A Rapper in Recovery is Halfway Home at Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Center in Ft. Lauderdale

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Tommy Gunz Releases His First EP

If what you believe in doesn’t make a difference, then it doesn’t make a difference what you believe in.

Tommy Kraus (aka: Tommy Gunz) describes himself as, “a conscious, hip-hop lyricist and performing artist in recovery.” For the past year, he has also been Lyrical Life Coach and recently became a group facilitator at The Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. As of this past June 16, he’s been clean for two years.

Recently, Kraus has been in Cool and Dre’s Studio “Record Room” studio with two-time GRAMMY Award-winning producers Marcello “Cool” Valenzano and Andre “Dre” Lyon, executive producers of his debut EP Halfway Home. Cool and Dre have contributed to albums that have sold 70 million albums worldwide. Of his new recording, Kraus says, “his music is a voice for the voiceless”.

He was a teen poet growing up in Detroit, who at 19 started recording and performing at underground parties, “freestyling” over beats for fun. He began building makeshift studios using what he describes as, “sh*tty equipment in sketchy apartments.”

During the years from 2004 to 2012, he recorded three CDs which he sold, hand to hand in the streets of Detroit, and in 2015, after beginning his journey from drug addiction to recovery, released his first recovery-based mixtape, “Still Sick and Suffering - Volume 1.” The last song in that collection was a goodbye letter to addiction and chronicles the start of his recovery, which established him a global following via social media.

A song he wrote and recorded with his phone while still in a half-way house inspired by the death of a friend from addiction, went viral and launched him into the global recovery spotlight.

It was that music that brought Tommy Gunz to Recovery Unplugged®, the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and Austin, Texas, where they say, “music makes the difference.” The Recovery Unplugged® protocol blends an immersion in music with a variety of other therapies, offering addicts and alcoholics a unique program focused on long-lasting recovery.

In Friday group sessions with famed singer/songwriter Richie Supa (Aerosmith, Ozzie Osbourne, P!NK, Willie Nelson and many others) – who is also Recovery Unplugged®’s Director of Creative Recovery - Kraus raps about the week’s discussion themes. “Richie will perform a set of songs, talking throughout to the group about his lyrics and getting reactions and thoughts, and will then play a couple of songs designed for me to jump in on and freestyle,” he says.

Has also has his own IOP – or Intensive Outpatient group sessions – known as “Tommy Tunesdays”, the groups collect for an hour and a half with Kraus and a therapist. “For example, the theme of the day will be “integrity,” he says. “I’ll play one of my originals to facilitate discussions. Sometimes I’ll relate (the music) to my own recovery. I’ll then read the lyrics and allow clients to digest them. Inevitably someone will raise their hand and people will start to talk. It’s that interactivity that breaks down the boundaries and barriers that tend to exist in therapist-to-patient talk therapy. At the end (of the session), the therapist and I will discuss what’s been shared. Or, I’ll freestyle to recap what was said. I try and make sure that there’s always a high energy departure.”

Kraus uses various styles of music to create receptive environments, targeted for specific therapeutic breakthroughs. He also creates unique music catelogues for each new client so they have a personal experience while in treatment, which they then are able to take home with them. Additionally, Kraus hosts and performs at drug and alcohol free events, where addicts in recovery are offered a safe place to enjoy live music with their friends and families.

In addition to his work at Recovery Unplugged®, Kraus has helped launch a non-profit, recovery-based event company called “Rappers in Recovery,” with close to 20,000 followers currently worldwide. This was done to not only help artists in recovery to get exposure at live shows, but to utilize social media in order to spread a positive message through real hip-hop.

As for the future, Kraus says, “If the spotlight happens to fall on me for my music, that’s great. But I’m not looking to be idolized. I want to inspire people to make positive changes in their lives and challenge other artists to make music that people can relate to. Kraus believes in this mantra “If what you believe in doesn’t make a difference, then it doesn’t make a difference what you believe in”.

For recovery songs by Tommy Gunz, (and music from when he was using), go to:
Reverb Nation: tommyrtkul8gunz
http://Soundcloud.com/tommygunz/
http://Facebook.com/rtkul8
Facebook.com/rhymingrecovery.com
Snapchat: @tommygunz313

For bookings/appearances please contact: naomif(at)recoveryunplugged(dot)com or 443-690-9892.

About Recovery Unplugged

Recovery Unplugged® Treatment Centers are alcohol and drug rehab in Florida and Texas that offer a rehabilitation approach that is unique and long lasting. The centers combine traditional and cognitive behavioral approaches that use music creation as a catalyst to break down defenses, inspire, and motivate the change necessary for long-term recovery and sobriety. Recovery Unplugged® is committed to providing hope and healing, using music to help individuals suffering from addiction all over the United States.

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Alex Gallinari
Recovery Unplugged
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