Reflections of a Sober Carpenter
by: Eric Lilavois
Ever since I waved goodbye to alcohol, my cuts have been more straight. A joke that came to me based on my favorite non-alcoholic beer, “Sober Carpenter.” It’s been such a powerful metaphor and opened an internal and external dialog about what it means to be on the other side of functional (or deceptively so) on alcohol. Sure, maybe you can still build out in the world, you might even be able to handle complex, dangerous things like metaphorical power saws, “highly” functional as they say, but how straight are your cuts?
You don’t have to have a serious drinking problem to benefit from cutting alcohol. Even if you have your drinking completely under control by society's standards (which lets face it, are loose at best,) just for your own personal growth, and health, you would be surprised what eliminating it can do.
Truthfully, truly, point blank, cutting alcohol out of my life, is the single most positive thing I’ve ever done for myself, and everyone and thing I interact with. It has re-amplified not just my love, but love for everything I do. I’m a better friend, partner, father, son, producer, musician, community member, advocate, and human, and most importantly - I’m more present. My light is no longer being dimmed, or numbed, and the growth I’ve experienced is something I never could have imagined or expected. Not to mention it has had a profound impact on my overall health, and quality of sleep, which has been such a gift. I struggled with insomnia for years and never imagined alcohol could be a part of that problem, but turns out it’s a huge factor, and not only diminishes your ability to sleep, but the quality of your sleep and the important healing that takes place when you get proper rest.
I say this with humility, love, not for a pat on the back, and just want to share my own personal experience because I want you to know you that even though it may not feel like it, you have choices, and if you choose to walk a path without alcohol, you’re not only going to be okay, you’re talking a big step that chances are your whole life, quality of life, quality of love, quality of relationships, and beyond will significantly improve.
If you are scared that you will lose friends, that you won’t be invited to things, that people will look at you differently, or if you are afraid that stopping alcohol is some sort of failure, I hope I can help you adjust your mindset and at least provide some support and let you know you are not alone, and you are going to be more then okay. Those are all valid and understandable fears and feelings but on the other side of fear is something truly beautiful.
If you’ve been leaning on alcohol far too long, or your alcohol consumption kicked up during the pandemic, or via some other traumatic event, or you’ve consciously or subconsciously needed alcohol as a crutch, maybe to battle social anxiety, or maybe just because it’s always been part of your program, or has just been part of your whole social world around you, maybe even how some people identify you, or with you…. If you’re a musician who was or is constantly paid in bar tabs, or programmed to believe that the only way to be “rock and roll” is to party, I deeply believe perhaps the most powerful and rock and roll thing you can do is say, fuck that.
One of the most powerful and honorable things we can do for ourselves and others is stop the stigma, stop the generational myths, and start the healing process towards a growth mindset, and a more fulfilling existence. I know it’s not the most opportune time to be talking about being present, the world feels evermore on fire, and the challenges seem not only exacerbated, but downright exhausting. So I get it, numb is a little more comfortable, and a little more easily justifiable (which is even more dangerous,) but with clarity of thought and feeling, comes true and lasting abilities to not just cope, but heal, evolve with your pain, anxiety, grief, or whatever it is that is keeping the monkey on your back.
So if you slipped during dry January, skipped it, or just have never tried waving goodbye to alcohol, short or long term, I highly encourage you to give it a shot, and know you have a friend who is more then happy to share resources and experiences with you anytime.
And if you are in the music industry and are in need of or have a friend, family member, or colleague who is and is in need of rehabilitation help or critical assistance, you can very discretely contact www.musicares.org 800.687.4227 or Musicaresrelief@musicares.org You do not need to be a member of the Recording Academy to be eligible for their assistance.
Here’s to straiter cuts, and steps towards your full self, and your brightest light.
Love, light and more love.