Out of addiction’s flames, singer-songwriter Anders Osborne sets up a nationwide sober lifeline of ‘
“I thought, what if there’s a network, a collection of names and people who are willing to come out and sit with the artist so they can get back to work? What if there’s a network, maybe international or just national or just, at first, in the city of New Orleans?” Osborne said. “And then we thought, what if we designed something that specifically catered to all music industry people — the crew, the dancers, the lighting guys, the engineers, the musicians, whatever, so they can go back and start working again after they get newly sober?
“Now, it’s expanded to anybody, whether they’re new or have 28 years. If they’re feeling squirmy, they can get someone to come sit with them. We have thousands of people we call ‘Friends’ who are signed up all over the country, and we have a vetting process for each of them. It started on a grassroots organic level, and it’s grown into this industry standard. Anytime someone in recovery has, like, 30 dates on a tour, they can get someone to come out 30 minutes before a show and stay for 30 minutes after to keep you company, and keep you sane.”
An arm of the Positive Vibrations Foundation, Send Me a Friend has become a nationwide network of support for sober musicians of all genres. In 2017, NPR featured Osborne and the organization, leading to greater visibility, and it’s become a lifeline for peers of Osborne who are trudging the same road of happy destiny that he himself walks.