Sobriety and the music

When it doesn't fit anywhere else

Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby RiverRat » Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:33 am

Thanks for the replies guys, they mean a lot...

I wish it were so simple as to say I could make good choices. When I'm drinking my ability to make good choices is gone. Things like professionalism and sensibility are simply beyond me. I cannot make good choices when I'm on a bender. That part of my brain is just broken.

It's not my friends fault or responsibility to keep me sober, nearly every one of my musician friends wants nothing more than for me to never pick up a drink. They're not enablers by any stretch. When I want to drink, almost nothing will stop me. Several friends have tried to do things to control it for me and all those attempts failed miserably. My sick thinking just treated their roadblocks as challenges.

Gigs are a long way off for me, I may never gig again. But right now thats not a concern that matters to me.

Jeff... I have a an entire reply to your post alone. Everything you said rings so true for me.

Vic... If you know someone in my neck of the woods thats a musician and a 'Rat, I'd love to know it is and possibly hook up with them.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby jester536 » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:22 am

Hang in there man. I quit smoking and it's still a trial but quitting drinking would be too hard for me...My brother has just recently jumped on the wagon. We get together at his shop every week and he's surrounded by drinkers...I don't know how he does it...it must be brutal...but he would hate to have to end the weekly get together because he's not drinking. It's so hard to say "I'll never drink again"...hell you can say you'll never gig again before you can say it. You'll learn the tricks and acquire the skills you need to make it work. It will happen. Rely on your friends and this site when those really hard times hit.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby jahozer » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:51 am

Hang in there, bro. Lets face it, this music is centered around a party scene. I think you are wise to stay away for a while. But as others have said, please dont sell your gear, and please dont stop coming here. This forum is made up of just really nice guys who are very dedicated to the sound we all love. So much so that it transcends the party, and the discipline and effort is what pays off. Use this time to woodshed while you heal. You will heal.

Its interesting because just last night I saw John Brown's Body, a spacey dubby reggae band. They were very tight and disciplined, but had that surreal sound to them. As I was looking around at the typical stoner crowd I had a realization. I had always considered music a drug, in that it affected me physically and mentally and as we can all attest that its extremely addictive. But I was wrong in that while it may be a drug for the audience, its not a drug for musicians. Getting high requires no discipline. No work. As a musician you can not afford to do that if you want the real payoff. In essence the musician is the drug and the recipient, but its a real payoff commensurate to the work put in. It is a real gratification, not an artificial one.
I have heard a great quote that we often give up what we want most, for what we want now. We all live our lives to that fault to varying degree. Please, as a musician, and a person, realize what you want most; to be as good as you can. Do what you need to do to protect that. If that means staying away, then that is what it means. If you can come back you will, but stay focused on what you want most.
Im sorry to sound preachy, but Im telling myself this as much as I am telling you, so thank you for sharing your story with me. Every little bit helps.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.- the girl from the bus
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby tcsned » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:39 am

River Rat, it seems like you are getting yourself in a good place and are getting your priorities in order. Playing music and gigging is something we hold dear but being healthy and alive is way more important. If you can't have both then the latter is where you should put your energy. I quit gigging for almost a year when my daughter was born and I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would. If you are meant to play music again, you will, if it's going to lead you down a dark road then leave it behind and move forward with healthier pursuits.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby paulinnc » Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:31 pm

Hey man,

Sorry to hear about your struggle, I can totally relate and I fully understand where you are coming from. I just celebrated 10 years of sobriety in August and I am a member of a 12 step program. The good news is that your situation is not uncommon and there is a solution. I know for me going to shows early on was a little freaky because I would get so wrapped up in what others were doing, if someone was puffing down or getting hammered next to me I would freak out. However over time that has thankfully passed, although I do have moments when I am at a show and I see some dude with a cute girl having a good time drinking a beer etc. and I get to thinking why I can't I have that? Then I start comparing how I feel on the inside to what I see on others outsides, and I lose every time. Working the steps has really changed me from the inside out and I no longer really care what other people are doing at shows, they are there to have a good time just like me. One thing that has made a huge difference in my recovery is becoming involved with the wharf rats and several other groups like it. Those groups are a really good way to meet others who are of like mind and a great way to give back to a scene that I used to take so much from. One thing you must remember is that everyone's story is different and what works for some might not work for you. My guess is that you haven't really enjoyed drinking and stuff for quite awhile but not having it to enjoy music/ shows is unfamiliar, uncharted territory for you so it would be normal to feel anxious going into it and if you are at all like me, when I get uncomfortable I will try and change that as fast as I can and for a long time drinking and drugs did just that.

Since cleaning up I have been on Phish tour at least 3 times, gone to see a bunch of other bands, bonnaroo and Jazzfest all sober and had the best times of my life and was able to enjoy the music much more than if I was high. I never thought it was possible but I enjoy shows and stuff now more than I ever did before, there is so much less stress, I don't have to worry about what I am doing and I am no longer a burden on the people around me. Don't get me wrong, if someone was blowing lines in front of me for a whole set I would feel pretty sketchy and I would go sit/dance somewhere else and let them do what they are going to do.

