Thursday, June 20, 2019


I can't really remember if I am writing a blog I already have written before.
I am almost to 100 entries over the past 7 years and I try hard to not repeat myself.
Obviously this blog is based on my life and experiences as a recovering addict and alcoholic and touring musician and most important, a father and husband. The theme is always similar but I hope each entry has something fresh to share. People often ask me to write the blog more, and I promise I will be doing so soon, but its sometimes hard to be authentic and honest when it is a chore.
Some writers write for the sake of being able to write, it is their gift. Mine is not that way.
My gift I do not believe is so much in the ability to write, but to share my feelings and world honestly.
I enjoy writing, but it has to come from the right place. I don't write songs well without purpose either.
My best songs are based on true experience or feelings. I could never be a "Songwriter" that is shelling out melodic tunes for money. I don't have it in me, and so I approach this blog the same.
I write when I have something to say that I feel is worthy of your time.

Which brings me to commitment.
I have never been committed to much in life before recovery, other than my guitar and music.
Music was the lover I would not let go of, no matter what the cost.
I have given up many other life experiences for music. I have slept with my guitar in lieu of a human
many times. The guitar is the one thing in life I have held tightly since I was 8 years old.
I often thought of "commitment" as mostly having to do with a relationship, a marriage vow.
I was not very successful with that idea early on in my life as well. I just wanted to play my guitar
at all costs. Now, throw in some drugs and alcohol and you get a pretty good story.

It never occurred to me that commitment was so powerful.
My first real commitment in life was to the recovery programs that have saved my life.
I remember hearing from a man in a meeting years ago say "at some point you have to make a commitment. You have to decide this is what you are going to do and do it no matter what."
That hit hard for me. I made a firm decision that day that I would stay clean and sober and I would work that program to the best of my ability. That is what I would do, this would now become my life.
He was right. It took making a heartfelt decision deep inside that this is what I would now be, I would not go back to my old way of life. That commitment rings as true today as it did 15 years ago.

I always say that recovery was my first success in life and that is true. It's the first thing I started that I have not walked away from  or given up on. It has taught me to make real commitments in my life outside of the meetings. My wife and I were dating and I was newly sober. I was just starting to be able to play music again and she would go with me to support me and be there so I could do my job, get paid and bring the money home. It was a fun time. We would drive to Lake Charles two-three times a week for me to play gigs and she'd fall asleep on the way back in the car and get home at 2am, then get up at 6:30am and go to work. She was always there to help me.
One night we were crossing the 210 bridge in Lake Charles and I was so excited. I was staying sober and playing music and this girl was right there with me and we were just having so much fun. I told her that I thought if we stayed together we could probably do really well as a team. She agreed!
We decide that we would make a pact right there that night. We would always stay together, no matter what. We shook on it, on that bridge. We called it the 210 pact.
For years after we married, whenever we argued or disagreed, one of us would remind the other of the "210 pact" and we would kind of let go of whatever the disagreement was.
It was always fun and sometimes like the ring of the bell at the end of a round of boxing.
"Hey....the 210 pact!"......and everything would stop.

Like most marriages, we have had some rough patches along the way. Times when we were younger and things were just not jiving. My nature to always cut and run would kick in and I would think
" I gotta get out of here" or "what the hell is going on". In the midst of all of these turbulence,
one of us would remind each other of the 210 pact. It would solemnly bring the unease to an end.
But it was not a fun little quip anymore, it was for real.
We made a deal, remember? No matter what we would stay together and be a team.
That always worked. It was deeper than our wedding vows, our formal marriage. We did this on our own, together with God as our witness and we shook on it, always and forever.
Laura was pregnant with Josie at the time and my music career was not what it is today.
Times were tight and I was working a lot and not giving her the support she needed, but we did our best. We went to the hospital for the birth of our new baby girl. It all happens so fast and so crazy and at the same time like slow motion. I was right by Laura's side, holding her hand.
I heard a loud cry and the doctor said "Mark the time of delivery at 2:10pm"

The biggest tear I have ever seen, ran out of my wife's eye. She looked at me and I was overcome.
It was too much. It's almost too much typing the story this morning.
I felt this wash over me and I just surrendered and said, ok, I get it. I'm here. This is exactly what I am doing. For always and forever.  Laura and I didn't say a word, we just looked at each other and we knew. The pact was real, it was our honest commitment and we would stay true to our word.

Everything changed from that day forward. We had honored the commitment to the best of our ability up to that day, but that day was the Universe telling us that we made a promise, and now there was no turning back. Life became so much simpler and easy and more connected than ever before.
We stopped fighting, arguing, and just started to really enjoy our life together.
All of our energy went into that commitment.
I became a better musician and a real father and husband that day.
This commitment has become the absolute focal point of our lives.
Nothing else matters, only the 210 pact.

That commitment has led me to many more in my life.
The commitment to my recovery and to my wife have really taught me how to succeed.
When I want to be truly successful at anything, I have to commit.
As I get older, I realize I do not have time for games or messing around. Some people have to go
and some get to stay. I have work to do and time is of the essence.

Not everything in life is as amazing as the pact that my wife and I made some 15 years ago,
nor should it be. But, when I make a commitment, something powerful happens.
It becomes a part of me, it is mine and I own it and treasure the cost.
It is beyond being loyal, it is who I am.
To truly succeed at any venture, I have to commit.
I never realized I could give so much of myself to others or to a cause or work, but I can.
I can give more. I am still selfish. I still love to hold that guitar.
Standing by my word is an inside job, it means I am to be trusted with the deepest of dedications.
I am proud of my commitments today, they define me.

210 pact baby...always and forever!