Often when we read a bio, it’s filled with education, awards, stand out performances & highlights of our careers. And of course, that’s how it should be. However, this is more about a life before being saved by the Grace of God.
Growing up, we were members of a church but the only time we ever seemed to go was when things were hitting the fan & nine times out of ten, anything hitting the fan had something to do with my dad & his drinking. Our home was extremely toxic. One of dysfunctionality, physical & verbal abuse & fear due to addiction. For me, what little God there was in my life soon disappeared & drugs, alcohol & music soon became my sanctuary. Like so many of us though, drugs & alcohol seemed to sooth my young mind, momentarily easing my fears while music offered me relief whether I was listening or playing it. It didn’t take long either & within two short years I found myself in that miserable state where I simply wanted to be high, drunk, or dead. Most of us know misery has no minimum age requirements & addiction has no scruples; it’s ruthless & at fourteen years of age I entered inpatient treatment for the first time. I also wish I could say that after treatment I went on to a fabulous life of rainbows & unicorns, but of course, I can’t & soon I dropped out of school to travel with a band comprised of men in their twenties & thirties. And if I thought getting drugs & alcohol was easy before, I (as they say) hadn’t seen nothing yet. But it wasn’t long that my drunken antics became a problem and they (understandably so) decided it wasn’t such a good idea to have a messed-up 17-year-old accompanying them into bars & clubs, so I was asked to leave. But still, as a seventeen-year-old kid, I knew this was the lifestyle I wanted. The bands, the touring, the drinking, the drugs, the women, all of it & the road is where I spent the majority of my next ten years.
The years to follow were filled with pain & misery & life never seemed to get better. Three DWI’s, in & out of jail & treatment, car accidents & friends dying from overdoses, suicide & AIDS didn't help. The womanizing & multiple abortions didn’t help. Having no place to live & losing the trust of friends & family members because I was a master manipulator didn’t help. Snorting up every dream, I ever held dear didn’t help either. There was only one thing that did, a hit of crack, a line of coke or a drink. I can’t even begin to explain what it was like inside my head. I wanted so very much to quit, but it was impossible. Every fiber of my being was surrounded by a thick coat of fear, self-loathing & extreme resentment. But even in the midst of it all, I was convinced that I was the victim & that God had abandoned me. The only time I felt any relief was when some chemical would shut down my brain. But when one is too much & a thousand is not enough, you do the same things over & that whole vicious cycle simply starts over.
I used to say that I had no earthly explanation as to how & why I survived those dreadful years. My alcohol consumption had become unpredictable. My hands constantly shook, & I couldn't drink anymore without blacking out. While drinking, I would use drugs to keep me wired as this enabled me to drink more. If I couldn’t find, or couldn’t afford crank or cocaine, I would try to find any version of speed I could get my hands on. I would crush the pills into powder often snorting up to ten of them at a time. I’ve passed out on floors at parties of people I didn’t know, woken up in piles of dirt, been beat up & I’ve beaten up others. I’ve begged strangers to buy me a drink, vomited & urinated all over myself. I ‘ve woken up in jail, & other places with complete strangers & I’ve ended life-long friendships with words I don’t even remember saying. I’ve seen friends literally decay in front of my vary eyes because they couldn’t put it down; the grip was too strong & I was no different. I couldn’t stop. After repeatedly failing at getting clean I accepted my fate, deciding I would simply drink & drug myself to death. That was my destiny.
But as I spiraled down towards my bottom, I had what some call “A moment of clarity.” If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means you have a brief unclouded glimpse of your life as it is, how it’s been & what’s coming down the road. Suddenly when you’ve given up all hope, that for a brief second or two, we can see clearly. And for many, that “moment of clarity” changed everything. Personally, I think it’s a bit more than that, I believe it’s God, I sure know it was for me. I also believe God spoke to me. Not with a burning bush, or a thundering voice either. It was subtle & to the point. It was also in a men’s room stall so don’t discount anything. But it was there that I went because I suddenly couldn’t handle my surroundings, which was of course a bar. I didn’t feel right, I felt out of place & ran to the men’s room as a form of escape. I was leaning up against the door from the inside stall & in an instant, I started weeping uncontrollably. In the next few seconds, I saw everything. I saw how drugs & alcohol destroyed my family, the people in my life who had died from this disease, my times in jail, my shattered dreams, the restraining orders, the loneliness, the despair, the fear of living, the fear of dying, the fear of drinking, the fear of NOT drinking, the fear of everything. After all those years & failed attempts at staying clean, God showed me my past in a way that made everything so obvious & my sickness had always made hard for me to see. Then it became crystal clear. He also showed me my future & for me it was only one of two ways. Dead, or in jail & mine was death. I put my head in my palmed hands & started sobbing even harder & as fast as those visions came, they we’re gone. This whole process took about twenty seconds tops. Maybe it was all in my head, but if you believe in miracles, and now I do, I, to this day, believe it was God. And the proof, is that twenty-nine years later, I’m still sober! I haven’t taken a drink & I haven’t taken a hit from that very moment. I also now know & understand why I survived that horrible time, It was because God had a plan, a calling on my life. One of sharing my belief & giving hope. One of faith, recovery & music.