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Issue 4: 2021.8.1

Music is my passion. Whether playing the drums or just listening to iTunes, it brings me great joy. No surprise, then, that my early heroes were mainly musicians. And many of these musicians ended up dead at an early age. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died at the age of 27 in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A little too young for me to remember, but when I was later exposed to their music, I was also made aware of their stories. It wasnít until 1980 that I was personally affected by the early demise of musicians that really meant something to me. Bon Scott (the original singer for AC/DC) and John Bonham (the drummer for Led Zeppelin) both died that year from alcohol overdoses. I was a sophomore in high school.

I started drinking the summer before eighth grade. I was doing drugs by the end of the year. It became apparent rather quickly that I didnít get high like my friends. I needed to get loaded and alcohol was my drug of choice. I drank before school, during school and after school. I was a functioning alcoholic at this point because I was able to keep my grades up without much work. Drinking would catch up with me later, but thatís for another story.

For now, I was 16 and a daily drinker whose biggest hero at the time just died of an alcohol overdose at 32. I knew right then that thatís as far as Iíd probably make it. 32. I extended that to 36, because thatís how old Iíd be in the year 2000 and I wanted to be around for the party. I just turned 57 and let me tell you, itís been a journey. I first got sober at 23 and stayed that way for five years. For the next 16 years though, I was at one stage of sobriety or another. Always trying to get sober, but it was a constant struggle. In 2008, I finally got sober for good (so far) and today Iíve got 13 years for which Iím totally grateful. I shouldnít be here. Iím living on borrowed time (definitions):

Merriam Websteróto continue to live past the time one was expected to die or be likely to die soon

The Free Dictionaryóto exist only because of good fortune; to live on when death was expected

Iím concentrating on the latter. Good fortune. Gratitude.

If I knew I was going to live this long, Iíd taken better care of myself.
Mickey Mantle

Iím dealing with all kinds of issues currently in my life. Paying the price for the afflictions of my youth. It doesnít dampen my enthusiasm for living because Iím grateful to still be here. One of my doctors described me as resilient. I am because Iím grateful. My problems are manageable, and I have great joy to balance them out.


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