Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Just a quick gratitude entry here before I go to bed.  Heard a woman share tonight about a friend relapsing after eight years. As much as I hate hearing this about someone, I need to hear it.  I need to remember how bad that last drunk was for me.  So tonight I am so grateful for my sobriety tonight.  I am very grateful for twelve step programs  that are there to help me and others like me.  I will surely die if I do not remain sober.  I am also grateful for the friends and support I have met in the rooms.  I am grateful for my health and my wonderful family.  I am grateful for the opportunity to go back to school and finish my degree.  I am grateful for a new friend that helped point me in the direction of where I want to move my life to next.  I am grateful for her love of music... I am grateful for little Addie who brings me so much joy every day.  She makes me thank God for the life that I have.  I am so blessed to have that little nugget in my life.  I am so grateful for the friends that have stuck beside me and that did not judge me or abandon me while I changed my life.  I am grateful to have finally found a higher power of my understanding that watches over me and that helped me when I could not help myself.  I am grateful for all of you that have made this blog a huge success.  I am grateful for my life and how amazing it is! 

Oh and one more thing, I am grateful for Rock n Roll.  Go See Live Music!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Give Zero Fucks

I know there are some people in the world that believe that there are certain words in the English language that are considered bad.  It is said at the beginning of several meetings that I go to, that while sharing please refrain from foul language because it might offend some people. This to me is really odd if one is to think about all the shit that we have done and seen in active addiction.  Well if you one of those people I would stop reading right now.  Why? First of all if you are easily offended you should probably not read ANY more of my writing.  Second, I am going to use the word fuck a lot in this entry.  Third, I really don't give a fuck.

So lets start with the word fuck.  And yes there is a point to all my fucking tonight.  I am a person that is very fond of the English language.  I believe that the spoken word, my own and others, make the best stories.  Sure I can read a book, or watch a movie, but there is just something about a story that is being told that is amazing to me.  Inflection, improvisation, and body language tell us way more than a book or movie ever could.  I think this might be why I am such a fan of music with lyrics.  To me there is just something magical about it.  With that being said, I truly believe that the word fuck might be the most useful word in the English language. It has so much more meaning than for unlawful carnal knowledge.  Sure, I could pull out my thesaurus right now and spend time searching for a word that MIGHT have as much weight or MAYBE convey the feelings or emotions I want.  But, when I really think about it, sometimes those other words just do not do the trick.  I might come across as uneducated, uncouth, or ignorant...  But, guess what?  Yep, you are right.  I don't give a fuck!  Any word that can be used as a verb, noun, adjective and adverb is superb to me.  This brings me to my next point, giving zero fucks.

Something I have been thinking about the last few days is how content I am and how little I seem to care about anything.  Now this might seem as apathetic to someone that is not a drug addict or an alcoholic.  For me this is becoming a life saver.  For so many years I was constantly thinking about this and worrying about that.  At the beginning the booze and drugs worked and quieted my brain.  After about a decade of abuse, they could no longer keep my mind quiet.  In fact they did just the opposite.  All that shit I was trying to quiet inside my head was now screaming louder than ever.  What I had, what I didn't have, he said she said, anything and every fucking thing a person could think about, I was thinking about and it was making me crazy.  Literally.  I think the Violent Femmes said it best in their song "The Country Death Song."

      "Well, I'm a thinkin' and thinkin', till there's nothin' I ain't thunk.
       Breathing in the stink, till finally I stunk.
       It was at that time, I swear I lost my mind."

This is where I was at the end.  Fueled by Cocaine and Whiskey, my brain obsessed over everything.  Especially the painful stuff.  Now, with a little over 15 months sober, I have started to notice that the obsessive thinking has dissipated. All that worry and obsessing was killing me. I would worry about everything.  It is no wonder one of my favorite songs is "Worry".  Over the past week or so I have realized that all this FUCKING BULLSHIT I use to carry around in my brain just really does not matter any more, and man it feels great.  It is a feeling of peace when I realize my brain has been quiet for an hour or two with out one single conscience thought.  As I write this I am almost overwhelmed with the relief that brings.  One of many promises sobriety has fulfilled.  Tonight, I GIVE ZERO FUCKS!

In closing I have to admit that I completely stole the I Give Zero Fucks saying from my friend Brian.  Thanks for the inspiration buddy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's Great to be Alive

If I had to make any statements about my weekend, I think It's Great to be Alive would describe how I felt the entire weekend.  Although it was bitter sweet and full of emotions both high and low, I would not trade it for anything.  The best part about it was the fact that going into the weekend I had no idea how it was going to go.  When I first moved to Denver, I spent a lot of time going out by myself.  Now back in Atlanta, I have come to the realization that in order to do the things I want to do, I will probably have to do them alone.  Well, at least that is what I was thinking on Friday. Here is how things ended up.

