The Isolation Of Addiction

For me, drinking always starts as a social thing but then ends as an isolation tool. Drinking in high school was always about being at the party, trying to hook up with some girl. It was about friends and rebelling against our parents. It was fun and exciting.

But at the end of my drinking career, it became about getting away from people and being alone. That way I could drink as much as I wanted and as long as I wanted without judgement. I also didn’t have to pretend that I cared about the people around me because when I was getting drunk, it was all about me. It was purely for my pleasure and had nothing to do with the people around me. They just got in the way.

Even when I was around others, I couldn’t wait to be alone. I could care less about the party that use to be the best part. That’s when I knew something had changed. All I wanted to do was be alone with my drink and my food. Pretty soon the excitement was gone and it wasn’t fun anymore.

That is the progressiveness of my illness of addiction. It always starts out fun and ends up in misery. I can’t just have a few drinks to be social. I have to take it to the extreme. And the extreme is me, alone in a room, drinking more and more just trying to keep the party going a little longer. I could never drink enough. I could never eat enough. In the end, I was still sad and alone. All the drink and food did was add a hangover to the mess.

A life of drinking and overeating just isn’t a real answer. It isn’t sustainable. It may start out as fun, but it’s a lie. It may feel like a social lubricant at first, but for people like me, it always turns into a way to isolate. It promises comfort and joy, but it really brings sadness and pain.

I know now that I like to be alone. I get recharged by spending time on my own. And that’s ok. But I need to remember that I need people too. I am not meant to be isolated from the world. And I don’t want to be anymore because all that led to was extreme loneliness and sadness.

So I’m going to choose people over addiction today. I’ll see how that goes. And I have a feeling I will want to choose people again tomorrow.

LIVE: Chris Swan on StageIt.com - 2.12.19

Purchase tickets here ==> BUY NOW

I am doing my very first LIVE internet show on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019, and I want to personally invite you to be there!

I love the internet.  It allows us to do some really cool things, and one of those things is performing music for you LIVE.  You can watch from your laptop or you can use Apple TV or Chrome Cast to put it right up on your TV, sit back and relax in your favorite chair and enjoy some inspirational hip-hop....all without leaving your house!

How cool is that?

I will be coming to you LIVE from Soul Motivation Studios.  The show will be about 30 minutes.  I'll be playing songs from my latest record - Welcome To The Fellowship - and I will also be performing my latest Spotify hit "Abundance!"  I am also going to take some questions at the end, so you won't want to miss this!

It all goes down on February 12th, 2019 at 7 pm CT (8 pm EST).  You do have to purchase tickets to attend, but I made it a "Pay What You Want" event, so you don't have to break the bank to be there with me.  Click HERE to get your tickets now.

I am doing this show on a really cool platform called StageIt.com.  They have hosted concerts from all kinds of artists, big and small.  The audio and visual quality is top of the line.  It will be like you are hanging out in the studio with me!

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
1.  Click HERE to go to the show page (which is also where you purchase tickets)
2.  Sign in with your Facebook account
3.  Purchase what they call "notes."  You can use credit, debit or PayPal.
4.  Then you use the notes to pay for your ticket.
5.  Put in how many notes you want to spend and you are in.  You will be emailed your ticket info.
6.  On show day, show up at the same URL or just click HERE, sign in and enjoy the show!

I also made a video showing how to get tickets.  You can watch it HERE.

FYI this is a very kid-friendly show, so you can bring the whole family and make a night out of it!

I really hope you will join me for a night of positivity and inspirational hip-hop!  Just click on the button below to get your tickets now. 

Things Addicts Say To Justify...

Thinks Addicts Say To Justify...

Whatever your drug of choice is, we all have used the same excuses to justify using again.

To celebrate my 3 year anniversary of being sober, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the excuses I used to use to justify having that first drink. There are many times I would go 6-8 months without drinking and then start thinking some of the following things. And once I gave in and had that first drink, it was all over. The addiction cycle began all over again and I was in hell.

Here are a list of some of my excuses. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I deserve this. I’ve gone so long now without a drink. I deserve a reward.

  • Everyone else gets to drink. Why can’t I?

  • There’s no way I’m never going to drink again so I might as well just do it.

  • I need to just drink less this time.

  • I can control it now. I just needed a break.

  • I’ll just drink on gigs.

  • I’ll just drink at home.

  • I’ll just drink 1-2 times a week.

  • I want to get drunk.

  • It’s fun to get buzzed.

  • I never do anything fun anymore. I deserve to have fun.

