Saturday, March 14, 2015

LIVING SOBER: "Before and After" Snapshots

"Before and After" 

March 17, 2004.
I remember it well.
The day I beat the
bottle — for good.

We've all seen them  those fascinating "Before and After" segments presented on TV and in print media typically depicting an incredible personal makeover or an amazing transformation. However, I believe that if we could be privy to honest "Before and After" examples on the front end, prior to making some life choices, there would be fewer ugly "snapshots" on the back end.

Sobriety is something that's very personal to me  I take it quite seriously. And I'm proud to say that this week marks my 11th anniversary of being completely clean and sober. I don't offer this "Before and After" testimonial to brag, or as a means of judging or condemning anyone. My desire is to merely offer candid "snapshots" for folks on the front end — before they make the same mistakes I made. I also want to offer encouraging "snapshots" for those who find themselves currently in a battle with the bottle. It is a battle that can be won. If I did, so can you.

Sad but true.
I was DJ-ing a 2004 St. Patty's day event at a nightclub located in Palm Bay, Florida. The house band that night was a piano / drum / vocal duo known more for their drunken onstage shenanigans than for their recreations of frat house party anthems. At age 41, I was still wrestling with an alcohol demon that had been haunting me for many years. Hence, I was an easy target for the marksmanship of the duo's drummer, a happy-go-lucky fella who had encouraged me successfully  to join him in a holiday shot. But as I felt the burn of the unknown, green concoction sliding down my throat, I experienced a moment of clarity. I noticed suddenly that I was surrounded by a host of "like-minded" characters whose behavior I now perceived to be offensive and reckless. The "light" finally had come on. "This is stupid," I said to myself, as I licked my chops and tossed the plastic shot glass into the trashcan at the end of the bar. Three points! Instantly, I'd been somehow freed miraculously from the bondage of alcohol. I've not had a drink since.  

Trust me.
I've said it before, but it's a message worth repeating — alcohol is “soul poison” — plain and simple. It's designed to destroy lives and wreck families and other personal (and professional) relationships. And be sure that the bijillion-dollar-a-year alcohol industry does NOT want this reality revealed or embraced. Related advertisements to the contrary are nothing more than crafty lies sent straight from the pit of Hell. I mean, c'mon, you know that it requires one heck of a smooth and savvy pitch(fork)man to market a dirty diaper and sell it successfully as a pristine Prom gown. Don't be conned!

The truth will set you free.
Oddly, much of my professional life continues to play out as a DJ, working in nightclubs. And I was recently criticized on social media for my "inconsistent" lifestyle. But it's that very environment the dark and smokey, drama-filled bar scene that actually helps to keep me sober. It's a compelling, constant reminder of who I used to be — reinforcing my desire to never return to that life. I'm certainly not suggesting that getting sober and maintaining my sobriety makes me a better person than anyone else  it just enhances my quality of life. I encounter a lot of hurt, broken and lonely people in the bar biz, and often, I'm now the only guy that some folks have to turn to for guidance at 2am — and I'm humbled and honored to be that guy.

(Yeah, I'm pretty shocked too.)
If anyone currently finds themselves struggling with this demon and desires personal encouragement regarding living sober, I welcome you to reach out to me anytime through my personal email address. Remember, I’m NOT a licensed counselor, but I am a nightclub DJ, which is kinda the same thing.

-Christopher Long
(March 2015)

Don't miss my other
sobriety features: 

- Lucky 13 Edition (2017) -
- A Decade of Sobriety (2014) -

Discover the latest books from
author Christopher Long!

(Coming April 7, 2019)


C'MON! -

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