I would be happy to talk to you about this more off the board, if you like. One thing I would suggest is to focus on your sobriety and work on that. Everything else will come on its own and there are a lot of really good sober musicians out there so that should tell you that playing in bands and going to shows sober is doable and a lot of fun.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby Chuckles » Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:18 am

Wow, Ray, talk about your timely threads! I, too, have been away from the boards for a bit, having just recently gotten home from a month at an in-patient alcohol rehab. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, especially being away from my wife and kids for that time. This is my first time trying to get sober without trying to do it of my own sheer will (yeah, that didn't really take the couple of times I tried, which should surprise absolutely nobody) after a long 25+ year drinking career, and I can't thank you enough for having the courage to post this. What's helping me more than anything else is knowing I am not alone in my struggles; that there are others who are going through/have gone through this who share in our common love of the music, listening or playing. So, big thanks to those who have stepped up and shared as well. I hope if nothing else, you can take some measure of strength in the knowledge that you are not going through this alone.

Being a beginner with the program I certainly wouldn't want to offer specific advice, but I can relate a little of what I've gone through. Though, as previously stated, everyone's situations are different. What I can say is that I - perhaps foolishly, given all the warnings about triggers and people/places/things - on the night I got out stayed in town for a couple of days to test the waters, including seeing a local Dead band that night (Crazy Fingers in Boca -if anyone here is a member, you guys tore it up), and I was able to get through that first night okay. I built on that by playing a open mic and small party when I got back - just some acoustic jamming and such... but again, it was okay. I'm actually putting myself in situations where I would normally associate drinking with the activity, but trying to forge new associations that aren't centered around drinking. And it seems to be okay so far. Again, as previously stated, one person's path could be a disaster for someone else... but there is bound to be a way forward for you. Just know that the most important thing (and you certainly seem more than aware of this, which is the biggest thing) is protecting your recovery.

Everything I've experienced with what short-lived success I've had so far, from my run-up to deciding to get help to the intensive rehab experience through the baby steps I'm taking, has ben all thanks to the support of others, be they my family, friends, bandmates or the fellow patients, counselors and therapists at the rehab. You may think you've burned bridges with past jam-mates, but there are plenty of folks who I'm sure would love to play with you. Just need to find them and make sure they understand where you're coming from; Wharf Rats sounds like a great way to hook up on that front. More importantly regarding my support structure - and you know you've got one here - is having gone through the rehab itself and not hesitating to tell anyone about it and bing totally up-front with folks as you have been with your post. I know I could not have my 48 days and counting (yes, absolutely one day at a time!) without either having gone or participated in some sort of IOP group; just never would have happned for me just going to meetings.

I've not really gotten heavilly into working the steps yet, but reading 12&12 - especially 4&5 -has been a real eye-opener for me. I've got to be brutally honest with myself if I am to have any hope of success with this, especially if I want to get beyond the guilt and resentments that have carried over from my drinking career. I need to be able to let them go and put my trust in something greater than myself, whether that be music, the rooms or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Because there's no room for those resentments, not if we're going to move on to bigger and better things.

Listen, sorry to ramble on. This has probably done me a world of good at any rate, so consider it a major step towards your service work that you brought this up! :-) Who knows, you might have saved a life by doing so. I sent you a FB friend request after tracking you down through some of the other RUKinders' friends lists, so if you ever want to shoot the shit about this, dont hesitate to contact me; we're working through many of the same issues... And it WILL work out!

Peace,
Chuck
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby paulinnc » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:02 am

Chuck, get a sponsor, work the steps and get a home group. Steps 4 and 5 are very important but the steps are laid out in order for a reason, this is where a sponsor is crucial. So get one and don't worry if they aren't like you or are not into music etc, that is not really important when it comes to working a program. Look for someone who has what you want in terms of being happy and enjoying life and ask them how they got that way and follow their directions. I know for me some of the best teachers I have had are people that are completely different from me but after getting to know them I find out they are just like me even though are stories and circumstances may be different.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:36 pm

Hey, I'm a recovering addict myself. Don't let the moral inventory freak you out, it's not as scary as people make it out to be. If it's worked really fearlessly, it can be an incredibly freeing experience.

It's really simple; go to meetings, follow all the suggestions, and you'll stay clean. That's what the program promises, and it's kept its promise to me. There were days in really early recovery when I would go to 4 meetings a day, 'cause I was just so scared to fall back into using. That's what kept me clean, along with getting a sponsor, working steps, hanging with people in recovery, doing service, and generally doing the things I didn't want to do. You can do it, man. :peas:

Edit: Hey Chuckles, my cousin is good friends with Crazy Finger's lead guitarist. Been to some of their shows. Not the best place to be in early recovery, bro. You'll be able to go to shows and stuff eventually, you just might want to give yourself a little more time. Maybe a few months, a year. Depends on your state of mind, depends on how honest you're being with yourself about what you're doing and how it's making you feel. Just to put some space between you and the using, it's a good idea to stay away from bars in the beginning... Being in bars has always made me think once or twice about picking up. That's not to say you can't stay clean if you go ahead and hang in bars. It's just the "go to a barbershop long enough and you'll get a haircut" thinking.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby NeebruM » Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:32 pm

Been sober since 1982, and believe me, I HAD to!

