worker at InterCommunity HealthCare in Hartford, Connecticut. Most importantly, I am a person in sustained recovery, which means I haven’t used alcohol or other drugs to cope with my emotional distress since March 6, 2009.

For many years I was caught in a vicious cycle of drug addiction. I struggled with depression and anxiety. I was looking for relief from my emotional pain and found it in alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and opiates. This worked for many years... until it didn’t anymore.

While I was in prison, I found freedom from my addiction, and it was there that I began my healing process in a drug treatment program. As a result of this prison program, I learned about the healing powers of meditation, sound healing, yoga, and expressive arts. I had many misconceptions about yoga and meditation because I didn’t see people who looked like me practicing these modalities. I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, because what I was doing prior to my prison sentence wasn’t working.

Meditating with sound helped me go within and find a sense of calm and inner peace in the midst of a very hostile, chaotic, and restrictive environment. My personal experience with sound meditation helped me understand that emotional distress, pain, and trauma were at the root of my addiction. This was a very profound learning experience for me.

I also learned that life is about growing and evolving from our experiences. Our “so-called negative” experiences help us grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually from the knowledge we obtain from them. That knowledge allowed my consciousness to evolve, and as a result I’ve become more aware of the choices I make in my life each day.

Today I sustain my recovery by eating a plant-based diet, practicing sound healing, engaging in deep breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, spending quality time in nature, and building authentic relationships with others. As a result of my experiences, I have had the opportunity to present around the country in diverse settings at conferences, colleges, retreat centers, yoga studios, prisons, addiction treatment centers, hospitals, and mental health agencies.

Sharing my story of recovery, and facilitating private and group sound-healing sessions for others allows me to share my passion for health, transformation, and how the power of sound heals.

Kelvin Young is a sound healer and a person in long-term recovery, which means he hasn't consumed alcohol or any other drug to cope with emotional distress since March 6, 2009. The first time he was exposed to sound healing, Kelvin discovered that the sounds of the crystal and Tibetan singing bowls and gongs calmed his mind, relaxed his body, and nourished his soul. He went on to study sound healing with master sound healers Paul Hubbert of the Institute for Holographic Sound and Inner Balance, and Satya Brat Jaiswal of the International Academy of Sound Healing. Kelvin has also studied with Brian Luke Seaward of Inspiration Unlimited, a renowned international expert in the field of holistic stress management, and received his recovery coach certification from CT Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

Kelvin has presented around the country in diverse settings, including Yoga Reaches Out, Newtown Yoga Festival, Indie Yoga in San Francisco, Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, yoga studios, retreat centers, conferences, colleges, prisons, addiction treatment centers, psychiatric inpatient units at state hospitals, and mental health agencies.

Kelvin was presented with the 2017 Dr. F. Marcus Brown Memorial Integrative Medicine Award for exceptional commitment to incorporating integrative medicine within CT Valley Hospital, a state psychiatric hospital. Kelvin was featured in a powerful documentary on trauma, addiction, and recovery called Uprooting Addiction. He serves on the board of directors at Manchester, CT HOPE Initiative, Eat The Sunlight Health Inc. and is an active member of the Sound Healer's Association.

Today, he continues to share his story of finding freedom from alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs, and facilitates group sound-healing sessions at yoga studios, wellness centers, ecstatic dances, festivals, retreat centers, businesses, corporations, non-profit organizations, schools, and addiction treatment centers throughout the United States. He is passionate about holding space for people to heal with sound, and is known for his warm, loving, and down-to-earth way of connecting with people.

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This article appears in: 2020 Catalyst, Issue 17: Sound Healing Summit