I am an alcoholic. Through and through. I have never been able to go out and have one drink. If I'm going to drink, I'm going to do it right. I am going to get drunk. And not just a little buzzed. I mean really drunk. But after years of drinking so much, it became really hard to get drunk. I was drinking Long Island Teas with Grand Marnier shots all night long. I remember, I would show up for gigs, down two long island teas and two shots of Grand Marnier back to back before I even started playing! It was becoming harder and harder to get drunk. Drinking became a chore. It wasn't fun anymore. And here's the real catch - I didn't even like the taste alcohol! I just liked the effect. So finally I found myself just trying to gulp down as much as I could as fast as I could, holding back urges to throw up, just trying to get drunk. I knew something had to change.
"Not looking back on what I use to see."
It wasn't until I ended up in the ER with severe heart palpitations that I realized this was a life or death situation and all this madness was not worth dying for. I lied there on the gurny while they were running tests on me just thinking "What am I doing?" I remember, hearing someone in the room next to me crying out in pain. It was so heartbreaking and I knew that would be me soon if I didn't make a change. I decided then and there to quit drinking. That was over 2 years ago now and I haven't had a drink since!
"Stronger now than I was before."
The real miracle is that after I quit drinking, I continued to work in bars every night. I had to sit there and watch everyone else getting drunk and having a good time, while I drank water and watched in envy. It was really hard for the first 3 months or so. I would feel pretty bitter most of the time and just get out of there as soon as my gig was done. But as time passed, I grew stronger. I just couldn't stop thinking about how miserable I felt all the time when I was drinking. I was in a constant haze everyday, perpetually hung over. No energy. Little motivation. In the worse physical shape I've ever been in in my life. There was no way I was going to go back to that life, so I hung in there night after night. Day after day.
"You can't take this life from me, don't mess around anymore."
Now, I can't even imagine going back to that life of drinking. I feel so much better, yes, but I also feel a freedom I never felt when I was drinking. There is something really beautiful about letting go of an obsession or addiction. It lets you enjoy life again. It lets you feel emotions again. Drinking was stealing my joy away one shot at a time. I thought it was making me happy but it was really making my life miserable. I was caught in a cycle of obsession that I couldn't get out of. There is no way I could go back to that life now. Don't get me wrong, I get tempted occasionally just like everyone else. But all I have to do is go back to that night in the ER in mind, remember how miserable and scared I felt, and any temptation I was feeling disappears.
I am so grateful to be sober over 2 years now. Most of my friends and family have been really supportive of my choice to quit. But some people don't get it. Misery loves company and often I encounter people who want to buy me a drink and don't quite understand why I would say no. So I wrote a song along with Chela Mancuso (an incredibly talented singer and songwriter) about these experiences called The Mess Around. I'm excited for you to hear it! It's all about living a sober life in an alcoholic world. It's my declaration to those who don't get it.
I don't mess around anymore. I got things to do.