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Joy, Love, and Appreciation in Sobriety

What’s the Best Time You’ve Had Lately?

Photo of the author with Alejandro Escovedo

I haven’t been out nearly as often as usual over these past 3+ years since the pandemic started.

As many more things have opened up and more and more people are out and about, I’ve been wanting to join in as well. I’ve been too damn cooped up. However, I’ve been dealing with a case of Achilles tendinitis for nearly 4 months. It went from an acute phase to being a chronic condition. I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week, but I still have a lot of trouble walking very much. I haven’t been to work since early March.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our home, and I’ve discovered that I can cocoon at home with my wife and be very content.

But I do love the life of New York City, and I’ve stayed out of it to a degree I never have in the decades that I’ve lived here.


Given that situation, and what occurred last night, I realized that I am starved for the engagement and connection of the artist life.

I had a ticket to see one of my favorite musicians last night. I’ve seen Alejandro Escovedo do more shows than anyone else, and I’ve always been a big concert-goer for shows both big and small.

I didn’t think I’d be able to go since the day before I’d had a lot of trouble walking. But, I showed up for physical therapy and we did some great work.

I sat in a coffee shop afterward, and then went to a follow-up doctor visit. I felt ok walking, especially if I took it slow.

The show wasn’t until hours later, but I began to think I’d stay in town and give it a go.


I’m so happy that I did!

Live music, theatre, films, and art shows are among the things that I need in my life to feel full, to feel my humanity.

And Alejandro Escovedo’s music lives inside of me. It hits a special place in my heart and my soul.


OK, so maybe you’re thinking that you don’t know this guy, and that you’re not going to look him up, so why do you care?

Well, this piece isn’t about him. I’m not going to review or describe his show and his music.

But he put me in touch last night with the feeling that being sober, clear, present, and in love with the moment is the greatest gift I could ever have.

And I was in love last night. It was my first time at the tiny but famous club, The Iridium, which was started by the legendary Les Paul. What a great venue.

I sat at a table with some strangers, all guys, who couldn’t have been cooler.

I was in love with the music, and with Alejandro and his band for bringing it to us.

And all of this puts me in touch with the unbelievable depth of gratitude that I feel for my second chance at life.


At one point, Alejandro and the band came out into the audience and did a couple songs. The second one was right in front of me. I could have strummed Alejandro’s guitar. Along with his acoustic guitar, were a mandolin, a violin, and a tambourine.

They played a gorgeous, stripped-down version of Mott the Hoopla’s “I Wish I Was Your Mother,” which is a heartfelt and lovely song.

Joy. Quiet joy and reverence and knowing what an amazingly rare and special moment are not things that I felt too often during the dark years of my using.

But I felt it last night.

Photo by the author

Alejandro, too, is a survivor. He and his lovely wife survived a hurricane on their honeymoon. His account of it is harrowing. He also survived a terrible case of Hepatitis C.

I appreciate his ability to tell stories (his stage banter is the best there is), and to put across his experiences in song.

Joy, love, and appreciation. I’m glad to be here for it.


What about you?

Recent experiences of love and connection that hit a deep spot in your heart?

How do you enjoy yourself sober? Do you miss the way it was?

Have you discovered a new way of being?

Please comment and let us know what's working, and what challenges you have.

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