Behind the Counter Part 3: Singing a new song
In the fall of 1982, the band U2 found themselves under the gun to create a song on the spot to complete the recording of “War,” their third studio album. They had used up all their studio time and all the tunes in their arsenal.
As the story goes, Bono reached for the good Book and flipped to Psalm 40, from which the song is scraped and titled. The guys put structure to the inspired phrases and the rest is history. The song is used to close their concerts and has inspired countless followers.
As our story goes, we launched sober.coffee in the spring of 2021 and were looking for a theme song reflecting where we were on our recovery journey. We auditioned many a melody but landed on “40” in the end as it most spoke to our core, mission, and life’s purpose. The song is used to open and close out our sessions and inspires us and our listeners.
Out with the old
The fact is that we sang the same old song for so many years. “drink, regret, repeat” was the monotonous beat in our heads, and our actions kept that pace.
While preparing this post, we were reminded of the 1987 song “Over the Edge” by the band REO Speedwagon which features lyrics that echoed recurrently during our abusive years:
I had eyes but I could not see, I hurt everybody who believed in me I had it all but I lost the key, I saw the world through fogged-up glasses…
I was over the edge, I was always out of my head
I dreamed of standin' on my own two feet… But I'd wake up to the same old me,
I wasn't foolin' anyone, playin' with a loaded gun
I wouldn't listen to what anybody said I was numbing all the pain
If I had died, it would have been a shame They'd have said "he only had himself to blame."
This anthem, and others like it, played on repeat mode for years. There was no hope of new narrative. Our writing ability had dried up.
It wasn’t until we surrendered (Yes, like the Cheap Trick song) that we were presented with a fresh piece of paper to craft a new message, a new mantra.
In with the new
“I will sing, sing a new song” exhibits our current vantage. From day one of sobriety, we were allowed to pen a replacement future. We don’t need to sing the old song anymore.
U2 said it perfectly when they wrote the following lyrics:
I waited patiently for the Lord He inclined and heard my cry. He lifts me up out of the pits Out of the miry clay
He set my feet upon a rock And made my footsteps firm Many will see Many will see and hear
We, as well, waited. We cried – and He listened! He, in fact, lifted us out of the pits, and we are forever grateful.
In response, we have made it our mission that many will see and hear; anybody can sing a new song. Like in our youth, we can stand on a rock foundation, and our feet can remain firmly planted on the road toward recovery.
This shift of life songs is only possible if we buy into the pivotal action of surrender – and yes, you have to give yourself away.
You can see by the lyrics posted above that it isn't self that cures self, but a higher power with the strength to move us from the miry clay to firm footing. No amount of podcasts, blogs, meetings, step work, sponsorship, or service can take us to this place of peace and harmony. It all comes down to surrender.
May you sing a new song, today
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a sober.coffee podcast #E21 Sobriety - Lynda Joins to Chat about "How to Get Started on the Sober Path"…” the episode dropped on 8/25/2021 Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.