I never thought I’d be happy to write those two little words. On Tour. After a decade of abandoning questionable one-nighters in favour of writing for other people from the comfort of my home office, I am gigging once again. Not with any voracity, but I am putting mouth to microphone in hope of inspiring others.
The topic is “Fun in Sobriety” A.K.A. life after drinking and drugging. I get to do a couple of my favourite things – preach and make people laugh. One without the other seems insincere. When I say preach, what I mean is … well, preach, I suppose. Offer up my story as a cautionary tale. Bear witness to the joys of being clear-headed.
Yes, I know the idea of “story” is being appropriated left and right. You can’t watch an advertisement without someone sharing their “story” about how a product or service changed their life. “Narrative” is the buzzword du jour in communication circles.
But testifying is as old as humanity itself. I swear; it’s true. There – I just testified. If my addiction story helps just one person examine their own habits and consider a new way of life, then I have done my job. I have told my story.
And the more I tell my story, the more I must stick to my story.
Did my first gig in Sudbury for Health and Safety Ontario. I was the lunchtime keynote speaker. I figured a lunchtime crowd might nod off, but they were very receptive. These folk laughed and applauded and fell silent during emotional moments. This wasn’t Yuk Yuks – I didn’t have to struggle to be heard. Afterward a few people thanked me for my inspiring message. Last year’s speaker was Dennis Hull. Apparently, I wasn’t nearly as dirty as he was. Or as bald.
What a privilege. What an honour to speak to these hardworking, decent, caring people. Angele, the event organizer, even took me on a tour of the countryside the next day. That’s something I miss sitting at a computer – the thrill of meeting people where they are, of seeing new places and immersing myself in that life, if only for a day or two.
I have a few more gigs coming up. Hopefully they keep coming -- in moderation, of course.