By: Mary Beth McCauley, Staff Writer at University of Tennessee Daily Beacon Feb 9, 2017 — Updated Feb 13, 2017

People can change: Justin Furstenfeld’s (of Blue October) unique approach to his book tour

Knoxville (Tennessee) had the chance to get up close and personal with Justin Furstenfeld, the lead vocalist of alternative rock group Blue October, at the Square Room in Market Square this past Wednesday.

People can change: Justin Furstenfeld's unique approach to his book tour
People can change: Justin Furstenfeld’s (of Blue October) unique approach to his book tour and his story of recovery

Furstenfeld has been traveling to cities across the country to promote his book, “Crazy Making: The Words and Lyrics of Justin Furstenfeld to the Music of Blue October.” The “Open Book Tour” also gives Furstenfeld the opportunity to share stories regarding his struggle with addiction, depression and relationships along with playing an acoustic set in front of a small, intimate audience.

He kicked off the evening with “The Answer,” the title track of Blue October’s first album, and began to tell the audience about his own personal journey, starting with his teenage years. Furstenfeld led his first band called The Last Wish at only 15 years old, the age that he was officially diagnosed with depression. When the Last Wish split up, Furstenfeld went on to create Blue October.

Although Furstenfeld was raw and honest with the crowd, he told his stories with such charisma and humor that throughout the heartfelt details we were all laughing and smiling. He often reminded the crowd, “This is the open book tour. No holding back.” The auditorium felt like a room full of friends, a safe space to share their darkest secrets.

Furstenfeld played a few other songs from Blue October’s debut album, such as “Black Orchid” and “Breakfast After 10.” In these, the audience learned of his first love, Mamie, and how he forgot her birthday after two years of dating. His belated birthday song to her was “Calling You,” the song that scored Blue October a record deal.

He told the audience about his band’s first 15-passenger tour van — and their second one, and their third. He walked us down the path that began his drug addiction, partying on tour every night in hotel rooms and bars. During this same time, Furstenfeld met his first wife and had his first child, a baby girl named Blue, and that changed everything for him. The audience sat quietly absorbing every detail and feeling every emotion as he told his story.

He bravely shared the details of his divorce, the custody battle for his daughter and his spiral back into addiction. And, through all of these hardships, he continued to make music.

Furstenfeld pieced together all of the major events in his life one by one and sang us the songs that stemmed from those events, making them even more meaningful and emotional for the audience, many of which were already huge fans of Blue October.

Towards the end of the evening, Furstenfeld shared his redemption story. He went through a 75-day program at Cumberland Heights, a rehabilitation center in Nashville, and found his faith there. He has been sober for four years now. The audience cried, clapped and cheered for him, all rising to their feet in applause. Furstenfeld truly was an open book, and told his story bravely without shame, but with hope.

After the show, Furstenfeld took time to meet his fans, shaking hands and signing posters, all with a smile on his face. His merchandise sports the phrase “People Can Change,” the perfect summary of his journey thus far.

CUMBERLAND HEIGHTS TO OPEN
SECOND SOBER-LIVING HOME IN FOUR MONTHS

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Jan. 10, 2017 – Cumberland Heights will open a sober-living home for adult men this month, its second sober-living home opened in the last four months.

By adding sober living to residential, outpatient, and 12-step immersion programs, we now offer the complete support package so our patients can transition properly from treatment back to their lives.
By adding sober living to residential, outpatient, and 12-step immersion programs, we now offer the complete support package so our patients can transition properly from treatment back to their lives.

The Keep It Simple! House opens on January 16, will serve up to eight male clients at a time. Clients will stay a minimum of three months and must have completed a primary treatment program. Keep It Simple! joins Searchlight Sober Living for women opened in late October 2016.

 

Cumberland Heights sober living creates the right environment during the critical initial two-year period of recovery,” said Chief Executive Officer Jay Crosson. “By adding sober living to residential inpatient, outpatient, and 12-step immersion programs called Still Waters, we now offer the complete support package so our patients can transition properly from treatment back to their lives.”

 

Sober living allows residents to maintain contact with outpatient services and aftercare while integrating school, work and community responsibilities.

 

While other recovery residences exist, there has been a gap between the very high end providing many services resembling treatment and the very low end which is affordable but offers no services and often has high turnover,” said Executive Director for Community-Based Services Randal Lea. “Cumberland has secured safe housing at affordable rates in established neighborhoods.”

 

Cumberland Heights’ sober homes operate on a “social model” where residents share responsibility and accountability, which fosters greater independence from treatment or authority figures. The male residence is in Murfreesboro and the female residence is in Gallatin.

 

Partners include the Tennessee Alliance of Recovery Residences and National Alliance of Recovery Residences, both of which promote nationally recognized standards for safety and a quality recovery environment.

 


 

About Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. As a nonprofit organization, Cumberland Heights is committed to the approximately 2,500 men, women and adolescents it serves every year and the communities where its facilities are located. The organization has followed the teachings of the 12 Steps since its founding in 1966.


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