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Meet Wesley Geer of Rock to Recovery in Laguna Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wesley Geer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Wesley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I kid that moved a lot, struggling to fit in.  From a wonderful household, that was full of music, and love.  New to the area, guitar became my best friend in high school a long with getting loaded.  Both progressed quickly.  I started excelling at guitar by 15, and really screwing up school.  I was had the dream to emulate my heroes, and become a recording artist with a rock band, a rockstar!  I chased the dream for years, with little luck obtaining the super elusive record deal. But weirdly enough, my biggest success came when I  was masterminding the band that got me my first record deal, (hed) all while using hit new extreme levels with drug abuse.  Touring that way for nearly a decade ended me up in rehab after I lost everything, just like all the stories we hear.  Utterly bankrupt in every way, especially spiritually, and emotionally.  I was sure my problem was only drugs, but I was taught about the disease of addiction and how it goes much deeper than that.   Accepting my music career was long gone as a rock guitar player, with my forties on the horizon, I tried to live a normal life.  That felt weird.  I felt not in alignment with my true self.  But also felt lost, while being reborn.  After continuing to adopt this new program of recovery and spiritual tools like prayer, meditation, and a whole new design for living,  I started asking for my music career back. In my meditations  Out of nowhere the legendary band Korn texted after the ‘Ahhh’ meditation for manifestation I’d been doing, asking me if I wanted to come play for them.  I got to go back to touring, at the highest level, touring around the world, headlining giant festival shows, playing to 80-100k people.  But that gig wouldn’t last forever, as the original guitarist I replaced, Brian ‘Head’ Welch finally mended fences with his band after a seven year hiatus.  When I knew my gig was in it’s twilight, instead of letting fear of impending doom take over, I went back to my spiritual kit; lots of prayer and meditation.  I started asking for help to turn who I was, a sober guitarist/musician from a life of self pity and woe is me, to a life of service.  And soon after Rock to Recovery was born.  I heard about a friend playing music in rehab, and remembering my time in rehab, this whole vision came to me in an instant.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When I got sober I was lost, defeated, out of a career, lost my own sense of self, self respect, and had lost respect from people who once admired me, that I once inspired.  I recall a lunch with my Mom is that dark place, just absolutely devoid of hope, and her just saying  ‘It will all get better, just hang in there’.  I was thinking ‘But, how?  I’m so defeated.’

I worked for my brother for a while a GREAT job that I loathed.  It felt so wrong for me.  I was getting paid well, worked by the beach, great environment, but just felt like I was not in the right place.  But how does a guy with no education, get out of a job that is keeping him a float? Then again when the Korn gig was going away and I was going back to the same place, just older, of what the @#%$ do I do now?!?!?

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rock to Recovery – what should we know?
The inception of Rock to Recovery came from remembering my own time in rehab and how there was no music.  I wanted to change that.  And I did.

Music therapy has been around forever, but I had a different approach on a couple levels.  First in Rock to Recovery, we form a band and write, play, and record a song together, in each session!  Traditionally music therapy typically doesn’t go to this place, and not to the level we do.  We get EVERYONE singing and playing, regardless of musical talent, even ‘none at all’.  Endeavoring to be part of the weekly treatment curriculum, Rock to Recovery groups have been added as such to over 100 treatment program throughout southern California.  We’ve written over 12,000 songs.  We perform nearly 400 sessions each month.  We get people playing music -which is far more transformative and engaging than just listening.  Once I knew this model was working so well, I decided to grow it as a movement.

We celebrated our five-year anniversary party, on 12/12/12.  Additionally we started doing fundraisers for our non-profit segment of business.  We donate services to state funded and non-profit orgs that could never afford something like our program.  We even got a contract with the Dept. of Defense, working with Wounded Warriors of the USAF and Army (other branches are coming soon!)   The NPO allows me to give me staff more work, while also letting our program reach farther.  I’m very proud of that model.

To support our NPO endeavors we started the Rock to Recovery Concerts, which are sober events, but they are RAD!  We honor Rock n Roll elite with our Rock to Recovery Award, Mike Ness (Social Distortion) Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) Wayne Kramer (the MC5) and have had a slew of A-list talent support either playing live or just showing up to hang.  People that have come out to share the stage include Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit), Stone Temple Pilots, guys from Guns n Roses, Steve Stevens, Billy Morrison Eric Eldenius (Billy Idol’s band), on and on.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
You know, my whole life, like anyone, I have tons of doubt, and probably excessive insecurity.   Oddly enough that is coupled with a bit of ego -too much.  And that just stems from insecurities as well.  So it can get myself into trouble.  The key for me is this spiritual way of living, a daily routine to stay centered, grounded, out of fear.  Prayer. Meditation.  Focus. And helping others is HUGE.  Swithing the paradigm from what the world can give me, to what can I give to world has been HUGE.  I had to also make peace with my past.  I had to look at my resentments, and see my part, see how I wasn’t the victim nearly as often as I thought I was.  I found out what my character defects were, the stuff that was really holding me back, and became willing to work on them.  I also set out to make amends to people, everyone I could think of, to clean up the wreckage of my past.  I try and keep life without chaos, anger, or fear.  That’s key to my success moving forward, and it took a while to learn and adapt.  Change takes time. By routine, and constant self appraisal get you there.  And the joy is in the never-ending journey of growth and expansion, becoming someone you never realized you could be!  And finally, I believe there is a Magic in the Universe.  Call it God.  Higher Power.  Faith.  Abundance.  I dont know.  But I have heard so many stories of people overcoming their insanely dark pasts to thrive and get into what I call the ‘Vortex of Radness’ (book coming) that I believed I could too.  I think if someone can invent something, start their own band, their own company, anything, and go big with it, then why cant I?!?!  I can.  You can.  We can all go after our dreams and achieve them.  The Universe IS conspiring in our favor.  It just all goes so much easier when the Universe knows we are trying to help other people as part of our mission.

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Image Credit:
Eddie Kasparian

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