  • Getting drunk sounds fun

  • My life sucks. I just want to drink.

  • Drinking will make me feel better.

  • It will be different this time.

  • I’ll just have one day of drinking and then get back to work on being sober and healthy.

  • I want to be part of the party.

  • It’s unfair that I don’t get to drink.

  • I miss the old days.

  • I think it’s time for a drink.

  • I’ve been sober long enough to prove that I don’t have a problem.

Every time I had one of these thoughts and then gave in, I would be back into the misery of addiction in days or weeks tops. These were all lies and excuses that led me back to that hell. If you find yourself saying these things to yourself, know that you are not alone. We all have these thoughts. But I have given in enough to know that they lead to an awful life.

All these thoughts are just our disease trying to bring us back. They are lies. And we don’t live in lies anymore. We live in truth. The truth is we deserve to be free. And freedom comes from letting those thoughts go and celebrating another day of sobriety.

Happy sobriety day to anyone who has a day, a week, a year or a decade sober!

Gratitude: Official Lyrics Video

🙏🏻Everything we want is right in front of us, we just have to choose to see it. The way we do that is to start practicing gratitude! My song Gratitude was written as a reminder to do this every day. I made a lyrics video so you can listen and read along. Check it out and remember all the awesome in your life today! #gratitude

Gratitude Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

This is the year of change and Gratitude is the second single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. The song has a banging beat, a catchy sing-a-long hook, and clean, inspiring lyrics reminding us to focus on all the blessings in our life. Everything we want is right in front of us, we just have to choose to see it by practicing gratitude!

Gratitude: The Story Behind The Song

Hit play to hear what inspired my song Gratitude and what I hope you get out of it.  And be sure to share this video with those who you think need to hear it!

Addiction Panic

I am an alcoholic and a food addict. I also have an anxiety disorder. My days of addiction were filled with panic attacks. I use to get them almost daily. Fear would grip my entire body. I felt like I was dying or I was going to have a seizure.

I would be so scared for my life in these moments and knew I had to quit drinking and overeating. I knew my bad habits were playing a big role in triggering these panic attacks. But then, when I would consider walking away from my addictions, the panic of not having my only comforts would kick in. It was a catch 22. Damned if I did. Damned if I didn’t.

Can I survive a life of continuing to get my fixes every day? But then, how would I survive without them?

Talk about insanity. I was stuck in the middle of these two choices for years and years. Both with food and alcohol. I remember being in a constant panic. If I didn’t get my fix, how would I survive? What would I have to look forward to every day? And this want became a real need. I needed the food and alcohol to survive and have any joy at all.

I felt trapped and unable to make a move. And this would cause endless bouts of depression and anxiety. It was a scary way to live my life.

Thank God He pulled me out when He did. He showed me it was possible to have joy without my indulgences. Matter of fact, the joy I experience now is real and lasting. And best of all, it has no side effects. I don’t have to suffer through days of hangovers just to get a few hours of fun in my life. I don’t have to spend my days feeling bloated and winded just so I could have a few hours of fun with food.

But the best part is the panic attacks are pretty much gone. I still may have a moment of panic here and there, but I now know how to deal with it. I can call on God to give me strength. I can reach out to my fellows for encouragement. I am not alone. And I am not relying on a deadly substance to get me through the day. The constant panic has been replaced by serenity and freedom.

I am finally free from this insanity and panic. And this freedom came from working the 12 steps of OA. I never want to go back to that life. And I can say honestly today that I will do whatever it takes to stay on this path of recovery and freedom from the panic that used to rule my life.

The Benefits Of Gratitude

“Talk about life as a miserable existence, that was me before I started to change.”

For years, most of my adult life for sure, misery was my constant companion. That’s a poetic way to say my life sucked. Or at least I thought it sucked. And since I thought my life sucked, well, it did.

I use to be so focused on everything that was wrong in my life. I was fat. I was lonely. I was broke. I was depressed. And all I could think about was how miserable I was. Every morning, the first thought that came into my head was “Ugh.” Usually followed by a few choice cuss words. I would sleep in as long as I could because I was dreading my day. It was going to be full of stuff I didn’t want to do, more loneliness, more disappointment. Life had become a chore with no joy in it.

Looking back now, it’s no mystery as to why I was so miserable. All I wanted to see was the negative. All the people I hung out with could only see the negative. I was surrounded by hopelessness, inside and out, so how are you suppose to want to get out of bed when that’s all you have to look forward to?!

