Sober music community

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Sober music community

Postby brontoset » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:45 pm

Hey all,

So, I've been really getting into music over the last couple of years, and often the really good creative stuff feels like it's a gift from the higher power. I went to Small's last night and the music was just phenomenal. Unfortunately, at a lot of the venues I go to, there's alcohol. I've got two and a half years sober, but I still don't want this to take me out.

Are there sober venues or music communities in NY? I live on Long Island. I did some google searches but didn't find that much.

Wouldn't it be cool if there was a sober jazz community?

Have a good night guys, and thanks!

Sam
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Re: Sober music community

Postby positrac » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:12 am

I once was into Japanese Jazz back in the 80's and now Jazz for me is like techno or speed metal as it grates my nerves. I might not be hearing the right stuff? I used music growing up as my outlet to not being able to watch TV because I was always in trouble and I kept a radio under my pillow. I remember when John Lennon died and this station KYTX 99 FM Amarillo Tx played his music for a whole week and I learned a lot from that. Not a Lennon fan so much although it was an outlet to the "free world" and I couldn't wait until I was out and on my own.

One thing about music was once I got sobered up I found I needed to stay away from certain groups as I listened to them when drinking hard and it left an impression. Now those groups are playing on the radio due to the age of the tracks and so I reflect and if it gets me thinking I switch it over to something else.

me and bars ain't good company and so music venues for me take a back seat. I know this place called Alice's Restaurant in Redwood City used to have some good bands although the drinking was too much for me and I stopped going and checking out the groups.
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Re: Sober music community

Postby ann2 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 10:58 pm

Just me I guess but going to clubs to hear music was never a problem. It didn't seem to me that anyone was there to drink, even if they did -- we were all focussed on the performance. Seeing shows sober was one of the best gifts AA gave me.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
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Re: Sober music community

Postby clouds » Mon May 04, 2015 11:52 am

I'm into music too. Flute was my first instrument, my parents got roped into it by our small town music director when I was 8 years old. My dad thought maybe I should play the accordion, he said its like a whole band in one box. He played clarinet. My mom thought it should be piano. She played piano and we had one. There was some discussion, windinstruments, reed instruments then the music man cunningly suggested flute, as I had bucked teeth and flutes can correct that and flutes can be packed around easier than pianos too. So I practiced, I did ok and got some musical awards within a few years later. They decided I had a future in music so in addition to flute lessons and playing flute in the band they gave me piano lessons too. This couldnt have been easy, as we werent well off.

The thing was I felt insecure and was afraid of crowds, of course the answer to that was the great confidence found in the bottle, age 16 was when that began. Even though I got scholarships and a lot of help, I blew university by drinking myself practically to death. Life went down hill, as it does for a lot of us and it wasnt until recently that I began to get back to my love of playing music.

A few years ago I found myself in a situation here in europe where I didnt have work, couldnt paint and decided to buy a cheap accordion and give it a go. I love it. The great thing about accordions is that by pressing just one button on the bass side it gives you three notes at a time, so the chords are built in and all you really have to focus on is the treble hand. I was lazy about learning bass when I studied piano, the treble came so much easier, so with accordion it simplifies the whole thing and songs can be learned quicker.

I'm working on my fear about playing in crowds and even though I still get some anxiety playing for people I can make 15 to 20 euro an hour playing in the street, which I dont do often. As I learn more and more tunes I feel more sure about the whole thing, so one day at a time I move forward to my goal.

What I love about it is I can learn any song I want to hear and play it any time I want to hear it.

After a couple of years working on the piano accordion that I had bought while we were in Italy we moved to France where they make accordions with buttons instead of the piano keys, different thing altogether as far as notes on the treble side.

So I liked this idea and I got a button accordion and have learned how to play it. I prefer the button accordion and I get better every day. Being alive and sober, there's so many interesting things to do.
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Sober music community

Postby ann2 » Fri May 08, 2015 1:02 am

Thanks clouds, what a great story!

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
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Re: Sober music community

Postby Patter » Sat May 09, 2015 9:36 pm

It's been a long while since I visited here and I know the thread is kind of old, but I'm getting close to a milestone and finally feeling a little squirrelly. Music has been important to me my whole life. When I was sober a short while the strangest thing would happen - if I was driving and talking to whatever HP might be listening, I'd soon notice the song on the radio would be a good one I'd never heard before and the lyrics would sound like a message for me and be what I needed to hear. Crazy right? That happened probably a hundred times.
One example: About 2 months sober, my wife was acting like she wanted me dead; like I was the reason we were about to lose the house - which was true. I was wondering where the pat on the back was for not drinking for sooo long. I was brewing a good sized pity party until the song on the radio said something like 'why don't I get a parade for each day of sobriety.' What??!! Did I just get put in my place by the radio? That's not possible. Still sounds insane. Doggone phone is going to make me stop there. I have a couple more things to add if you want to hear em. patter
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Re: Sober music community

