07/30/2021 Bring your alibis

The Classic West Concert–Dodger Stadium, July 15 & 16, 2017

Whenever I need to escape, I usually resort to listening to music at a very loud volume. Last night, it was The Eagles’ Hotel California. There’s so much symbolism wrapped up in that song.

Last night, I needed music therapy and started with this song. I relentlessly repeated it several times (thank you, Alexa!) trying to overwrite the current tape that was screeching through my brain.

Predictably, one line reverberated through my mind like the clanging echoes in a bell tower.

“You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”.

I’m not going to claim to know what Felder, Henley, and Frey were thinking or trying to convey when they wrote the song. But I can guarantee you, anyone who has ever heard it has a different interpretation, and all of them would be right. In all honesty, the meaning, for me, has changed over the years. The song is that timeless. Relevant.

That one line brings a tsunami of memories centered around a mere 10 months of my life in 2007. Telling the entire story would no doubt bore you, so I will simply say: Carol, my dear sober sister, you are missed and I cannot hear those words without thinking of you and our journey.

As I sat and listened more, the words “and still those voices are calling from far away” shook me like they never have before. So much has changed for me since I got sober. And at times I feel like nothing has changed.

Every person in recovery has some demon, choice, or person they are trying to outrun; I am no different. The longer I trudge this road (4980 days today, but who’s counting?), the more I realize the beasts of the past continue to nip at my heels. Like a rabid dog I can never escape. So I have learned to make peace with them.

I remember. I examine. I relive. And I share. Forgetting, camouflaging, and outrunning aren’t options.

I can check out anytime I’d like. I’m just one drink away from Hotel California.

Balcony view tonight

Hotel California by The Eagles

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis.

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said

“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!”

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