The crazy part is, my life was amazing. I had so much love, respect and opportunity in my life. I just couldn’t see it through all the “depression fog.” I saw what I wanted to see and I became who I wanted to become.

Fat. Lonely. Broke. Depressed.

It got bad. Really bad. I even became suicidal for a while. I knew I had two options - give up or figure out how to be happy.

Thankfully I chose the second.

I began a quest of discovery. How do happy people do it? What is the difference between their life and mine? And how can I find happiness?

There were many answers that I discovered and I am going to be sharing them with you over the course of this year. But one of the biggest and most obvious was GRATITUDE.

I found out that a lot of happy people are happy because they CHOOSE to be. It doesn’t just happen. They choose to focus on the awesome things in their life. Even when times are hard, they choose to see the good. And when you choose to see the good stuff, then you start to feel good. And good things seem to “start” happening to you. The truth is there has always been good things happening to you, you just couldn’t see them.

This is the year of change. Every month this year I am going to release a new song that deals with a different aspect of overcoming negativity and finding true happiness. It’s all part of the 12 Core Principles I have found to be the cure for depression and the path to a happy life!

The first principle is Abundance and it was my single that came out on January 1st. If you want to read more about this core value, you can do so by checking out my blog post “Why Am I Always Broke?

The second principle is Gratitude and the single comes out February 1st.

So get ready for big changes this year. These 12 Core Principles will change your life, just like they have changed mine if you choose to embrace them and practice them every day. Everything we want is right in front of us, we just have to choose to see it!

Gratitude - New Single From Chris Swan

The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records is coming on February 1st!

2019 is the year of change and Gratitude is the second single in a series of "mindset-changing" songs by inspirational hip-hop artist Chris Swan. The song has a banging beat, a catchy sing-a-long hook, and clean, inspiring lyrics reminding us to focus on all the blessings in our life. Everything we want is right in front of us, we just have to choose to see it by practicing gratitude!

Chris Swan On The Cerebral Entertainment Podcast - Take 2

My boys at The Cerebral Entertainment Podcast are doing big things. It’s a great show full of interesting guests and I had the honor to be on their show for the second time recently! We talk about addiction, how to be a light in the dark on social media, how to stay positive in a crazy world, and what’s coming next from Soul Motivation Records!

Hit play to take a listen!

Abundance Gets Added To Big Spotify Playlist!

Chris Swan’s new single Abundance just got added to the New Music Friday Christian Playlist on Spotify!! This is the same playlist that his song Perfect got added to as well! Big ups to the Spotify curators for all the love!

We couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this great playlist. Be sure to the button below to go follow and listen to this dope inspirational playlist!

Abundance: The Story Behind The Song

Hit play to hear what inspired my song Abundance and what I hope you get out of it.  And be sure to share this video with those who you think need to hear it!

Abundance Is Here!

The new single from Chris Swan is here!

Abundance is Chris Swan's first single of 2019 from Soul Motivation Records. The song was written to help us start the year with the right mindset. If we are thankful for what we have and we believe God will provide what we need, then there's no need to worry. There's plenty to go around when you are living abundantly!

How To Make The Right Choice

We have a choice to make and we must make it every day.

Are we going to fight or give up?

Both are very real options and when we get up every day, we have to choose which one it’s going to be. And to not choose is in itself a decision to give up. It’s crucial that we make this decision first thing every morning. It will be the difference between success and failure in our lives.

Abstinence and sobriety take work. It takes an intentional attitude and an actual plan that we follow. So if we choose to fight, then we need to follow through by making a plan for our day and then following it.

The power of planning cannot be overstated. It doesn’t need to be an overly detailed plan, either. We just need to plan the following five things:

  1. What are we going to eat?

  2. When are we going to eat?

  3. How are we going to serve?

  4. What are we going to do to live out our true purpose in life?

  5. What are we going to do if temptation strikes?

If we have a plan that includes these five things, then we are going to win the fight that day. And at the end of the day, we can lay our heads down in victory, ready to get up the next day and make the choice to do it again.

And if one day, the fight seems like to much to bare, it’s ok. We don’t have to win every battle, we just need to keep showing up and choosing to fight. That’s how we will win the war. Success is nothing but a series of battles won, one day at a time. If we choose to fight every day, then we are guaranteed to have the successful life we have always dreamed of.

Rock Paper Podcast Take Two

I had the honor of hanging out with my buddy and one of the biggest music fans I know, Shane Presley, recently. He has a great podcast called Rock Paper Podcast. I was on his show way back when I started Soul Motivation Records in June of 2017 and recently was on to give some updates and chat about dope Christmas movies!