Postby brontoset » Sat May 09, 2015 9:48 pm

Thank you all for your replies! For me, in sobriety, I thought that the music wouldn't be the same--that the music musicians made in recovery was inferior to the stuff they made when they were active in their addictions or their use. I would get this pity party where I would think I was some sort of doomed figure, or maybe that's not an accurate description. When I was in early sobriety, there was a lot of craziness. I lived in Sam land. I was told by a sponsor, "take your meds as ordered and grow up." I still have a lot of growing up to do, and there's still some insanity. Music is a huge part of my life, and I love sober creativity. I frequently find, throughout my day, that I'll see things from my dreams in my mind. Like, I'll be at work making a sales call (I'm a telemarketer), and I'll suddenly see in my mind something that I see in my dreams--like scenery or something. I find the same thing often happens when I listen to or play music. I spent much of this evening dancing around to tunes--often pretending that I was performing.

As a sober individual, I can't chase highs anymore. For a long time I thought that my medication was taking away the creativity, but lately I've been getting back music and it's incredible. I shared at a meeting last year that I often felt like going off my meds and listening to music, or playing guitar--something like that. Someone spoke to me after the meeting and told me that drugs and alcohol have nothing to do with music. I took his comment personally, because I perceived it as him telling me I had no talent (maybe he's right :)), and I had a resentment about it. I had similar resentments about times when I thought people were telling me I sucked, that I had no talent. In other words, I thought it was all about me. I guess I felt the need to prove myself.
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Re: Sober music community

Postby Patter » Sat May 09, 2015 10:53 pm

Logged in on the regular 'puter now, so I can complete my manuscript.
At about a year and a few months sober, my first visit to a drinking establishment came about because my boss was a pretty good drinker. I was grateful as could be that I finally got a job, but then was on the phone to my sponsor worrying that the boss said it's mandatory that on Friday afternoon, the whole office would finish their 'work' at the bar with him for the last couple hours. My sponsor reminded me about the part in the Big Book where it states that if my spirituality was on good footing and I had a good reason, I could go anywhere on the planet without fear. Since the boss made the visit part of my job, I had good reason and since I was working the program as well as I could, my spirituality was on good footing. It didn't hurt that my wife worked in that particular restaurant, so the server had me floating in Mountain Dew the whole time I was there.
Then one day the boss took us to a baseball game. He drove, so I felt a bit like a hostage. I had already called my sponsor and worried that I'd actually want to purchase an 11 dollar beer (yipes), but he reminded me that if my boss demanded my presence, then that's where I needed to be and again - we can go anywhere if we're spiritually fit and need to be there. Well, after the game we walked down the street to a bar. As we sat there, the band began playing. Holy crap was this guy good! I like a lot of stuff but love the low-down, dirty blues and this particular guy was channeling the greats. I drank my soda and for the first time actually heard live music without being buzzed. And boy, was it good. During a break I remember my coworker leaning in close and whispering, "So you can never drink again, huh?" I said with a smile, "Oh no. It's not like that at all. I could go up to the bar and get a drink, but it's what happens next that would ruin the evening: I wouldn't stop once I started and I'd probably get us all thrown in jail before I was through." She eased away and let me enjoy some more blues until the boss finally announced it was time to go. The worst part of the trip was riding with him driving back to the office with him probably over the limit, but nobody able to speak up without getting fired.
Since then I've headed to bars where my brother was playing music so I could help them figure out their sound or take pictures for their next fliers. Best part of that is I actually remember doing it and know that the sound quality or pictures were excellent when I finished. I was able to assist them, bar or not.
Final story about bars: I got the opportunity to play a solo gig, me and my guitar, at a hotel in town. I showed up and the lady in charge says, "The [such and such] event is today so we expect about 4-500 people. Do you want to sit at the front entrance or in the lounge?" 4 to 500 people coming in the door?? Hell no. I hadn't played solo ever, hadn't played in a few years, and hadn't played completely sober before. So without thinking about anything other than nerves, I say "I'll play in the lounge." Well, I set up and started. Oh my. Some of the worst I've ever played or sung...ever. The idiot part of my brain reminded me that there was a bar 20 feet away. I smiled and said to myself, "Nope, it's not that bad yet. I'll let you know." Eventually my nerves calmed a bit and I think I played some songs the best I've ever done them. The crowd came and went, mostly went during the first set, but the last set had 1 guy sitting there enjoying himself immensely. When I basically played just for him, it was so much easier and if he was smiling and singing along, that was good enough for me. Got my money, packed up, and high-tailed it out of there before the idiot in there tried a new approach.
And I got on the thread initially to say "Coffee houses." Some may sell a beer or a glass of wine to a few folks, but the java is incredible and some have great 1 or 2 person acts. The focus is on the music, the aroma of fresh coffee, and it probably won't matter if alcohol is available. Alcohol is ubiquitous. Be spiritually fit and don't lie to yourself about the reason you go somewhere, have an escape plan if you also have an idiot residing somewhere in your brain, but call your sponsor first - for this and any other bright idea. Sorry for my prattling on and on. patter
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