Sunday, December 11, 2016

25 Songs About Addiction and Recovery: IT'S BEEN AWHILE, Staind

It's Been Awhile was the first song I've put on this list that came out after my clean date. I'm wasn't a big fan of Staind at the time, and I think my general assessment of Aaron Lewis' abilities has been borne out by time. However, I'm a big believer in the Squier Principle, which states that every musical artist has at least one good song in them, and this song is Lewis' proof of that theory.
And repairing a relationship damaged by addiction is a subject that most addicts can identify deeply with. And the self-flagellation apparent in this song is real and something almost everyone goes through. I'm saddled with the child support debt that I have because of it; I was feeling so guilty over what I did to my ex-wife and kids during active addiction that I signed a divorce agreement that my lawyer was apoplectic about, and he turned out to be right. And the rose-colored glasses ("All that shit seems to disappear when I'm with you") looking backwards are also typical. It is part of the self-centeredness that is characteristic of the disease of addiction that all the issues and problems in a relationship are taken on by the addict; it is only through the step process that a more realistic take on problems takes root, and the addict can see that although he/she may bear the majority of the blame, it takes two. It really does.
And also typical of men in early recovery, Lewis, or the persona he adopted in the song, is motivated at least partially by the need to resume regular sexual activity ("I still remember just the way you taste"). The nascent "spiritual awakening" in early recovery often is a thinly-disguised longing for the shallow intimacy of sex; if you talked only to men in early recovery, one would think that the Almighty's primary concern is making sure that guys in early recovery get laid, because a lot of this stuff is, according to them, "God's will."
The lines in the song about the singer's father also hit home at the time. My father hadn't been dead long, and I naturally was trying to absolve him of his part in my addiction. And to be sure, he didn't cause it--but I no longer truly believe he did his best for me, either. He suffered from the disease of addiction as much as I did; it just expressed itself in the lust for money rather than the uncontrollable use of cocaine. It doesn't make me love him less--but a better perspective is one of the gifts of recovery, and one of the pathways back to health.
But this remains a powerful song, a snapshot of a stage that all recovering people go through.


And the lyrics:

And it's been awhile
Since I could hold my head up high
And it's been awhile
Since I first saw you
And it's been awhile
Since I could stand on my own two feet again
And it's been awhile
Since I could call you
And everything I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that I've rendered
I've stretched myself beyond my means
And it's been awhile
Since I can say that I wasn't addicted
And it's been awhile
Since I can say I love myself as well
And it's been awhile
Since I've gone and fucked things up just like I always do
And it's been awhile
But all that shit seems to disappear when I'm with you
And everything I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that I've rendered
I've gone and fucked things up again
Why must I feel this way?
Just make this go away
Just one more peaceful day
And it's been awhile
Since I could look at myself straight
And it's been awhile
Since I said I'm sorry
And it's been awhile
Since I've seen the way the candles light your face
And it's been awhile
But I can still remember just the way you taste
And everything I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem to be, I know it's me
I cannot blame this on my father
He did the best he could for me
And it's been awhile
Since I could hold my head up high
And it's been awhile
Since I said I'm sorry

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