Thursday, December 15, 2016

25 Songs About Addiction and Recovery: SOBER, Pink

Sober came out about eight years ago, at a time when Sabrina's favorite musical artist was Pink. And so I got to know this song really, really well for about a year. And I remember thinking that this is clearly a song that only an addict (my background is Narcotics Anonymous, and as far as we are concerned, alcohol is a drug, even if alcoholics often like to make distinctions) could write. I knew that because I could instantly and totally identify with it, and there are few if any songs that address the ambivalence of early recovery for the addict.
None of us--none of us--stopped because we suddenly saw the light and realized that maybe we should do something else with our lives. I remain adamantly convinced that the only motivating factor in getting clean is pain---lots and lots of searing, gut-wrenching, crushing pain. We don't get addicted to things we don't love--otherwise it wouldn't have become the problem that it did. Even now, for myself, with nearly two decades clean, I cannot tell you that I hate cocaine. On the contrary--I remember very well why I fell in love with it. It's the memory of the consequences that arose from not being able to stop using it that keeps me from starting again.
And Pink captures this emotion perfectly. The entire song is a bit of euphoric recall--there is a grim realization that drinking was causing more problems than she was willing to deal with anymore, but the sense of let-down, of boredom, that she refers to more than once while sober is real. On balance, we usually--usually--don't lose our minds over it and relapse, but honestly, the chaos and insanity and, at times, fun of using seems pretty lively compared to the staid, calm manageability of being sober/clean. And especially in early recovery, before the new order has become comfortable and deep-rooted, the temptation to look back wistfully at the "life" given up is nearly irresistible.
Those that make ti don't give in to those temptations; we "play the whole tape through," to use a phrase often heard. Thinking about the good times is natural, and one of the most basic lessons of recovery (one that many religious people fail to grasp and as a result make themselves and the world miserable over it) is that we cannot control our thoughts. We can control our actions, and recovery very broadly can be understood as constructing various roadblocks and checkpoints between though and action; in addiction, our impulses are synonymous with our decisions.
The repeated refrain "Will I ever feel this good sober?" is one that gets answered affirmatively if one stays the course. It is the reason that "one day at a time" is the mantra we live by. We're not capable of staying clean/sober for eight years--but we are capable of doing it for one day, and then doing it again the next day. Projections and expectations and "what if?'s are killers in early recovery, and it is hard to take answers on faith.
But asking questions is OK. It's more than OK, it's necessary. And this song brilliantly captures that point in the process.

And the lyrics:


I don't wanna be the girl who laughs the loudest
Or the girl who never wants to be alone
I don't wanna be that call at 4 o'clock in the morning
'Cos I'm the only one you know in the world that won't be home

Ah the sun is blinding
I stayed up again
Oh, I am finding
That's not the way I want my story to end

I'm safe
Up high
Nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party's over?
No pain
Inside
You're my protection
How do I feel this good sober?

I don't wanna be the girl who has to fill the silence
The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth
Please don't tell me that we had that conversation
I won't remember, save your breath, 'cos what's the use?

Ah, the night is calling?
And it whispers to me softly come and play
Ah, I am falling
And If I let myself go I'm the only one to blame

I'm safe
Up high
Nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party's over?
No pain
Inside
You're like perfection
How do I feel this good sober?

I'm coming down, coming down, coming down
Spinning 'round, spinning 'round, spinning 'round
Looking for myself - SOBER [x2]

When it's good, then it's good, it's so good till it goes bad
Till you're trying to find the you that you once had
I have heard myself cry, never again
Broken down in agony just tryna find a friend

Oh Oh

I'm safe
Up high
Nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party's over?
No pain
Inside
You're like perfection
How do I feel this good sober

Oh Oh

I'm safe
Up High
Nothing can touch me
But why do I feel this party's over?
No pain
Inside
You're like perfection
How do I feel this good sober?

Will I ever feel this good sober?
Tell me, No no no no no pain
How do i feel this good sober?

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