As I drove to Athens with the window down and the music loud with the cold air and warm sunshine hitting my face, my mind was racing.  I had two nights of the Drive by Truckers ahead of me.  I had a hotel room and the plan was to meet up with a new sober friend.   She and I have been facebook friends for a while and actually met in Charlotte on NYE.  I was venturing into completely new territory.  First I was headed into a very risky weekend in a city where all of my addictions met each other years ago.  I was without any of my support network, and to top it off I was going to hang out with this person that I had just met.  Needless to say the fear or excitement or what ever it was crept into my very dysfunctional brain and the next thing I know I am thinking about fat lines of Cocaine, ice cold whiskey, and LSD.  Which was my typical concert cocktail.   Now, I have had these thoughts before but not like this.  Usually it is a fleeting thought and is gone before I even realize what I was really was thinking about.  After a while of playing the tape through, and realizing that I would just end up scaring the shit out of my new friend in that state of mind as well as end up in jail or worse I came up a much safer plan.  I have really been wanting to get tattooed lately and I mean heavily.  My old friend Craig, who is no longer with us, use to love getting work done at Pain and Wonder.  Which is right next to the 40 Watt.  How appropriate would it be for these guys to tattoo me right next door to where I would be seeing my favorite band?  But, what would I get?  Immediately I realized how much I had been thinking about Cocaine and decided that the symbol for one of my 12 step groups would work.  Then every time from this weekend on I would have a permanent reminder of what I am suppose to be doing instead of what might feel good.  Unfortunately Pain and Wonder was all booked up till Tuesday, but I still managed to get the tattoo done.  It has been a while since I have gotten work done and I forgot how much that shit hurts....  But I still love it!

I was a little apprehensive about the weekend with my new friend but, from what I new about her, I told myself everything would be OK.  I have my reminder, I have my phone, and if I really get tempted or uncomfortable I will just leave.  More times than not, my expectations or fears or what ever you want to call it were way off.  There was absolutely no reason for apprehension.  My new friend who I will call "FISH" for now ended up being a perfect running mate for the weekend.  Smart, funny, weird, and a rock n roll lover, who could ask for more.  Saturday, we went to the DBT fundraiser for Nuci's Space with her boyfriend, which was really cool.  He is one of us and is also a member of one of my most recent favorite bands.  We talked about music and recovery, and I was very amazed with his openness with a stranger.  Needless to say it was a really great evening.  In that moment I had an epiphany.  I have known for a while that Kennesaw, Ga was not were I wanted to live and that it probably was not the best place for me to pursue a writing career.  Lets face it, it is not the thriving metropolis of art and free thinking.  Actually it is the complete opposite and I do not fit here at all.  The funny part about all this is that my mom asked me Friday before I left what my plans were, as far as where I wanted to live once that time came.  It was something that had really been causing a good bit of internal strife.  I knew for obvious reasons that Colorado was no longer an option, but the thought of spending any money on a place in Cobb County or Fulton made me sick to my stomach. But, now that little Addie is here the thought of moving out of state was no longer on the table.  What was I going to do?  In that moment talking about staying sober and seeing rock n roll on the patio of Nuci's Space in Athens, I realized that was exactly where I was suppose to be.  This is a place full of art, weirdness, acceptance, rock n roll and a great recovery scene.  So now the weight of where I will be headed next, is gone.  I just need to figure out how and when.  We will see what happens this next year in school and go from there.

Now, this is the part of the story where things get a little sad.  Some time Thursday night longtime friend, and road manager of the Truckers, and long time 40 Watt employee, Craig Lieske, past away.  I did not know him but from everything I witnessed this weekend he was truly loved.  Friday, during the show, it was obvious that the band was hurting.  From where I was standing I could see the folks in the front row up against the stage crying and singing at the same time.  It touched a place in my heart.  I felt so bad for them.  I thought about how I would feel in their shoes.  I was amazed at the bands commitment and the show went on.  I guess that is why its called rock n roll.  I am guessing that since Craig was a rock musician this is what he would have wanted.  It was quite moving and now I completely understood why I love this band and their music the way I do.  It is the perseverance out of struggle that get can relate to.  I have always been good at getting back on the horse after I have fallen off it.  Despite the feelings off loss in the air the entire weekend, it was a like a warm hug from an old friend.  Sad, yet full of hope and promise of the future...  Maybe it was Craig looking down on all of us in that venue, watching us rock!

