I could not imagine having the Life I have today.

I remember what my life was like back then.

Photo by Carmen Avram

I remember those days of not being able to function without help in liquid form. My personnel coordinator (the guy who gave me work) would often make the joke, “Red Bull before a gig, Red Dog after.” He may have been being funny, but it was a reality. I would walk into a gig with a four pack of Red Bull. As soon as the gig was over, I was looking for a six-pack. Red Dog was the best I could afford at that time.

Just two months prior, I was living in a nice one bedroom loft. Of course, the only furnishings I had was an old boombox radio, a Commodore 64 computer(no internet). One fold up camping chair, my little girls Fisher Price keyboard and junior drum set. I slept on one blanket, one pillow, and one sheet on the floor. I only had my little girl (she was barely two) occasionally, when I was well enough to see her and rarely at my loft. (Since I was not legal to drive due to a suspended license).

Yep, it was just me and Hydie (my canine companion).

Until of course, I drank my rent and bills away. Bye bye loft, hello homeless. Until a couple of stagehands I worked with let me crash with them. One of them had recently divorced and ended up with the house. It was a beautiful house, in an upscale neighborhood. His son had an older Mustang he wanted to sale. So, I ended up making a deal for the Mustang (yes, license still suspended).

It was not long after I was staying there, that I drank just about everything they had in the liquor cabinet. My drinking and smoking had escalated. I was drinking so much, that I would go until I passed out. I was waking up late. Missing call times (late to work). When I passed out before finishing off all the beer, I’d wake up and start off with what was left.

I didn’t even notice the cop sitting at the corner

One morning, I woke up late. Jumped up threw some clothes on and hightailed it out the door. I didn’t even notice the cop sitting at the corner as I left the neighborhood. As you would guess, I got pulled over. The smell of alcohol was still reeking from my clothes. The officer asked if I had been drinking. I was partially honest. I the officer I had been drinking that night but that I had just overslept. And I was running late and didn’t have a chance to shower before leaving the house. Somehow, I got out of getting any alcohol-related offense. However, I went to jail for an old warrant and driving with a suspended license.

I was fortunate, as soon as I got out, I was put immediately on another show. A rather sizeable corporate event. With several days of show calls, which I needed. I was as usual, way behind on paying my way.

It was the third day, and I was running late AGAIN. I gave the excuse that I had stopped by the art store to get the needed supplies to repair one of the stage props. (They had a western theme with several life-size, Gatorfoam cowboys on horses. One of the horses’ tails had broken off in the transport).

I was sitting backstage, repairing the horse’s tail. (insert pun here)

When TG, my personnel coordinator showed up to pull me off the gig. The client had complained that even though I was excellent at my job, I was consistently late and smelled of alcohol every day. TG told me to gather my tools, head to their office and sit down with the company VP. TG advised me just to accept whatever I’m told and not to argue. Of course, I had no actual argument, but I tried. The result of which was an indefinite suspension. If I were allowed to come back, I would have only one chance.

I left his office, headed straight to the beer store. Bought a case of what I could afford. The entire way home, I knew I had hit it. I had bottomed out. I gave up a wife, a couple of other relationships, my little girl, a few different places to live, my right to drive legally. Up until that day, I was still functioning because I was always working and damn good at what I did. NOW, I had given that away to my drinking and drugging as well. There was nothing left; this was my bottom.

I didn’t have any real plans of giving up anything but the alcohol.

Walking into my roommate’s den, I sat down, popped open a beer and shamefully began to tell him what happened. That night, I drank that entire case and smoked more than my share. As we sat there and talked, he asked what I planned to do. I told him I was going to go to a meeting. That I had been clean and sober 11yrs ago, and I knew that was where I needed to go.

I didn’t have any real plans of giving up anything but the alcohol. But, I needed to do something to show that I was giving it up. That night, no matter how much I drank or smoked, the drugs just didn’t work. The images of what it was like years before, when I was young and clean the first time, became clear in my head. I started to wonder if there was anyone left that would know me. I got on my roommate’s computer and began to search for a meeting. That was Oct 9th, 2002.

I went to my first 12 step meeting in over a decade.

That next night, I went to my first 12 step meeting in over a decade. It was uncomfortable. Personally, I did feel shame. Shame I have not forgotten this entire time I’ve been back in recovery. My road to recovery was long and painful. It was not easy coming back in and running into members I once watched get clean. But, I knew what I had to do, I knew what I had to gain, and I knew what I would lose if I didn’t stick and stay.

To look back over the last 15 years astonishes me. I’m not only celebrating 15yrs of sobriety and clean time. I’m celebrating having a life today with a wonderfully full plate. These days, my wife and I still talk about how surreal our life is. We wonder how we ended up with three gifted and talented kids (given our childhoods).

I have my Harley, and all of our vehicles have full insurance.

Today we have a lovely house, we both have our own cars, both are legal and less than three yrs old. I have my Harley, and all of our vehicles have full insurance.(for us this is a big deal) We can allow our kids to be involved in Boy Scouts, Girls Scout, and ballet. (I sincerely know my wife has a busier job then I do) And we all do karate together as a family.

Outside of family life, I’m honored and grateful to be a member of a clean and sober motorcycle club, whose primary purpose is to help others find recovery. I’m no longer doing shows as a stagehand or rigger. Today I’m a fulltime PM responsible for hiring, scheduling and managing the setup and production of the events. And I’m afforded the freedom and resources to develop and design JnP and the Principles Meditations as my way of continuing my recovery.

15 years ago, I would have never imagined the life I have today.

It is a life I only have because of the 12 Spiritual Principles I’m continuing to learn to live. Because of the people both in and out of recovery willing to believe in me and help me find my way. And through being of service by assisting others who have a desire and willingness to find their way. I hope that someday, the work I do here will find its way to help you.

PD

“Always Aspire to Inspire before we Expire.”

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