Dealing with addiction and finding sobriety has been a difficult journey for Mike McClure. Now that he has been sober for a year, he has taken the time to reflect and push the reset button on his life.
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In his upcoming album, ‘Looking Up,’ Mike includes 10 tracks that will take you through his journey of sobriety, insecurities, and learning to live in the moment.
One of the songs featured in this album is titled “Holiday Blown.” Holidays are supposed to be a time to rejoice and celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, Mike did not have the joyful holiday experiences that many get to have.
“I wrote ‘Holiday Blown’ 3-4 years ago, but never recorded it. It’s taken on a whole new meaning for me now,” says Mike.
“I was always curious about my grandpa Charlie on my mom’s side. He was a tank mechanic in WW2 on the march to Berlin. When he came home from the war, he stayed drunk all the time. One night near Christmas in 1960, Charlie was asleep on the couch. He was supposed to go ‘out with friends,’ but my grandmother didn’t wake him up so that he might stay in for the evening and not go out drinking.”
“He never woke up. He died on that couch at the age of 41 from the effects of drinking alcohol. I think he was actually trying to quit cold turkey and died from that. The guilt my grandmother must have carried around with her for not waking up her husband, is unimaginable to me. This was a time when no one talked about PTSD. They didn’t really understand it or have a name for it. All they knew was ‘the war changed him.’ I don’t know what my grandfather saw over there or what demons he brought home from overseas. Never will.”
Growing up having to witness such tragedies and see close family members struggle so much is something that would most likely stay with you forever.
Looking back and seeing himself go down the same path made Mike realize he wanted and needed to see a change in himself.
“Another great grandfather of mine was an alcoholic. He was a moonshiner and went to Leavenworth Prison during prohibition. He was always drunk. I imagine all of the birthdays and holidays being drunk probably ruined for his family. I know I personally blew some holidays for others because I was drunk. The only thing I can do about it now is admit it and move forward without the bottle (alcohol).”
This song dives into the power that addiction can have over someone, but it also looks at the person behind the addiction and where their life took them, eventually leading them down a difficult path.
Mike took the time to think about his grandfather’s life as well as others who may have had a similar story. Instead of focusing only on the bad outcomes, he took a different approach.
“It’s so easy to get mad at someone’s addictions and the toll that addiction takes on a family. But when I wrote this song, I tried to look at the character in the song with some empathy and compassion instead of judgment. I think the world needs more of that. I don’t think a person can see combat and not come home changed. And they need support to carry that trauma and grief, the things they have seen that we have not, and so does their family. So do we all. All the things we try to carry on our own. And so on.”
“If anything, I’d like to draw attention to compassion and encourage us to ask, “WHY.” To help others, we need to ask why people crawl inside of addiction for comfort and as a way to block out the immense psychological pain they feel. Whether it’s warfare or from some other trauma. Asking ‘why’ can lead you to some truth. And then maybe healing can begin.”
“Holiday Blown” is available for listening down below:
Photo Credit: Chrislyn Lawrence