 With it being Martin Luther King Jr's birthday today, I absolutely must share one of if not the coolest experience of the weekend.  On Friday night there was this guy standing behind me yelling and dancing that brought a big smile to my face.  He was very excited and reminded me of an old friend.  As the band started to play the third song, "The Three Great Alabama Icons" he started yelling wildly that he had played this song for his class earlier that day.  Come to find out he was a teacher at a local high school.  I want to say a lit teacher, but I really cannot remember.  For those of you that are not familiar with this song, it is ultimately a song about Alabama, during the years of George Wallace.  The self proclaimed segregationist and on and off Governor of Alabama from 1963 to 1987.  The song finishes with George Wallace ending up in hell with the Devil being a southerner.  The song portrays Wallace for what he was, an opportunist willing trample on the backs of others to get where he wanted to go.  After the show I introduced my self the guy standing behind me who turned out to be a friend of my new buddy "Fish".  We talked about the reactions of his students from hearing the song, which were mostly black.  He said they loved it.  We went on to talk about my writing and other things.  It really was great to meet a teacher stepping out of bounds to make sure his kids learned.  I dont ever remember learning about George Wallace in High School.

To sum everything up, it is great to be alive.  This turned out to be the best weekend I have had in a really long time.  I gained a new friend, which I desperately needed.  I spent some time with some great musicians, went to a fantastic meeting, decided where I will live next and saw one of my favorite bands live two nights in a row.  The best part about this is I managed to do all this with out drugs and alcohol.  What a blessing!  I guess the tattoo worked.  I will go to any length to stay sober, but I will never quit seeing rock n roll!

Rest in Peace Craig Lieske!

A World of Hurt

Once upon a time, my advice to you would have been go out and find yourself a whore
But I guess I've grown up, because I don't give that kind of advice anymore

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

I was 27 when I figured out that blowing my brains wasn't the answer
So I decided, maybe I should find a way to make this world work out for me
And my good friend Paul was 83 when he told me; that "To love is to feel pain"
And I thought about that then and I've thought about that again and again

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

"To love is to feel pain" there ain't no way around it
The very nature of love is to grieve when it is over
The secret to a happy ending is knowing when to roll the credits
Better role them now before something else goes wrong
No, it's a wonderful world, if you can put aside the sadness
And hang on to every ounce of beauty upon you
Better take the time to know it there ain't no way around it
If you feel anything at all

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

So if what you have is working for you, or you think that it can stand a reasonable chance, and whatever's broken seems fixable and nothing's beyond repair
If you still think about each other and smile before you remember how screwed up it's gotten or maybe dream of a time less rotten
Remember, it ain't too late to take a deep breath and throw yourself into it with everything you got

It's great to be alive

Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt / Gonna be a world of hurt

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers (In studio 11PM, June 16, 2005) © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
Pedal Steel Guitar - John Neff / Wurlitzer Electric Piano - Jason Isbell / Lead Guitar - Mike Cooley

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gone for Good

Gone For Good 

by Morphine

 I'm never going back never going back to you
I'm never going to see you again
I'm never going to dig out your picture
I'm never going to look you up someday
Life is very short
You don't love me anymore
So I'm never going to see you again
I'm never going to write you a letter
Never going to call you on the phone
I'm never going to drive by your house
I'm never going to catch you coming outside
Never going to walk up your walk
And ring your bell
And feel you fall into my arms
I'm never going to see you
I'm never going to see you
I'm never going to see you again
You're gone for good