I play all the time, write and sing, but didn't for a few years while I was getting my head on right.

Music's not the problem.

Resentments are dangerous, as I assume you know. Perhaps a consideration of depression is in the mix as well? There ARE good treatments if so.

Build your program, set your foundation SOLID, then slip back into the music mix. Trusted fellow players that understand will surface and be of great help.

Good luck and God's speed. YOU and your life, health and mind are #1 importance right now.

Even Garcia tried to sober up. He was too late. don't be the same.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby Chuckles » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:42 pm

Points well taken, and again what I'm doing may well be suicide for someone else. That said, there's a point where recovery can come up straight against practical life. It happens for people in the service industry all the time. At the meeting I was at tonight (first time at this particular club) they let me know about a weekly meeting called Pub Group specifically for folks who's everyday experience will bring them in contact with drinking environments. Might be worth taking a look to see if there are similar in someone's area if someone needs that type of specific support.

I'm not prescribing anything for anyone, just putting the info out there.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby wolftigerrosebud » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:44 am

Hey, I've got a friend who's right on the verge of becoming a major, major figure in jazz, and he's got 15 years and is a fully professional musician. He bought his house with gig/album money. He's in places where there's drinking and drugging all the time, because how can you avoid it if you want to play music?

To each their own, there's no question about that. The common thread I've noticed here is that in early recovery, people are saying that they (we) were still in the danger zone. Going to bars can trigger that. No doubt that it's hard to avoid drinking in a lot of lines of work (and just plain socializing, for that matter.)
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby vwjodyme » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:00 am

No experience here, but just wanted to chime in with something that maybe helpful.
I saw the Chris Herren story (Unguarded) on espn last week--he's the guy from Mass, kicked out of BC for drugs, played for the Celtics while still an addict and is now in recovery. It was pretty powerful stuff and seems to be along the same lines as a lot of people commenting so maybe a good watch for some of you. One takeaway point was that he realized that he wasn't put here to play under the lights because that always led him back to drugs and alcohol, but found his calling teaching kids to play.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby Emoto » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:43 am

Tobacco is my kryptonite. Had a heck of a time kicking it. Still want it from time to time, but I never give in because I am in charge of my life, not the tobacco. That thinking works for me. No idea if it would work for anyone else.

Giving up weed was easier because it changed in how it affected me somehow over the decades, such that it was no longer an enjoyable sensation. Even worse, it made me so stupid that I could not remember the changes in even the most simple songs. I'm trying to be a better player, so that decision made itself. So, please don't anyone worry about it, if I say no to that trip to the car, etc., when out and about. It isn't you, it's me. :lol:

Anyway, best of luck in your efforts to tame the dragon that can live in any of us!
Such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there...
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby hawk900 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:31 am

Yes I've been up and down that road so many times in my life you actually end up completely disgusted with yourself and what you may have done or they people you hurt or offended along the fall off phase. Unfortunately alcohol which in my eyes at this is pretty much disgusting. Disgusting at the point where society and the so called law make it readily availible where ever you go and is not frowned apon by everyday society and it fries your organs and causes permanent damage to your central nervous system. No.1 your talk of gigs and jammin a guitar not sure sorry didn't catch what you play. Alcohol is not a co-ordination enhancer for one and you lose your focus pretty quick as you sweat and play. I don't consider that to be fun especially when you stated the fact of fun.
I've been in and out of rehabs,detox,emergency rooms for morphine,heroin,coke,oxycontin but man I have never seen so many people with mental and nerve damage that I have seen from alcohol. From twitching when they talk and half sides of entire bodies shaking constantly everyday all day. I asked the dude is this ever gonna go away and he said it's permanent and has already been dealing with his half shattered nervous system for years.
I could go on and on. this is a deadhead forum so I'm not gonna go into the because the gov. says it's ok then it's ok. Every head knows we live in a constant hidden corporate conspiracy that sickens every year and the world ain't gettin prettier.
What I have learned is to respect every crutch or vise and use those vices and find replacements of ones you can't treat with respect eg. stop at any time and stick to those. Not the ones that pull you back into the gates of hell.
There are much safer alternatives to what the gov. tells you what to do.
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Re: Sobriety and the music

Postby hippieguy1954 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:37 am

One thing is for sure after reading these posts. You probably couldn't find a better group of people anywhere on our "shinny ball of blue" to discuss this or any problem. There is a lot of love and knowledge floating around here. :smile: :smile: :smile:
Jim

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