Above: Drunkfux at Coconut Teaser, 1988. Duff, Del, West, myself & Steven marking the release of Appetite for Destruction and at the same time, our dear friend Todd Crew's passing.
PART 2: WHERE'S THE BANG?
Last week’s blog examined the question that many people in sobriety ask: “Is this as good as it gets?”
Then we upped the ante by adding: “I’ve been sober for a while now, so, where’s the bang?”
Indeed. Where’s the bang?
This week, I’m going to answer this question based upon my own struggles in early sobriety. Holding myself accountable to the same rules that I put forth for my clients, I have to answer to:
1. Your bang is not “out there” somewhere waiting for you to find it
2. You’ve already got it “in here” somewhere
HERE'S WHAT I FOUND:
In my addiction’s active heyday, the bang was consistently achieved through my love of music. To increase the force of the bang, music always involved some available mixture of pills, powders, booze and playing loud rock n roll for crowds with loose morals and ethics, and who were as zooted as I. Very dependable at delivering the bang.
Is this what I really “loved”? If you asked me then, there would have been a quick and resounding, “Yes!” but is this what my Heart truly loved or was this what my addiction truly loved?
Easy, right? That was my addiction’s “love”. Plenty of bang - but there wasn’t any recognition for my Heart’s true Desires. Where were they?
In there somewhere.
So now, I have to ask myself, “What did my Heart truly love about music?
2. PLAYING LIVE
In writing, love was not reached through any type of scheduled or pressured need. Nor was it achieved through any solitary endeavor, even if I emerged with a piece judged as worthy.
The writing that I loved was created out of a spontaneous, genuine, authentic connection with others. The more the better. And It didn’t matter who the other people were, as long as we were all headed in the same direction by adding our individuality to the collaborative effort. A cumulative symphony of ideas, efforts and talents, which resulted in the piece maybe being something we later trashed, or maybe it was awesome, but the point is that the process of creation was where my love was found. This was pure gold bang.
In my love of music received from playing live, it did not matter the size of, or even the enthusiasm from, the audience. Rather, I focused my attention on one person who was having an obvious bummer of a night and made it my job to fix that problem. To do this, I’d jump off stage and employ them with a sing a long into the mic, or an impromptu solo on the guitar with a beer bottle as slide, or maybe just sharing a shot at their table. The point was, I was shaking them out of their doldrums and bringing an immediate smile to their face. Again, pure gold bang.
This is the love that satisfied the Desires of my Heart. It had been there all along. And these two things are exactly what I’m doing today.
LET ME EXPLAIN:
Similar to the love I received from writing music, my current addiction groups are conducted in this same exact style. I love the spontaneity and collaboration of everybody participating. I do my best to incite that same kind of excitement like a Fire of Desire running through, and catching hold of, every member of the group. No two meetings are ever the same - they are their own unique “song”.
People in treatment centers comment on the unusual combination of fun and depth they find in these gatherings. Joy, excitement, hope and passion are contagious and when everyone is encouraged (however it works for them) to participate, then the authenticity of each participant adds to the mix. Pure gold bang.
As for the playing live component of my love for music, when a client enters my session bummed out, it’s like that person I used to pick from the audience. It’s showtime! And my mission is to get them to a place of feeling better. Whether this comes in the form of instilling hope, providing relief from pain, making a connection or working a muscle of ability that had gone unused, when I’m successful: bang! Who could ask for more?
You don’t need to search for the elusive bang as something that exists “out there somewhere”. There is no illusory magic bullet of love that if you could only find it, then you’d be content.
No. It already exists inside of you as your Heart’s True Desire. The knowledge of exactly what this is and how it will manifest may be unclear but by working your program, enlisting the help of others and continuously moving forward towards what you already enjoy, you can, and will find the bang in your sober, healthy life.
Randal Lyons helps people struggling with addiction who want long term, holistic care. He uses his own experience in recovery combined with his training as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine through his program, Alchemist Recovery.
If you've got questions about this or any other topic in sobriety, please contact me.