The Life Challenge
Just For Today: An Interview with G.E. Partin

Just For Today: An Interview with G.E. Partin

Singer/songwriter and Life Challenge member G.E. Partin has been kind enough to share some of his music with The L+C community. His song Just For Today “Song for Michael’s House” is an honest reflection of his journey to sobriety. To listen to the track visit: https://www.reverbnation.com/gepartin

Just For Today

“Song for Michael’s House”

 

HOW YA FEELIN – THEY REALLY WANT TO KNOW

HERE AT MICHAEL’S HOUSE – THEY REALLY WANNA KNOW

 

WE’VE ALL BEEN DOWN A LONG ROAD OF PAIN – QUESTIONS WITHOUT ANSWERS

LIVING LIFE WITH NOTHIN’ LEFT TO GAIN – ADDICTION’S BEEN A CANCER – TO OUR SOULS

 

JUST FOR TODAY, I’LL BE A BETTER MAN

JUST FOR TODAY, I’VE GOT A SOBER PLAN

JUST FOR TODAY, I’LL BELIEVE IN A HIGHER POWER

IT’S OUR FINEST HOUR OF CHANGE…

WHAT WE GONNA DO WITH OUR LIVES – I BELIEVE THAT LOVE – LOVE WILL FIND A WAY…

 

JUST FOR TODAY 2x

 

WHAT YA THINKIN’ – THEY REALLY WANT TO KNOW

HERE AT MICHEAL’S HOUSE – THEY REALLY WANNA KNOW

 

CHANGE CAN FEEL A LIFE TIME AWAY – AS OUR DEMONS STAND BEFORE US

ESCAPE IS NOT THE ANSWER TO DAY – A LIGHT SHINES IN THE FOREST – LOVE WILL FIND A WAY

 

JUST FOR TODAY, I’LL BE A BETTER MAN

JUST FOR TODAY, I’VE GOT A SOBER PLAN

JUST FOR TODAY, I’LL BELIEVE IN A HIGHER POWER

IT’S OUR FINEST HOUR OF CHANGE…

WHAT WE GONNA DO WITH OUR LIVES -YEAH WHAT WE GONNA DO WITH OUR LIVES, I BELIEVE THAT LOVE – LOVE WILL FIND A WAY…YEAH……

 

AWAKENING THE LOVE THAT HIDES INSIDE US – TRYING TO BE THE ONES WE USED TO BE

ACCEPTANCE OF THE PATH THAT LIES BEHIND US – WILL OPEN A WHOLE NEW DOOR FOR YOU AND ME…

 

JUST FOR TODAY, I’LL BE A BETTER MAN

JUST FOR TODAY, I’VE GOT A SOBER PLAN

JUST FOR TODAY, I’LL BELIEVE IN A HIGHER POWER

IT’S OUR FINEST HOUR OF CHANGE…

WHAT WE GONNA DO WITH OUR LIVES – YEAH WHAT WE GONNA DO WITH OUR LIVES – I BELIEVE THAT LOVE – LOVE WILL FIND A WAY…

 

JUST FOR TODAY

JUST FOR TODAY

 

 

In service,

 

Guy E. Partin

Michael’s House Alumnus 2016

 

After hearing such an inspiring tune, The Life Challenge team decided to host an interview with Guy about his music, his addiction, and his recovery.

 

–        “When did you start playing and writing?

 

To start from the beginning – I was born into a musical family – My mother and father are both musicians and always had some kind of weekend band thing going on – mainly for the fun, but to help make ends meet as well. I have been told that at age three I could sing Beatles songs before I could string regular sentences together and on the occasional Sunday afternoon cookout I would invariably be asked to sing those Beatles songs, (She Was Just Seventeen & I Wanna Hold Your Hand) and at the time I used to wear an International Harvester cowboy hat, so when I was done singing,  my Dad would remind me to pass the hat around and everyone would throw a few coins in it. I was too young at that point, but later in life got the realization that hey, I was getting paid to sing at three! Lol

I began learning guitar at age 10 with my Dad’s tutelage and picked up the electric bass at 13 (my fav/main instrument for live performances). It was at age 14 two very important things happened in my life, first I began playing bass and singing in my Mom and Dad’s weekend band. My mother was against it because she did not want her son being exposed to the ‘sordid’ life of bars and clubs, but after they both discussed it; I was told that I could indeed be their bassist as long as I remembered one thing: To always conduct myself as an adult. I performed with them from 14 to 18, when I graduated high school. The second thing that happened that year was I got my heart broken by a girl I had a severe crush on and wrote my first song called, ‘Those Summer Days’. I can still remember and play it to this day, it is simple but not too shabby as first songwriting efforts go. ha-ha.. Since then I have written dozens and dozens of songs both with lyrics and instrumental. I had my heyday in the late 70’s all of the 80’s and half the 90’s.

