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November 18, 2018

Better Living Through Music and Compassion for Ourselves.

By Megan Morrison

We often find ourselves rushing through the day, trying to accomplish the hundreds of things on our to-do lists and feeling ‘less than’ if we don’t. We judge ourselves and worry about how others may perceive us. This was the story of my life, as it is for many of us, driven by anxiety and fear. In my case as a musician, it was easy to feel like I was never good enough. I had a constant fear of not living up to being the person of my expectations. This is not to say we shouldn’t strive to accomplish great things but rather that we just need to have a little more patience and compassion for ourselves.

Even as a child, I struggled with anxiety. For most of my life, I put so much pressure on myself to be this perfect person I had designed in my head. I started drinking at a young age, unknowingly prescribing myself alcohol to deal with my anxiety and the pressures of life. This went on for years until it was clear that I was an alcoholic. I couldn’t deal with life without it.

I continued living as an alcoholic throughout all of my twenties. The music I was writing was dark and angry. It painted a sad picture of my life. I felt ugly on the inside and out. The more time that went by, the more I felt like I was living inside an empty shell of myself. I was just going through the motions to get by everyday, not truly living my life.

My father passed away in 2010 from liver cirrhosis due to alcoholism. I was following in his footsteps and I felt helpless. I was angry at myself, angry at the world, and angry with God. I was a good person. Why was this happening to me? I tried to control my drinking but it only got worse. I found myself lying to loved ones and doing anything necessary to get my next drink.

The day my father died I sat on the floor of my apartment and gulped red wine out of the bottle, listening to Led Zeppelin (his favorite) and promising myself that I was going to make a change. I didn’t know at that point that it was beyond my control.

The last year of my drinking career was the worst. I ended up sick in the hospital numerous times because my liver was starting to fail and I still couldn’t stop drinking. That’s when I knew I needed to seek professional help. After spending over a month at a treatment center, I came back out into the world with a new outlook on life.

I started to use my music as a recovery tool. I was so grateful to have been able to stop drinking and to have gained this new outlook on life that I wanted to spread my message to others. No longer afraid of what people thought about me or my music, I was ready to put myself out there.

My songs now are about my story and my strength, along with the hope that I’m spreading to others, addicts or not. I have freedom today from fear and anxiety and I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.

Going through a twelve-step program not only relieved me of my obsession to drink, but it gave me the tools to live a happier, healthier life. These tools are something that we can all benefit from. When we apply a daily dose of meditation and mindful thinking we can jump over any hurdle. Sometimes we forget to do the simplest things that are necessary for our well being.

Have we stopped to take some deep breaths? Have we eaten enough? Are we getting enough sleep? Have we taken a moment to feel grateful for the good things in our lives? We tend to narrow in and focus on the negative things in our lives that cause us stress and anxiety. Instead, we should be focusing on the positive things no matter how small they may be. We can feel grateful for the sun on a warm day, or the smell of the rain on a dark day. Life isn’t always perfect, and can be far from it, but it’s what we make of the situations we are dealt. Life’s too short to think of what we’ve lost and where we went wrong. When we focus on the now and what we can do in this moment to make our lives better, we can truly live a happy, peaceful existence.

Megan’s full story can be found in the book Keep Going by Jennifer Potter, available now on

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