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Growing Pains

These days I am really trying to pay attention in my meetings to what is being said in stead of waiting to talk.  I pay very close attention to those with long time sobriety that have all the things in life that I want.  I also try to listen close to those that are just coming in or have relapsed recently.  I want to keep close that reminder of what it is like out there in the world of drugs and alcohol.  I heard a woman share tonight about how hard it is to discuss with her husband about her bottom.  This triggered a good bit of introspection for me tonight.  I have to remember that night vividly.  I need to remember what I saw in the mirror in that apartment right before the cops walked in.  I HAVE to remember how insane the entire world felt at that moment.  As painful of a memory as it is, it is much less painful as an old memory than it would be to be in that situation again.  And for me that includes two types of sobriety.  There is the sobriety from drugs and alcohol and a sobriety from women that are bad for me.  Neither is a place I ever want to venture into again.  So tonight I keep that fear close.  I have dodged a few bullets here in the last few months with women and it has made me realize that I have to be more aware.  I need to be aware of how sick the people are I am spending time with as well as myself.  I can spend my time helping those that are as sick or sicker than I, but as far as companions go, I need to be very cautious.  Tonight I shared about learning to be calm and at peace with being alone and in my own skin. Everyday I am getting better at this, but like I heard tonight, in that alone time comes the pain too.  And until tonight I saw that pain as the past having a foot hold on me currently.  But as the woman shared tonight, learning that in that alone time to be ok with that pain is evidence of growth.  In order for growth to occur there will be some pain.  Learning from mistakes of the past is never easy or pain less.  Hearing this woman share this tonight brought in that warmth that I use to get from the straw.  A sense of self knowledge if you will.  It is a great feeling to understand that I am moving forward in so many different ways.  It is a peace I have never known.

Tonight I will close with a few words with God.  God, please help me.  Help me to stay sober another 24 hours.  Help me to stay on the path of forgiveness, love, and tolerance.  Please help me help those that so desperately need it.  Thank you for all the blessings you have given me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Letter to God

Dear God,

How are you?  I am well thanks to you.  I am alive, thriving, and holding the course.  I figured since I have been struggling with my prayer and meditation that I would use my writing as a way of communicating with you.  I am hoping that if I incorporate my prayers into my writing I can get back to that place where I was at the beginning of last summer where we were talking everyday. In those hot Georgia mornings I felt so connected to you, those moments were so powerful I could not help but cry.  Today I have more faith in you than ever, but I feel as though the communication is lacking on my end.  It never fails on your end.  Tonight, I heard a gentleman share about how his ability to forgive at this point in his sobriety was a miracle.  Earlier today I prayed for you to help me with ability to forgive and you spoke through him tonight.  You allowed me to listen tonight and like many nights in my meetings, I heard exactly what I needed to.  So, tonight here are my prayers.  Please, God, help me.   Help me to continue on this path.  Help me to continue to stay sober.  Help me to continue to grow in your light and to understand your will for me.  Help me to continue to learn to love myself and know what I am worth in your eyes.  Help me to continue to be selfless and always put others needs ahead of my own.  Please help me to carry this message of sobriety and hope to the addict and alcoholic that still suffers.  Please show me where I can be of service to my fellow man in all aspects of my life.  Please help me to ask why less and how more.  Please help me to love more and hate less.  Help me be a better man.  Thank you for all that you have given me.  Thank you for the chance to live again.  Thank you for my wonderful family.  Thank you for the fantastic friends new and old in my life.  Thank you for taking away the fear and the worry that haunted me for so long.  Thank you God for saving my life.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I heard exactly what I needed to hear tonight.  This is a statement I have heard quite a bit over the last 14 months of going to 12 step recovery meetings.  Tonight's meeting was on willingness.  The willingness to change.  The willingness to get sober.  The willingness to stay sober.  The willingness to believe in a power greater than myself. The willingness to put in the work to change my life.  There is a saying amongst 12 steppers and that is “If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.”  I listened really hard in that meeting tonight.  I thought about my own willingness.  I thought about how I felt last November coming into these rooms so broken and beat down.  I was finally willing to go to any length to get my life on track.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  When I look back on those first few days after arriving back in Atlanta, I think about how willing I was to change my life so I would not end up a dead cliche.  

Tonight I was willing to listen.  Those of you that know me know that I am a talker and I share at almost every meeting I go to.  One thing that is suggested in my program of recovery is to get outside of myself and go to new meetings.  The point is to get out of my comfort zone and possibly hear some new solutions.  Tonight I attended one of those new meetings.  A new meeting down in the city and away from the comforts of upper middle class suburb recovery.  When I attend new meetings I tell myself to listen more and save the sharing for another time.  I try a little harder to focus on what is being said.  After all these people are just like me and a lot of them do have what I want so if I keep my mouth shut I might get a little piece of knowledge to get me to the next step of becoming a better man.  Tonight the listening paid off and I heard the complete reason for why I am a drug addict and an alcoholic...  Enough.  This has always been my biggest problem.  Starting in my youth, I was never cool  enough.  And from there the race was on.  I would struggle with the concept of enough from the age of 12 until....  Well shit it is still something I struggle with today. I am going to be honest about the enough's in my life that brought me 20 plus years of pain.  I was not cool enough, my hair wasn't short enough, my grades were not good enough, I was not fast enough, I was not tough enough.  Soon these things changed to I didn't work hard enough, I was not smart enough, I have never have enough money.  Eventually I was not good enough looking, I was not skinny enough, I never had enough coke, my car was not nice enough, I am not tall enough, I don't work out enough and the list goes on and on.  The bottom line is I did not have enough and I was not worth enough.  Whether for myself or for others.  Now that I have a little bit of sober time under my belt, I don't particularly care if what I am or what I have is or is not enough for anyone else.  Today, what I have and what I am is just enough for me.  This is something I have to remind myself of every day.  Most of all as I near bedtime is that being sober TODAY was ENOUGH for me TODAY.  Another 24 hours with out a drink or a drug is a very successful day for me.  Anything else that I accomplished today were all blessings from my sobriety being ENOUGH!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Forgiveness and Validation from Within

