Rocker Walsh Lives ‘One Day at a Time’

Rock superstar Joe Walsh (James Gang, Eagles) talks about his sobriety at the 2015 Unite to Face Addiction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (photo courtesy Walsh’s webpage)

If there ever was a time to take life a day (or an hour) at a time, its now. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like pandemic-induced isolation to push me even closer to AA (I’m hitting more Uptown online meetings now due to the quarantine).

Boomer rocker Joe Walsh (James Gang and The Eagles) sobered up in 1993 and learned about living life a day at a time. He penned the song One Day at a Time in 2012 to spread the message the best way he knew how, and its a good song. YouTube the song, its great. Here’s the lyrics:

“Well you know
I was always the first to arrive at the party, ooh!
And the last to leave the scene of the crime
Well it started with a couple of beers
And it went I don’t know how many years
Like a runaway train headed for the end of the line

Well I finally got around to admit that I might have a problem
But I thought it was just too damn big of a mountain to climb
Well I got down on my knees and said ‘Hey!’ (la la la)
‘I just can’t go on livin’ this way!’ (la la la)

Guess I have to learn to live my life one day at a time
Oh ya! One day at a time!
Oh ya! One day at a time!

Oh ya! One day at a time!
Oh ya! One day at a time!

Well I finally got around to admit that I was a problem
When I used to put the blame on everybody’s shoulders but mine
All the friends I used to run with are gone, (la la la)
Lord, I hadn’t planned on livin’ this long. (la la la)

I have to learn to live my life one day at a time!

It was something I was too blind to see
I got help from something greater than me
And I have to learn to live my life one day at a time!”

Living a day at a time was a concept that didn’t come easy to me in early sobriety. Some days early on I took it a half day or even an hour at a time until I could get to another meeting. Some days I just skipped work and went to meetings morning, noon and night and then did the fellowship thing until bedtime. You know, it worked. It got me over the hump until I learned some new coping skills to replace my old, fatal ones (alcohol, drugs, rage, sex, food, anything that felt good).

Back then, I was so filled with remorse for the past and FEAR of tomorrow, that staying in today was a real challenge (hard, but not impossible, my sponsor used to say). It was a time of big changes and challenges in all aspects of my life, many that had nothing to do with sobriety.

But I kept showing up at meetings and folks there would see my fear and tell me,” You have everything you need to make it through today, so don’t worry about tomorrow until it comes. You are ok for now, lean on us, lean on AA, you don’t have to do this alone, you don’t need alcohol or drugs to make it through.”

They were right.

Compartmentalizing my life into one hour or a day at a time and forgetting about tomorrow helped me to make it through that hour, that morning, that day. It was too much back then to deal all at once with today and those ‘two awful eternities: yesterday and tomorrow,’ as AA says. When I learned to deal just with today (or just the morning or the next hour), I did much better.

It took practice, though, and time to learn these news skills. I had to devote myself to AA and unload my old play pals and play pens. That wasn’t too hard. I knew they were killing my body and soul. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was in that state of willingness to change, to listen to others, to trust others to show me a new, livable path forward.

Today, I am grateful to be alive. I am happy Joe Walsh made it too. If we can make it, so can you. Try AA and sobriety. The only thing you have to lose is your misery!


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