Friday, November 15, 2013

FYI: "The Bitch is Back"

Chris Newcomb, M. Div.

"I'm a bitch, I'm a bitch, Oh, the bitch is back, stone cold sober as a matter of fact"
"The Bitch is Back" by Elton John/Bernie Taupin

Everyone likes surprises.  I am no exception to this rule however I love to give surprises even more.  A few months ago my mother and I went to see Paul McCartney in Washington, D.C.  Over the course of the evening, we talked about our favorite artists.  In passing, she mentioned that she loved Elton John and wished she could've seen him live.  I filed that comment away in my head until 2 months later when I was able to obtain 2 tickets to see Mr. John himself in Washington, D.C.!

Since I like surprises, I asked her to clear her calendar for that evening.  I found a book of Elton John pictures and I bought it and taped the ticket into the front cover.  I arrived at her house and casually showed her the book.  I went off to change clothes.  I expected at any second to hear a scream but it didn't come.  I walked back in and she was looking in the middle of the book.  She hadn't found the ticket.  I redirected her to the front.  She saw the ticket and read it.  She misunderstood what it was and thought it was a copy of an old Elton John concert ticket.  I put my finger by the date.  In about 10 seconds, her mood changed.  She screamed and ran over and hugged me.  Success!  

We thoroughly enjoyed watching Elton and his band play out the soundtrack to our lives last night.  The concert was amazing.  I saw him before in 1994 with Billy Joel.  Last night, it was like seeing him all over again for the first time.  And we were in the nosebleed section…literally.  Elton was a midget at the other end of the stadium (see below)!

At one point during the concert, Elton started singing his hit cheekily entitled "The Bitch is Back".  As I bobbed my head to the tune, I was struck by the words he was singing.  It's no secret that Elton abused cocaine and alcohol throughout the years of his career.  I found the one line very interesting as he sang, "stone cold sober as a matter of fact."  The reality is that Elton was stone cold sober and he's been celebrating that fact for the past 23 years.  He has been vocal about his intimate knowledge of his fate had he continued abusing substances: death.  

The song originated from a supposed interaction between Elton and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin's wife.  Elton was complaining during the conversation and supposedly Taupin's wife responded saying, "uh-oh, the bitch is back".  They decided to write a song about it.  It become a hit and the rest is history.  

I think it noteworthy to look at the secondary definition of the word 'bitch'.  It means, "a difficult or unpleasant situation or thing".  From a recovery perspective, isn't that how most addicts and alcoholics felt from day-to-day about life.  Every thing was difficult.  Every one was difficult.  Drama ensued.  Nothing was pleasant.  Eventually, not even using drugs and/or alcohol was pleasant.  It became a drag.  It became unpleasant.  For most addicts and alcoholics, doing drugs or alcohol is literally, as the definition states, a 'bitch', so to speak.  

That's why I enjoyed the song all the more.  Elton was singing this tongue-in-cheek song about his ability to whine and complain about life yet he was also belting out the truth that he was/is stone cold sober.  Life can throw things at Mr. John but the reality is the bitch is back.  I hope he stays around.  I love his music!

The concert was a gift in many ways.  Seeing my mom's face in excitement over the surprise was priceless.  Getting to see Elton John again was awesome.  And, now, as a substance abuse recovery coach, listening to his music with the experience and understanding of addiction work, I can sing along with Elton and agree…"yeah, the bitch is back and he's stone cold sober as a matter of fact!"  I hope you are too!

At The Coleman Institute, we care deeply about helping people get clean and stay clean from drugs and alcohol.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox off of alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here for you!

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