I got close enough to taste the brass on the ring so-to-speak – twice but ironically it was others in those two bands substance abuse problems that spoiled it for all of us. For although musicians tend to get a bad rap across the board such as the old song from Dire Straights, “Money for nothin’ and yer chicks for free”…said tongue-in-cheek of course, I was very serious in my pursuit of the dream of getting into the music business at the highest level. When I look back on those years I witnessed many of my fellow musicians fall into the addiction trap and perhaps it is what saved me from so many of those pitfalls, but that did not mean I was not developing a problem of my own. Alcoholism was to be the bane of my existence.

 

–        “When did you start battling w/ substance abuse?”

 

To properly answer this question, I have to go back to my days performing in my parents’ group. Drinking was and is very prevalent in my family on both sides. Tragically I have lost three uncles and my grandfather on my mother’s side to alcoholism. Recently after I had turned 16, we were performing at a club in Maryland and I talked our drummer into discreetly buying me a bottle of wine which I hid in my bass case until we got home, always in the wee hours of the morning, where I would wait until my parents were in bed asleep and I would proceed to drink the bottle dry. When I look back on those days, I realized that although I could get up in front of adults and play and sing with confidence; because my parents moved a lot (22 schools-4 in 7th grade alone!) I was an extreme introvert in school and always felt awkward as the new kid, and was treated as such. I know now that those bottles of wine I drank frequently after those weekend gigs, was my ‘escape’ from those feelings. Again more irony, during my 15 years on the road as a pro musician I did drink but I was so driven to succeed that I was never truly taken in by my alcoholism until I had settled down, and gotten married. I longed for stability and continuity and after losing out twice trying to ‘make the big time’ and  I was tired and disgusted with that life – or lack thereof. Unfortunately my failure to get into that ‘big time’ caused me to go through a good portion of the marriage with a chip on my shoulder, if not for the joy of raising my two children, the severity of my alcohol problem would have raised its ugly head much sooner and much worse than it ended up doing.

 

It wasn’t until my 20 year marriage came to an end, and again ironically, not over alcohol, that my disease finally gripped me hard and fast. Less than a year after my divorce in 2007, I was arrested twice in 35 days for DUI, .35 & .38. Thankfully I did not physically harm anyone, including myself, but I ultimately spent 90 days in jail plus $10,000 in costs and fines and then a year into my probation I began drinking again and was caught violating that probation and spent another 70 days in jail for that. Keep in mind I had never even gotten a speeding ticket before this, so needless to say orange is not one of my favorite colors anymore; but this was not the end of my self-imposed suffering. I limped through life for the next few years also suffering from the inability to get a decent I.T. job, (I had become too experienced and too old to even get an interview) for most of my marriage I was a very successful self-taught computer and technology professional while still performing on weekends like my parents did, for the fun and to make a few extra bucks. So by 2016 I had experienced several heart wrenching life events that caused me to reach a spiritual low I had never known before. I have spent many years of my adult life being a seeker of “the truth of life”, as it were, and had become so disillusioned with the plight of the human race that I had come to the drunken conclusion to end my life. The details are not important but the end result was what I choose to believe was divine intervention. That is what finally, after 57 years, 41 of which was my sine wave of alcohol abuse, got me to come to my own conclusion that I needed to seek professional help for I was indeed powerless over my alcoholism and could no longer properly manage my own life.  I utilized the Internet to research rehabilitation, the methods being used, and I found Michael’s House/Foundation Recovery Network web site. This is where I began to learn about dual diagnosis and to begin to understand my depression was my problem and again, alcohol was my solution. It was and continues to be, the best decision of my life.

 

–        “How has music helped you on your journey to sobriety?”

 

One of my spiritual problems was indeed my musical gifts. All I ever knew was performing in bars and clubs, and to further promote the many ironies in my disease, they were NEVER triggers for me, on the contrary even in my heaviest drinking bouts I was always sober while I performed, just usually not any time else. So I began to question the use of my talents to basically sell booze for those bars and clubs, for at the end of the day that is really the primary reason bands are hired in those venues. To play music that makes people dance, get sweaty and thirsty. So in essence it was a crisis of existential musical conscience.

 

