Small Steps Make The Long Road

Record making is a process. Songwriting is a process. Sobriety is a process. Relationships are a process, whether it’s as a partner, a parent, a sibling, a son. Hell, everything worthwhile is a process. My natural inclination is impatience. I would rather the song come as a gift from the ether all at once and the record made in a similar fashion. After all, a record is like a photograph, a snapshot. A record of a specific moment in time. When the process from writing to release takes months or even years are we not different people by then and the context of the songs therefore changed or perhaps no longer valid even? But there are steps that can’t be skipped. Sure there are shortcuts, but those usually result in disappointment. And so one must start at the first step and show up to write. To coax the muse through persistence and patience. And after writing the first song write another, and another and so on. Get the arrangements together, musicians lined up and/or the band well rehearsed. Recording always takes longer than you expect. Then there is mixing, mastering, art work, marketing. Finally release. This isn’t the end of the road, rather more of an entrance ramp onto the highway and a new beginning. Now that the record is out, what will you do with it? So there is promotion, touring, more and more promotion. And then one day you realize you have accomplished what you set out to do and for the fortunate musician you willingly go back to step one and do it all again. For the extremely fortunate you look back one day and realize you’ve made a career of it. For myself, I am learning how fortunate I have been and still am. To be making music is a gift. One I will gladly share until the end of the road.

The process of recovery is also a gift. Many in fact. The gift of renewed relationships. The gift of gratitude. The gift of a chance to realize my potential. More are revealed as time goes on. I would very much like to be at peace with sobriety and get on with being a better, more well adjusted and productive person. But there are steps. Acceptance and behavior changes and self reflection and more acceptance. Followed by deeper and deeper self evaluation, amendments, forgiveness, more acceptance. I am a little over 300 days into my sober journey. Some days I feel energized, ready to tackle new projects and fired up about making a positive difference. Other days I feel I’m spinning my wheels, the old mindsets poised and ready to go down the path of least resistance towards the familiarity of bad habits. Three hundred days ago I couldn’t fathom 300 days of not simply abstinence, but a whole new way of living. Yet here I am. I have a long way to go, one step at a time. I dislike cliches, and work hard to avoid them in songs, however in this case there is truth and wisdom in the cliche. One day at a time. Not drinking is the easy part. I no longer have the obsession to drink or go back to using the drugs of my younger days. Occasionally my brain can romanticize the desire and that’s why every day matters, and thus the cliche. The hard work and healing comes in the form of identifying and addressing the underlying issues that make me want to use in the first place. Sometimes success is abstaining one more day regardless of circumstances. For the most part though I feel good. Every day I am thankful for the chance to make more progress. If the universe grants me enough days I just might accomplish something worthwhile.

So, as they say, baby steps. Better than taking no steps. They do add up and many small steps make the long road.

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