Hit the button to take a listen!

How A Food Recovery Retreat Saved My Life

Food was always my first love. Ever since I was a kid, food was my best friend, my safety net, and my go to solution when I needed comfort. Oh yea, I also loved eating when I was happy. It was my favorite way to reward myself after a job well done. Even though I say “was,” the truth is, deep down I still feel this way about food. But COR, an amazing food recovery retreat in Minneapolis, MN, helped me realize how damaging that way of life was and more importantly showed me what my other options were. And they are awesome!

Before COR

Before COR

I grew up in a good home. Everything looked great on the outside. But behind closed doors, our family was a mess. My mom and dad fought constantly. There was a lot of yelling and screaming. But whenever it was time to eat, everything was ok. Sitting in front of the TV, eating with my family, was the one time that everyone got along. It felt safe. It felt like everything was fine. It was the one escape from the madness. And as I got older, I continued to use food for safety and comfort. I didn’t realize it at the time. It was just an instinct. I wanted to survive so I grabbed the nearest thing that would get me there and that was food.

The problem is, as time went on, it was never enough. I could never eat enough to feel truly safe or happy for long. I always wanted more and more because the only time I was happy was when I was eating. Then I started hanging out in bars. I’m a musician, so it’s my job to entertain in bars every night. It’s also part of the job to drink and get others to drink more. So I took that to heart and really went for it. Now I was drinking a lot and eating a lot. I gained weight so incredibly fast. Most of my adult life (I’m 42 now) I have weighed over 400 pounds. The worst it got was actually after I quit drinking. I knew I was going to die if I kept drinking the way I was, so after one night landing in the ER with severe heart palpitations, I decided to quit. And I did. But instead of drinking, I turned to food.

2 years later, I was over 500 pounds and miserable. I could barely walk 10 steps without having to stop to catch my breath. My knees hurt so bad, I could almost not get up after sitting anymore. I had asthma and was constantly wheezing. I was pre-diabetic and constantly scared I was going to have a heart attack. The list goes on and on, but I knew I had to do something quick. That’s when I found COR.

My life completely changed the moment I walked in those doors. The people were so nice to me. Love and kindness was something I really craved and it meant the world to get that there. And when we started talking about the disease of addiction and how the 12 steps could help me overcome this, it was over. I knew this was me. This was the solution I have been looking for my entire life! For the first time in years I saw hope again! I felt like I finally found my people too. Finally I could understand that I wasn’t a freak with no willpower. I had this disease that was curable if I was willing to take the steps. Once I realized that, I was all in! I worked the first three steps at COR, found my first sponsor and started working the steps as soon as I got home.

After COR

After COR

It’s been about 7 months now. I’ve lost 109 pounds! That is super exciting and there aren’t enough words to express how much better I feel physically. But truly the best part of it all, is the day to day of it. I have a meal plan I love. I don’t have to obsess on food all day. I have time and energy to put into things that matter now. I am connected to a bunch of amazing people. I have freedom and peace that I have been craving since I was a little kid. And I finally feel safe and loved without looking for it in food. I can’t say enough about COR. It literally saved my life and made the life I’m living 100xs better. I am finally on a real road to recovery, not just some fad diet. This is the life I’ve always wanted and I have COR to thank for all of it!

Why Am I Always Broke?

Why am i always broke?

I’ve been broke my whole life. Whether I was making great money or no money, it didn’t matter. I’ve always been broke. Everything has been a struggle. I could never afford health care. I could never afford to pay my taxes. I could never afford to pay my mortgage. I lost a house to foreclosure and I almost lost my second. I had to file for bankruptcy because it go so bad. I didn’t know what else to do.

When I filed for bankruptcy, I was making close to $60K a year with no dependents. Also, I would track all my money in and out. I knew exactly where I was spending my money. I knew exactly what I was bringing in. I had a budget every month.

What?! Why was I always broke?

I got to the point of almost losing my mind. I constantly felt like a failure. I couldn’t claim ignorance because I’ve read all the books about what you’re suppose to do with money. I knew what to do.

I couldn’t claim low income because I was making really good money with no child support or alimony or other common excuses men use for financial woes.

The truth is I had only myself to blame and my problem was two-fold.

  1. I was spending too much money on my addictions.

  2. I believed I would always be broke.

I really felt like it was impossible for me to get ahead in life. Especially as a working musician. No, I was just meant to live the life of a suffering, poor musician. So that’s exactly what I was.

