The meaning of T.I.M.E.

I play Bass in a band calle T.I.M.E. - an acronym for Together It's More Enjoyable ... To most, we are just a decent slightly beyond middle aged band – playing a few originals, some cool new songs, and some tired dance music from over 30 years ago. Very few know our full stories; almost none know mine.

I heard about the band at an Open Mic at a Recovery Club… I was flipping burgers after six or so months into a walk back from the gates from hell. That cold October night, body weak from weeks of self inflicted malnutrition and intense 24/7 death wish insanity, drinking (self medicating) to ease depression, loneliness and fear. I prayed that night, like so many prayers – God chose not to grant my wish… I lingered and cheated death… barely …and the ambulance came. I lived – another selfish prayed denied by my cruel God.

Thirty five years of partying and what I cam to understand as an addiction and eventually losing everything… were over. Finally! How did it hapen? I don’t know. Why… I can speculate at answers. God let me live that night to mull it over. Near blind, unable to walk, move my arms … 40 pounds underweight that night: now I was at a grill, making decadent fatty cheeseburgers with bacon, doing service work because I knew I needed to. The woman working the counter was droning on of a love lost all night… I was ignoring her until she started talking of a friends departing Band Bass Player too… I was one about 25 years go… I spoke up, and it started – I was given a new chance to touch an old love in my life; music, thank you God for showing me service work... without being there in pain at the grill... doing something selfless... an opportunity would have passed.

The Band's need was urgent ... I had only two weeks to learn about 30 songs, playing on not much more than a friends 3/4 size toy bass, on borrowed amplifier. I squinted through my near blind eyes; nerve damaged from the alcohol… standing on my excruciatingly painful feet… also nerve damaged beyond any hope of repair from the same toxins. The other band members encouraged me … they were healthy, long term recovery folk. I wanted what they had.

First night, walking on a little plywood stage, in front of 200 people and a bon-fire. Carafes of coffee replaced the kegs of beer I knew once. I muddled my way through songs and set lists best I could, my feet seizing up, legs cramping … my eyes tearing at the songs of recovery. Emotions flowed… like I had never felt before. Love, gratitude, joy, serenity… I was not only alive, but I was living again. They talked of “Experience, Strength and Hope” … after we played, people speaking of a strange program. I had only the last one of the three, but hope was enough to give me determination.

Practices and gig load outs were grueling.. I remember well the 25 stairs to our weekly practice spot… 8 the first landing, 17 on the next. I remember because every one was painful, and I would make many trips up and down with equipment, stopping often to rest, my legs were so weak then. I was determined to not feel the searing pain in my feet – play through the pain. I did at every practice … til my feet started to feel better - and my vision slowly returned, my actual sight and my vision for life.

In a few months, I found myself on a stage in Boston, on New Years - supporting a local facility that helps people in recovery. Much strength had returned, I now had the experience of many gigs of pain… and still full of hope. A room filled with young kids in their teens and 20’s … scared, but they had their hope, and like I was – no experience, little strength, terrified of going back out and feeling more pain… looking to us in the band for a few fun hours of sober lyrical escape in song and dance… on a night that promotes chaos and drunkenness, a reprieve from the streets and temptations, surrounded by love, prayers and people who care.

I never felt more important in my life that night … sharing my talents that had lain dormant for decades, with other musicians who had their own version of hell … and survived. Six hours of driving to and from, 5 hours of meeting, performing, packing and praying. I would pay to play in that experience again. So filling, a deep feeling as the saying goes cannot buy.

“So Close” – a song special to me I tear up at almost every gig. I was so close myself to not being here at all… missing on my children's lives ... and so much more. I had survived my first calendar year completely sober in my adult life ever. I had cheated death, fought through pain to crawl up onto stages larger and larger… to share my Experience, Strength and Hope plunking away on my bass in the background.

Together It’s More Enjoyable – for me together is every day, every moment I get to look someone in the eye and smile. Every breath … I am grateful for life itself… and for the opportunity through some music that stirs my very soul, gives me the essential drive of a life ‘TIME’.

When I play now, my feet still hurt a bit, I squint a bit at off lights… my playing chops are back better than ever … Gods gift of hands between my ‘hand’icaps of bad eyes and bad feet I guess? The redundant dance songs from thirty plus years ago get tiresome once in a while… but the opportunity to give hope to people struggling … to work towards that next gig to share what I have found … the opportunity for a life that is healthy, clean and really, really fun an oh so fulfilling… yeah – once more … Play the Funky Music White Boy!  :-)

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