I remember Arthur Keenan, bless his soul, pulling me aside at my very first AA Meeting at St Francis’ Church in Medford in 1979. I was jonesing for a drink after coming down off of 8 hits of speed and about two quarts of Southern Comfort. There were these big long, shaky tables set up in an auditorium on that Sunday night.
The meeting had just finished up with the Lord’s Prayer and they were trying to decide what to do with me, because I was obviously in rough shape and really strung out from the night before. I hadn’t slept, obviously, and I was shaking so hard everyone’s paper cups full of coffee kept tipping over on those shaky tables. My nerves were shot and I couldn’t stop crying.
I could be whisked off to Mt. Pleasant or a local hospital for some type of detox. The way they explained it to me was, I could get a shot of librium in the ass and wake up a few days later, with at least the physical components of the drugs and alcohol out of my system (which sounded excellent to me) or I could go home and shake it off the hard way. Which would have a preventative effect should I decide to be so foolish again. (Not a hit with me)
Arthur was the guy who came and got me earlier that day, so I listened to him. He wanted me to go cold. So reluctantly, I did.
On the way home, I told him of my aspirations of being a musician. I was heartbroken, I didn’t think I could follow that path sober. I mean, what would my hero Gregg Allman do? Then he told me something very interesting, he said “Bobby, whatever you want to be in life, good or bad, a bank robber, an embezzler, a hood a hit man, or just a normal dip shit, you will be a better one sober.” Damned if he wasn’t right.