I have extremely eclectic tastes in music. With very few exceptions, I love it all. It doesn’t matter that the only thing I can play is the radio, music has the ability to change my emotions, lift my heart, and touch my soul. I change the channel on the radio depending on my mood. Music can bring me to tears and cheer me up and take me back to a certain place and time in a nano second.
So it’s very sad that I have been avoiding one of my favorite genres since I got sober. Jazz, Rat Pack, Blues and Crooners is a genre that I love. Having parents that grew up in the forties with a large collection of music, indoctrinated my sister and me into the world of the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Sinatra and jazz. I missed it.
But the reason I’d been avoiding it was more important than succumbing to a base need. You see, listening to that type of music takes me back to a time when drinking was fun. It takes me back to date nights spent in a restaurant in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia where a combo played jazz every evening after dinner and you could sit and listen and canoodle with your honey and just be romantic.
It takes me back to gala’s in the 80’s where we danced to big bands playing a host of 40’s music. The hubs and I could dance very well together in our younger days (fueled by alcohol of course). He in his tuxedo and me in my formal or cocktail dress would take to the floor all night and “cut a rug” as they say. Again, very romantic.
It takes me back to dark bars and late nights of sharing secrets and mental vomiting while listening to Harry Connick, Jr., Linda Ronstadt, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Etta James, Billie Holiday and the rest of all of those wonderful, soulful singers.
Unfortunately, for the last three years I have been avoiding those places in my mind because, well, I missed it so much. And, in case you haven’t noticed by my use of italics, I also tend to romanticize things so that when my brain would goes there, I don’t actually see it how it was but how I wanted it to be and how I created it to be. (Does that make ANY sense?) I missed the romance, the candle light, the sharing.
Which means I’ve also been avoiding date night. I mean, what would be the point? Candlelight, jazz, good food and no wine? Really? Why intentionally bring on memories in my mind that would create cravings so intense that I would just sit there and be miserable all evening, making the hubs miserable and spending copious amounts of cash that we don’t have? Nope…better to just stay home and pout.
Then yesterday I was walking the dogs, alone, which meant my phone was playing music in my ears just for me. I have a playlist that is titled “Just Music” that avoids workouts and meditations and I just plunk all my music in there. I set it to shuffle. About 3/4 of the way through the walk I heard the familiar strains of a Harry song coming through my ears. Uh-oh.
But a wonderful thing happened…it took me back but in a very different way. Instead of bringing back romantic memories, it was like I was looking at a childhood memory. One that was nice but to which I would never want to return. Instead of remembering glances over a small table with a tiny candle while a four piece combo played in the background; I remembered spilled champagne after I had knocked over three glasses in a row. I remembered tears and arguments fueled by too much wine. I remembered passing out in the car only to wake up when we got home and being poured into bed. I remembered hangovers.
See it was good in the beginning but it hadn’t been that way for many, many years. I had conveniently forgotten that, in fact, it had gotten really, really “not fun” at the end. And finally, blessedly, I remembered that little tid-bit.
And then, as with everything else about my recovery, I felt a freedom that I hadn’t even realized I needed. I felt yet another set of bars in the prison roll open and I took another step into the sunshine of my life.
So, as soon as I hit “Publish”, I’m going to hook up the dogs and we’re going for our walk and my phone will be playing my Rat Pack playlist all the way.
And maybe the hubs will ask me out on a date tonight. One filled with candle light, good food, great conversation and…diet coke.