When I made that first phone call to the Foundation Recovery Network, the gentleman that took my call was incredibly understanding of where I was mentally, took the time to listen to my story and asked some difficult but very relevant questions that I answered honestly. When we got to the end of the interview I had but one request; to be able to bring my guitar. It has been a part of my life since the age of 10 and it was my one sacred therapy. I was put on hold a minute or two but I was told that yes I could bring it. That was all I needed to hear. I was in. So this is where things get interesting. Again, my intention by bringing my guitar was to have something constructive and dear to me to turn to during my alone time at Michael’s House, but I was there for my sobriety and not to be known as a Rehab rock star – lol so I was only playing it in my room and once in a while in a vacant hallway where the  acoustics were nice. Another patient overheard me, and I was asked to perform around the fire pit in the evening. This led to my performing at the customary “coin outs” for patients about to complete their stay at the facility. About two weeks after that,  I discovered my writing again. Although I did not mention it earlier, I had experienced a decade and a half writer’s block and could not complete any original material. This all changed when I began to understand my disease based on the incredible information I was being exposed to. From the Resident Councilors’ to the Therapists to the doctors and nurses, I realized that these special people had no ‘skin in the game’ they were there because they truly loved their work and truly cared about me, about all the patients at Michael’s House. I have to admit that all of them, and I wish I could mention them by name, restored my faith in humanity and more importantly, myself. I was told in that initial interview that I would be given ‘tools’ to help me understand my disease and how to maintain my long-term sobriety. For THIS ONE THING was and remains my number one focus in life. Stay Sober. I attended all of the classes, I participated and kept my mind open to all of the information I was being exposed to. I ‘got’ those tools. Aka DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy)and I can say without hesitation that I gained my self-esteem back, I experienced self-love for the first time in my life and met some incredibly wonderful people, both working at the facility and many of the patients. As a person who had never been to a rehab facility before, I was a newbie and very self-conscious about sharing my disease or even exposing it for what it had really done to my life and the lives of my family and friends. I quickly understood that I was among kindred spirits. It didn’t matter what we were all in for, where we came from or the color of our skin, what mattered is we understood each other and showed unique compassion for one another in our desire to be sober and stay sober. This extends to the whole staff as well. This has been a most profound, eye-opening experience that keeps getting better with each day that I wake up and can say I love myself, I forgive myself and I am sober another day with a smile and not a frown.

 

–        “What is your advice to other addicts needing help?”

 

Simple! Be honest with yourself. You know when you look yourself in the mirror, and especially when you can’t look yourself in the mirror, that the existence you are in is a living hell.  What got us to that point isn’t as important as knowing this and I say this from experience:  I thought I was broken and could not be fixed, I thought I was destined to die of my disease just like my uncles and grandfather did.  There is no bottle, no pipe no needle that weighs much more or less than a phone. I encourage you to do your own research, but if I may be so bold as to save you the time and effort I already put into that research, call Michael’s House/Foundation Recovery Network. They treat your ‘solution’ but more importantly your real problem: Your addiction, your disease. They are in the top 5 percent in the country for dual-diagnosis and recovery. Getting sober is only part of the solution. Michael’s House intrinsically understands this and provides the WHOLE solution.

 

–        “Why repeat just for today? What point were you trying to get across?”

 

Every morning our whole group of patients would gather for prayer/meditation and to share our positive affirmations for the day. This included several readings, one of which is entitled “Just For Today”. For in the end our sobriety is maintained on a daily basis. It’s not about saying I will not drink, I will not use ever again, it’s that I will not drink, I will not use, just for today. So in my song I consider it very important to get that message of living in the here and now of our recovery and not future or past tripping as it is referred to.

 

–        “What do you want this song to mean for other L+C members or others battling addiction?”

 

Life truly is about the choices we make. In our addictions we think we have lost those choices. It is part of that hell I spoke of earlier. My message again is simple. You still do have a choice, you deserve the choice of recovery and the great news is, once you have made that single first choice to put yourself into recovery, and you stay the course no matter what; your life WILL become better than you could ever imagine. There is a wonderful message I got from one of the Resident Councilors’, who is a successful long recovering addict, he said, “Guy, if sobriety wasn’t working for me, I’d still be a drunk and using!”

That is a truth that anyone with our disease can understand.

 

–        “What influenced the song most from your experience at Michael’s House?”

 

Well, in keeping it honest and real, I have already answered this question in the above statements, but it was my own realization that everyone at Michael’s House  truly cared about me, understood my struggles and my desire to learn how to be a sober person. They did indeed give me the tools I needed and showed me a better way of living with my disease without being a victim of it. They helped me get myself off that horrible hamster wheel.

 

–        “When did you realize that you wanted to use your music to influence the recovery community?”

 

I will preface this answer with a funny experience. When I wrote ‘Just For Today’ I mentioned it to one of the councilors there who held a music therapy class each Friday. This class was based on songs any patient wanted to suggest that had something to do with recovery, (and there are many great ones btw) and he would, at his own expense download them and present them, with printed out lyrics at the next music therapy class. He instantly asked me if I would perform my recovery song at the next class and I of course said yes. As I sat on a stool in front of a packed classroom of my patient/peers and many of the staff, I looked around the room, and I said to them, “you know I could not tell you how many gigs I have played in my many years of performing live, but I can tell you with complete honesty that this is the first time I have performed in front of a bunch of alcoholics and drug addicts who were sober!” It got a tremendous laugh and broke the ice for us all as well. When I was done the song, I got a standing ovation. It was not only at that moment I realized I had a new much more beneficial purpose to serve with my musical gifts but during the remaining time I was at Michael’s House I had patients young and old come up to me and express how much my music had helped them in their own recovery. I did not need to think twice about what I wanted to do with my sobriety. Music is indeed the only medicine.  I stand ready for that purpose. I stand ready to serve. I am sober, and I am happy.

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Hudson Jones

 

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