Singer-songwriter Christopher Tait of Hamtramck is launching an app for musicians in recovery who need support while on tour. He shares how you can help.
By Christopher Tait
At age 15, I experienced a life-altering car accident. It caused me to retreat further into playing music. It’s also when I started drinking. Drinking took all the anxieties away from social situations and made every situation easier to approach. As any good alcoholic will tell you, drinking is the solution before it becomes the problem.
Years later, alcohol and drug use began to threaten my work, my ability to perform in bands like Belle Ghoul and Electric Six. I found myself with failing health, financial ruin and isolation from friends and family. Despite earning gold records, despite appearing on MTV or performing at Coachella and Lollapalooza, I was facing an uncertain future. I couldn’t live with alcohol, and I couldn’t live without it.
When I finally sought recovery — I’ve been sober for seven years now — I found a way to reach others in a similar situation. Being on the road sober made me realize there was a giant chasm in the ability to maintain mental health on the road. I needed people to talk to about recovery. I needed places to go during downtime between shows.
That’s where Passenger came in.
Initially created to reach touring musicians, I founded Passenger in 2015 while I was also working at Brighton Center for Recovery in Brighton. The nonprofit provides transportation for those in sobriety to attend support meetings, and it offers a safe, sober Clean Green Room space.
It’s become much more.
On July 25, we’re kicking off a campaign that will expand our mission to a nationwide audience. We’re seeking community support to make it a reality.
Compass is a free app developed by Passenger to reach those in sobriety seeking recovery meetings or support services while traveling. Services like Alcoholics Anonymous, National Alliance on Mental Illness and Buddhist-inspired Refuge Recovery are all included in Compass.
Schedules change every day. Transportation can be unreliable, and recovery meetings may be unavailable or unreachable in unfamiliar cities. With this app, we’ll offer resources for anyone who is sober and traveling. It is available now in beta for the Southeast Michigan region.
We have enlisted the help of Patronicity, a community-based crowdfunding platform, to raise the money necessary to make Compass useful nationwide.
Supporting the campaign is simple. Beginning July 25, anyone interested in donating money may do so here. Or, you can offer time instead to help us populate accurate meeting dates and locations for the app.
We’re honored that so many friends and so many of our favorite musicians and artists wanted to be involved. Bands like Flogging Molly and Electric Six, The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst, Morrissey guitarist Boz Boorer and Patti Smith are just a few of the many performers and arts organizations that have donated the signed and rare merchandise available for purchase to support the Compass campaign. It has truly been inspiring to see artists from all walks of life step forward to help those who’ve recognized issues in their own lives.
At Passenger, we believe there is no substitute for talking face-to-face with people who share similar struggles. Coming together with strangers in other cities and having open conversation is the healthiest reminder that we’re not alone. These struggles are universal.
Christopher Tait resides in Hamtramck with his wife Holly. He divides time between his work with Brighton Center for Recovery, touring with Electric Six and managing services for Passenger. Learn more about Compass, the Patronicity campaign supporting it and Passenger by visiting passengerrecovery.com.