From the January 2013 magazine.

January 2014: Back in the Groove

A man at a mountain retreat helps a songwriter change his tune—just in time

I was sober for 16 years—about as long as my drinking career—and thanks to AA, I had maintained my sobriety through many of life’s challenges: divorce, bankruptcy, illnesses, surgeries, a major career change, even the death of my music partner. Sobriety had been very good to me. I had a successful career, a loving romantic relationship, good relations with my children and other family members, excellent health, and the recognition and respect of my peers. I was the president of a 400-member songwriting association, a trusted leader within my religious community, and heavily involved in some non-AA approaches to spirituality and personal development.

Gradually, though, I had allowed these other pursuits to supplant my commitment to the daily discipline of AA. Even though I hadn’t taken a drink, I was sliding into relapse and I didn’t even know it. I couldn’t understand why feelings of restlessness, irritability, and discontentment were creeping back into my life. I was arguing with my girlfriend, getting speeding tickets, running red lights, and having imaginary conversations in my head with the growing list of people I resented. It didn’t help that my career as a musician put me around active drinkers almost every night. With all my commitments, I convinced myself that I was way too busy (and way too important) to go to daily AA meetings anymore. Over time, my meeting attendance dwindled to only one per week.

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