Well, here I am at the end of my day and I am so glad it is over.  Today was an unusually rough day and I definitely made a mistake today.  Last night I could not sleep, and slept with a nicotine patch on which led to some dreams I could have done without.  Needless to say when I woke up this morning my mind was in a place it had not been in months.  One thing led to another and I did something I now regret terribly.  Dont worry I did not drink or get high.  But it was definately something I should not have done.  Anyways, shortly after that I went to do a fifth step with my sponsee.  I told him to make him feel more comfortable I had some fourth step work I needed to do and I would share that with him.  The work I did in that fourth step was directly related to the mistake I made today.  After all this was said and done, I realized some new character defects that I need to work on.  Forgiveness and self validation. 

Forgiveness is something that I have known for a while that I truly struggle with.  But it was not until today that I figured out how much bullshit I hold on to because of this.  I shared with a fellow alcoholic today that I am just not ready to forgive certain people for their actions.  As childish and petty as this sounds, it is the truth.  I want to but I cannot.  She went on to tell me that in the act of forgiveness we are letting ourselves off the hook.  Then the pain we hold on to has no more power.  It is our way of letting go.  Letting go of all that bad shit that is completely unnecessary.  Tonight I am listening to Ryan Bingham.  In his song Flower Bomb he says "Relieve the pain so the good can grow."  Tonight I want to give in and relieve all that pain.  Tonight I want to cry like a child and be done with it for good.  But for some reason the tears wont come.  So instead I will pray.  I will pray for them.  I will pray that God will help me learn how to be more forgiving.  So that my heart will have room for love again.

Today, I aslo relized how much I look for validation from outside sources to prove my man hood.  It is really weird, despite all my good traits, I still need that outside source to reaffirm what I already know.  It is almost as if all those things that I do believe define what a man should be are not good enough for me anymore.  I have no idea how I got to this point or if I do or do not believe that.  What I do know is that I am sick and tired of not finding that validation from god or myself.  SO, this will be another thing to add to the list to pray about and to focus on changing.  It is really not an apealing vision of ones self at all.  So I will put into action the things I have learned to do to make the changes I want.

I will close this entry with something positive.  Tomorrow the paper work goes out so I can take 12 step meetings into the jails.  Also, I am going to a recovery center for men and am going to talk to the director about the volunteer positions they have available.  Then I start guitar lessons on Sunday, which I am really excited about.  After that I have two nights of the Drive by Truckers in the beautiful city of Athens, Ga.  Hopefully I will also be recieving my acceptance letter to school this week.  All great things to come!  Thank God!

Flower Bomb

Songwriters: BINGHAM, RYAN

1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4

In this world, we have gone
Out on our own, all alone in stone
Looking for time that passes us by
You tired and old you may get left behind
In this world we hope to see
Invisible signs of our democracy so
Maybe somehow we all can say
That it's worth the blood that we leave on the stage

For in this world we make a stand
For suffering minds of unknown lands
But the water balloon are 2 left feet
Can never rise above our political heat
For in this world we voice and
It's lout as hell if we have the choice
Don't consume them best to fill your lives
Then we feed our kids what we leave behind
In this world we have to shake and
[ Lyrics from: ]
Man the hand that button breaks
If we hesitate we not forget
About the hard ticks written for last month's rent, mhm
How in the hell can we progress
If we're all out of work hooked on pills for stress
They tell us, up in heaven there is food for eat
But for now all we get is this shit on the street
For in this world we just can't trust
And food stamps filling our bellies up
Homeless kids on forgotten roads
Let's hope they can bear when the winter cold cause
The spark within the youngest eye
Can slowly fade with the whisper cry
So lend your heart and all you know
And relieve the pain so the good can grow
Relieve the pain so the good can grow.