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!