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Rock 4 Recovery with Edwin McCain this Friday

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 2:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Alcoholism and drug use. You think it will never hit you -- or your family. But if and when it does, there are recovery resources available.

In fact, a recording legacy from South Carolina is returning to our state to help make those resources more available.

For Edwin McCain, it’s personal. The singer-songwriter Edwin McCain has had several top-40 hits with five of his albums reaching the Billboard 200.

What fans of the pop artist may not have read between the lines of his hugely popular love songs, was the inner battle he faced -- an addiction to alcohol and drugs -- something that started as a teenager.

“I just kind of carried that on into my 20′s, and it’s an interesting phenomenon when you start to reprogram your mid-brain to require a substance or a behavior,” said McCain. “And by the time I tried to modify my behavior, I realized I couldn’t.”

Edwin will be giving a concert this Friday to benefit the foundation group of LRADAC -- the Lexington/Richland Alcohol Drug Abuse Council -- a group providing support for those taking steps toward recovery.

He and I recently met to talk about how substance use and misuse can affect anyone.

“I had this misunderstanding that alcoholics are homeless living under the bridges,” he said. “And there are plenty of high-earning CEOs and people who have great jobs and do very well that are full-blown alcoholics. And I was one of those.”

Edwin had become masterful at hiding it from his audiences.

“I had a rule that I didn’t drink before shows. So I was effective as a musician. But I was a disaster as a human being. But then came the chance to adopt his first son and he wanted to - as he put it - tone it down. But he realized he just could not overcome his addictions on his own. “Now I’m a man trying to be a father. And that’s not okay.”

He checked into Talbott Recovery Center in Atlanta. Through intense comprehensive therapy, Edwin developed the tools needed to begin his recovery.

Edwin has now been sober for 14 years. Until he was strong enough, Edwin had safety measures in place. After a show, he would not hang around the bar. He would finish the show and leave.

He says full recovery is possible for anyone. “I went to treatment with pharmacists who were going to go back to their jobs and regularly count out thousands of their drug of choice. It’s not really so much about the substance. It’s really about understanding the pathways of your behavior.”

His advice to those who ‘think’ they may have an addiction:

“If you’ve ever said I’m going to stop drinking for 30 days, or if you stop drinking during Lent, or you say ‘I’m only going to drink beer’, that’s called an attempt to control. And if you are doing that, you’ve got a problem.”

And his advice to family members, friends, and co-workers of the addict?

“It takes an incredible amount of patience and compassion to deal with someone. It also takes boundaries. I’ve seen people love their addict to death, continuing to let them get away with behaviors that are unacceptable.”

Edwin takes seriously the kind of example he wants to be to others who are in recovery.

“You can either be a living example or you can be a dead example and recovery helps me stay as a LIVING example.”

Edwin McCain will headline the Rock 4 Recovery concert this Friday, September 24. The alcohol-free event begins at 6:30 at the Icehouse Amphitheater at 107 West Main Street in Lexington. Tickets are $25.

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