i could tell you my name, but i don’t want to right now. i’d rather tell you my story.
i grew up in a family where alcoholism was present. but it wasn’t my parents. it was uncles and grand parents and so on. looking back, it just didn’t feel safe at home. i could describe it in much more detail than that, but that sums it up in a single sentiment. it just never felt safe. we walked on eggshells. and pretty much not a day went by without some flashpoint situation, some explosion, and everyone running for cover. i learned 2 things growing up, i learned it was my job to care for my mother’s emotional wellbeing, and i learned to run for cover when i got it wrong, which i did on a daily basis. by the time i left home, i was used up. and i hated myself with a fury reserved only for me.
i was about 19.
i love music. it has held me through a lot of bad situations, and it released me in good times. i play drums, some guitar and some piano. i found myself in bands, 1 of them was good enough to get signed, and go on tour. we lasted about 3 years before imploding, but by then i’d been on the road. i’d found a real family, and a life i wanted. so when my band finished, i just hit road with other bands as a tech.
it was 1996.
i worked with some of my favourites. soft bulletin era lips, deserters songs with mercury rev, is this desire? with pj. and i stayed out. i mean i didn’t come home. it became my home. buses, nightclub carparks, silhouettes of unknown cities, random fooling around with drunk strangers, getting slammed drunk, blacking out, smashing up bars, and so on. just normal stuff.
i got offered more work, and more good bands came my way. white stripes, coldplay, it just seemed i’d found my place, my people. but what i found was freedom. the kind of freedom you feel when you’ve got a litre of spirits inside you, and you’re moving at speed, thru the desert at night. fucking bliss, i won’t lie.
the problem was getting worse, much worse, and it still felt good.
my home life, if you can call it that, fragmented into convincing girls to let me stay, which might last a while, depending on the girl, and staying at my brothers place. i didn’t have a home, and worse than that, i thought that was a good thing.
by 2009 i was taking work and quitting work regularly. i lived on a boat, and stayed drunk most of the time. i dined out in my mind on stories of narrow escapes, and treks to the north pole with jack white.
i thought i was the shit.
i had my reasons for coming in, so to speak, getting sober.
it happened in 2010, and 1 day at a time its been a few years now. in the first year after i got sober, 3 friends died from this stuff, addiction. all good guys, all road crew like me. they all went different ways, 1 killed himself trying to get sober, 1 died after a binge, and 1 from throat cancer.
all late 30s, early 40s, and not a sober day between them. i can’t think about my own story without thinking about theirs. i felt guilty for getting sober for a long time.
now i know its just my story.
and it took a long time to tell it.
it took most of my life.
i love what these people are doing at music support.
there are a number of us now, that found another way.
if you want to talk about it, just call.