He was a recording artist who had been divorced for 7 years and lived in a 2 bedroom apartment from where his ex wife and 2 children lived. He was on a pension due to low grade bipolar. The only medication he required was Lithium and Valpro which are mood stabilisers. He had been stable for about 5 years.
His ex wife was a shift worker and his children would stay with him when she was at work. When they weren’t there, despite his medication, he drank….a lot. 2 bottles of vodka a day. He could drink then not drink like flicking a switch. He never mixed alcohol and recording.
He missed his ex wife but as time progressed, the way he missed her changed. He didn’t cry. Never did. He reached a stage where he would have moments of missing her but wouldn’t live with her again. Very much a case of mixed emotions. His heavy heart would soon lift.
One morning whilst drinking he found an old CD. It included “Without You” by Harry Nilsson. His musical ear window and he broke down. He went on and put the song on ‘repeat’ and began analysing it as a musician. He then considered recording it. He had never done a cover but this song blew him away. It was in his head all night and even through the night.
By 2pm the next day and more drinking, he began recording the song. Everything had to be perfect, right down to the twin vocals sprinkled throughout the song. He recorded tracks in his usual order. Luckily he lived in an isolated area as he didn’t start the vocals until midnight. He finished at 4am, exhausted.
When he awoke he was actually reluctant about how the difficult vocals would sound. He was blown away by what he heard. It was even better than what he had in his mind. he had a few more drinks and spent the next 6 hours mixing the track. When he was satisfied with it he transferred it to his computer and converted it to mp3. He played it through his stereo and went to bed with his version in his head.
When he woke the next morning he went straight to the stereo and put his version of the song on. He noticed that it no longer made him cry. He had become too close to the song on a technical level. He then decided to email it as an mp3 to a dozen friends. By the end of the day every single friend had replied to him, raving about the song.
Now that he play the song whenever he wanted, particularly when he was drinking, without crying he played it relentlessly.
Several months later he and several friends went out to a restaurant. His friends noticed that he had been drinking. Not a lot but it was noticeable to them at least. Approximately half an hour passed when he heard the opening piano notes to “Without You.” He got up and almost sprinted to the door. A friend followed him. He had found an alleyway and was hunched over, vomiting profusely, holding his false teeth in his right hand with tears streaming directly from his eyes to the ground.
His friend put his hand on back. “I have to go hoe. I can’t go back in there like this.” He was shaking profusely and sweating heavily. His friend ordered him a taxi. He dropped into a bottle shop and bought a bottle of vodka. On arriving home he began swigging the vodka and relaxing. He put on his version of the song. Then he got up, grabbed the CD and snapped it in half before throwing it in the bin. He went on to delete the song from his computer.
He has not had a drink since.
As the years passed, every now and again he would stumble across the song on Youtube…..and promptly bypass. Then he decided to listen to it….as a musician. He came to realise what a masterpiece the song was, sober. He realised that every aspect of it was perfect. His Psychiatrist told him that he was seeking the same perfection in his life and alcohol made him feel this way. They were right. It all made sense.
From thhat moment on, whenever he had a sad moment regarding his ex wife, he would put the song on Youtube and have a cigarette. By the time the song and cigarette were finished so was his sadness.