As you might guess, nothing changed until I did. I had to face these two issues or I would never accomplish the things I wanted and I would never live the life I dreamed about.

First up was my addictions. My first concern with these behaviors was health based. I was dying. I weighed over 500 pounds and could barely move. That had to change. But the other part was the money. I was spending $2-$3K a month on my addictions. Yep, you read that right. $30,000 or more on alcohol and food per year. That is what we call “unsustainable.” And that is what addiction does. It blinds you to reality so you can keep living in your little comforts.

“Just one more day and I’ll change.” I said that for years.

I had to quit drinking. And I had to get my eating under control. If you want to hear more about how I did that, you can check out My Recovery Story. It was not an easy path, but one I knew I had to take. I am still a work in progress, but by the grace of God I’m sober and abstinent from compulsive overeating today.

Now the second problem. This one was even harder to conquer. It was my mindset. I truly believed that I was just meant to be poor. It was too hard to get ahead. The world was out to get me. Murphy kept showing up at my front door. Just when I thought I was getting ahead, something bad would happen and take me right back to zero. I was drowning and saw no rescue in sight.

The truth was no one was going to come save me. I had to stop looking for a rescue boat and start swimming.

Are these water analogies landing?

It was up to me. And if anything was going to change, I had to start believing in what was truly possible again. When I really thought about it, things went south when I stopped believing in myself and the possibilities of life. I had to get that back. And I had to start believing that good things could happen to me. Even more, that I DESERVED good things to happen to me.

It took a lot of counseling, late night conversations, reading, studying and praying to finally start to get it.

I was created to be successful. I am meant to be happy and healthy. I am a creation of God and I matter. There is a plan for my life. All I have to do is start believing again.

So I chose to believe. I started telling myself every day that I live in abundance. I am not poor, I am rich. I am surrounded by love, opportunity and money. Everywhere I look, these things are in my life. And you know what, they always have been I just couldn’t see them until I chose to see them.

Once I made that choice, things started to happen. Money started showing up. Gigs started rolling in. I got a bunch of piano students and my record company started to get its wings. God was working and my reality became one of true abundance.

I still have to get up and choose abundance every day. But when I do, it makes all the difference. I use to always be broke but now I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. Even if I don’t have the bank account to back that up yet, I have no doubt I will soon. And more than that, I have the friends, family and love to remind me all along the way just how rich I am.

“If you see yourself as broke, then you’re gonna be broke. If you see yourself as doomed, then you’re gonna be doomed. But if you see yourself as rich, surrounded by love, surrounded by money, surrounded by opportunity, then you’re gonna live abundantly.”

Abundance - The New Single From Chris Swan - Coming January 1st, 2019!

Abundance - New Single From Chris Swan

The new single from Chris Swan and Soul Motivation Records is coming on January 1st!

The song is designed to help us start the year with the right mindset. If we are thankful for what we have and we believe God will provide what we need, then there's no need to worry. There's plenty to go around when you are living abundantly!

Oh yea, and it’s a jam.

How To Overcome Fear

Fear is a powerful force. It’s also incredibly sneaky the way it can work itself into our lives, quickly take hold, and destroy our hopes and dreams. Fear can be paralyzing, keeping us from making decisions and moving on with our lives.

Fear can keep us isolated. So often we spend way too much time worrying about what others think of us. It can make us push people away when all they want to do is love us. Fear can make us believe that we don’t belong. It can make us feel like we are not good enough or cool enough, which can lead to self-loathing and a feeling of worthlessness. It can lead us down a path to where we don’t even want to live anymore.

Fear can fester and destroy our lives. It’s so important that we call out our fears and face them head on. We need to look at them logically, find the false information we base them on, and replace them with truth.

The truth is we were created to be here and we are here for a purpose. We do belong and we are worthy of love. We are perfectly imperfect just the way we are, even with all our flaws. We are meant to be happy and successful.

Fear can work it’s way into our lives quickly, so we need to choose to see the truth over our fears everyday. A great exercise is this: every night before we go to bed, we need to take a few minutes and ask ourself “Was I afraid today?” If the answer is yes, we need to call out those fears. Look at them logically and see if they really make sense. Then replace those thoughts of fear with the truth.

If we do this consistently every day, we can destroy fear. It won’t disappear forever, but we can keep it from ruining our lives. We can gain strength in reminding ourselves of what the truth really is. And then we can live the lives we were truly meant to live.

Don’t let fear steal your joy away from you. Let the truth ring free and give you the peace you have been looking for your whole life.