Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Man Who Walks Beside Me

Going to see Jason Isbell tomorrow. It's a little bit more than just going to a concert, for me. Three years sober himself (as of last Friday), Isbell released "Southeastern" - an album not about the demons of living with the bottle, but about the demons men face when they put down the bottle for good and have to atone for their past - just as I was was starting to accept my own alcoholism in mid-2013. The words existing within that album ("In a room/ by myself/ looks like I'm here with a guy I judge worse than anyone else/ So I pace/ and I pray/ and I repeat the mantras that might keep me clean for the day") were the real-world situations I was simultaneously facing in the pursuit of my own sobriety, and I leaned on Isbell's words during the nights it seemed darkest. Isbell is one of the greatest living songwriters in my book, but tomorrow's about more than just the music. It's going to say thanks, in a way, to the man who helped make me the man I am today.

There's a man who walks beside me
It is who I used to be
And I wonder if she sees him
and confuses him with me
- "Live Oak"

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