Audio: Sober Musician

new audio recorded for my audio podcast subscription thingy.

What’s it like to be a musician, travelling, playing gigs, composing music … if you’re a drinker. Don’t we all associate being in a ‘band’ with partying?

This is a continuation of my series of audio podcasts where I read letters I’ve received from professionals about what it’s like to drink and do their job.  Doctors, lawyers, musicians, pastors.

Today’s audio is “What’s it like to be a musician who drinks?”

Musician CH (the now sober guitar player) tells us a bit about what it’s like to be a boozer in his profession.

There are some cricket noises at the beginning and the end of the audio.


Below you’ll find the entire 3.5 minute audio; I’ll leave it posted for a couple of days.

[link removed]

click here to try a podcast subscription (1 month trial) – and of course, when you get bored of me, you can cancel whenever you want



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • … my experience….

    For years I was a musician who drank – or was that a drunk who was a musician? Hmm…

    I remember in my year before stopping drinking totally I was in a band. I was trying to control my drinking, I was in a period of enforced abstinence. We had a gig that I’d arranged that was in fact in front of many of my work colleagues and my big boss and an important guest. I went to the pub on my own (as ever) for three or four before turning up – I couldn’t do it. Soon after the band disbanded … then reformed without yours truly in it… not the first time that had happened btw.

    I didn’t play live or jam with anyone through the early years of sobriety – I was too focused on that. Then I thought about it – mistake! I associated playing with drinking – could I play live sober? I seriously doubted it. It became a big big thing in my head. Then a sober friend announced he was having a party (to celebrate his 20 years sober actually) he is a musician (well a bass player.. haha). He asked me to join in. I was again riven with doubt and worry. I turned up and played, mostly sight reading the songs over the piano players shoulder – no pressure there then! They asked me to join permanently – they did a few gigs a year. At the same time another musician friend indicated to me a solo acoustic opportunity with Rock Til You Drop. I played that… just me an acoustic and my material (some covers)… I was asked back and invited onto a radio show. I’m still playing occasionally live and have played in bars and pubs and it is ok I’m there to play not to drink and I’m fine with it all now… the nerves are still there but I walk through them sober now. I’m a much better musician sober than I ever was a drunk as well of that there is no doubt at all