I was reading an article in The Observer, or it may have been The Guardian, not that it matters which. Same publisher, and on the same App. Online or mobile app tends to be the way I consume my news and cultural media these days.
Anyway, the article was about musicians who have discovered that their creativity wasn’t linked to the drink and drugs they consumed, and in fact becoming sober had broadened their horizons and enhanced their creative output.
One of the artists interviewed for the article was Johnny Marr. He said he knew he had to change his lifestyle, because being drunk or high or both meant he was endlessly seeing the world from the same perspective. And he became tired of it.
I can relate to that 100%. I used to drink heavily and if I analyse, it was because I was determined to escape my reality. I was avoiding my truth by obliterating it through copious amounts of lagers, bitters, quality rums and whiskies. With a few tequilas, Jaegermeisters, gins, vodkas, cocktails and the like thrown in for good measure.
I became trapped in the bottom of my glass (or bottle or can). And the strange thing was that even when I knew I had to stop, and did, it still took me a long time to find my way out of the darkness. The relationships I’ve had in sobriety have helped me look for the right path. None more so than finding AA, even though I felt it difficult to let go in that environment. My self-loathing was still rampant; I just had a clearer head to deal with it.
My current job has been an amazing help to me. Not only has it given me an opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives, I have forged good friendships with some of my colleagues, with one directing me to therapy. And that has proved to be a major leap forwards.
My recent experimentation with photography and creation of artwork is the main thing that is dragging me out of the dark right now. This is all very personal to me by the way, but I’m seeing things differently. I’m looking for different angles. And I’m getting my mojo back. Yeah I did say that, sorry. But I am. I feel confident to move on to new challenges, push new barriers and find new perspectives.
I’m not cured by the way. I’m recovering. I still have bouts of anxiety, self-doubt and self-hate. But now I work through that without resorting to self-destruction. I remind myself of the things I’m grateful for. I remind myself that the past should not dictate my future and that projecting ahead is never healthy.
And now, my pictures… today they’re inspired by Brian Eno’s Small Craft on a Milk Sea. An album from 2010 made in collaboration with Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams. It’s a wonderful mix of sounds and beats, from haunting pianos, strings, and guitars to jarring electronic chords to serene, and sometimes sinister, soundscapes.