How Unison Helped Bill Bell Kick His Black Dog

Bill Bell kicked his own black dog two years ago and remains focused on keeping it away.  He’s replaced a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle with one of abstinence, sobriety, vegetarianism, meditation and yoga.

The Toronto guitarist, who has played and recorded with Tom Cochrane for 25 years, Jason Mraz for 15, recorded albums with Alex Lifeson, Lawrence Gowan and Ian Thomas, and produced such artists as Justin Nozuka, Jimmy Rankin, Danko Jones, Marc Jordan, Shaye, Cochrane and Mraz, was also diagnosed with situational depression around the same time.

Then, after a breakdown last April, he sought professional help through the Unison Benevolent Fund, a non-profit aid organization for members of the music industry, and things started looking up.

Now Bell wants to help others. He has created Kicking The Black Dog on Instagram, hoping to build a community of encouragement and positivity. "Together we can heal each other," it says on the page. The logo is a menacing black dog. While it’s only been up a couple of weeks, and only has 180 followers, he has noticed it’s the females who tend to engage. He’d like to change that too.

“I’d love for more men to share their stories,” he tells Samaritanmag. “There are so many men out there hurting and afraid to talk, afraid to be shamed. Break through the fear and vulnerability and speak out," he advises. "You can make a difference with your story. Your story can be the road map other men use for their recovery. You can be the change”

Samaritanmag's Karen Bliss spoke with Bell about Kicking The Black Dog, its focus, how he’ll stop trolls, and his hope for a web site and global community.

-- Continue reading the interview here.

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