Three Years Sober Today

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Today is my three year sober date.  To be completely honest, the idea that I would be able to go three years without drinking wasn’t something that I believed was possible when I first decided to quit.  So I’m equal parts proud and surprised today.

My life has definitely changed for the better since I made the decision to quit drinking.  I used to feel bored, as if every day was a struggle to find meaningful activities to keep me busy.  It would take me so long to get my work started that I would be up until four or five in the morning every night, which then caused me to wake up late the next day.  I spent so much time looking for inspiration that the search for inspiration became a distraction from actually creating anything.  It’s easy to get your priorities mixed up when you’ve got too much time on your hands.

Now I feel the complete opposite. The renewed sense of purpose I have makes me feel as though there is never enough time in the day to do everything I would like to do. Twenty-four hours just isn’t enough; a thirty-hour day would probably be ideal, but I’d probably still complain about it and and wish it were forty-hours.  I don’t feel like I have to search for inspiration as much anymore.  It’s everywhere. All I have to do is make sure I stand still long enough to see it. Something I was never quite able to do when I was drinking heavily.

My sobriety has taught me that my biggest problem was that I had set goals that weren’t high enough.  The same conservative mentality that prevented me from trying things on stage that I couldn’t do drunk, like playing piano, also prevented me from setting super-ambitious goals. Now I set my goals higher than ever.  I’ve realized that much of my drinking was caused by not confronting my fear of failure.  That fear caused me constant anxiety.  Three years later, I fear not trying much more than failing.

My understanding and appreciation of time has completely changed, but not just as it applies to my career.  I find myself wondering how I can use what I have learned and been through to help others. This appears to be the next step, as I feel more comfort and stability.

I wake up without an alarm clock most of the time because I’m not hungover–I’m excited about what I get to do every day.

Not being able to use alcohol as a scapegoat forces you to take responsibility for your actions. I used to look externally when things went wrong, but now I look internally.  The years I spent drinking heavily left me with quite a few things that I wasn’t proud of, so I have made my rounds apologizing to those that I have hurt.  I thank those who accept my apologies, but have no ill will towards those that don’t. Forgiveness must be earned. Nobody has to accept your apology, or forgive you for what you’ve done.  Sometimes the most they can give you is a forum to express it, and even that isn’t easy.

Sobriety has also allowed me to make changes in my diet.  At the most, I eat meat only once every couple of weeks, and consume a plant-based diet.  I feel ten times better and now I have way more energy to put into the things I love doing.  I try to help my family and friends as well in this regard.

I lost a close family member about eight months ago and it changed me. Although the pain was hard to deal with, one of my first thoughts was that there was no way I could have been the man I needed to be for my family had I been an alcoholic.  I would’ve been drinking a lot and very destructive at that time.  I never thought about it in those terms before; how I need to be 100% there for my family or I can actually become a liability in times like those.  I now seek to be an asset to those around me.   A person they can count on to actually pick up the phone when they call and not be passed out or at the bar all the time trying to escape.

I don’t want this to get to dark because really my situation is not dark.  I feel great about everything and very appreciative.  Numbness has been replaced with feeling, distance has been replaced with intimacy, and escapism has been replaced with a newfound appreciation for the moment that I am living right now.  I read a lot now and found a great deal of inspiration in revisiting African and African-American history last year. Opening up my historical perspective has given me a greater appreciation of my people’s history, who I am, and what I am here to do with this limited time on earth I have been given.

Now I just want to be the best person possible. Somebody that inspires others and can be counted on. I am proud of my journey and sobriety and think that hip-hop needs more people who are unafraid to say it’s ok. It’s ok to not want to drink.  You can be yourself without it.  Sobriety doesn’t make you weak or uncool.  Whether you choose to drink or not is a decision that’s up to each individual – lord knows I’ve put enough time into the bottle that I can’t judge anyone – but it’s important that people know that they can live a happier and more functional life without alcohol.

Word is Blog.

p.s. If any of you have any questions about it, feel free to hit me in the comments section.  I’d be happy to discuss any part of what i have been through.


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  • http://twitter.com/hiphoptino Tino

    I feel your closing statement. I have never drank or smoke so I think that makes me an outsider in hip hop circles. People eventually realize it’s not a ploy, but really who I am and accept it, but there needs to be more acceptance of the sober life style which I think Kendrick shines some light on. It’s a decision not a prerequisite.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeanne.bakker.94 Jeanne Bakker

    Wow, that is said so well, people come across as hard to relate when they get sober sometimes, you do not! I am so happy for you and your creativity, it gets to live without a cage, the old shit is awesome and I can’t wait to see what is to come! This makes me able to look at myself a way I have been trying not to and know it isn’t what I think, I will appreciate myself and “things” once I am able to really have a time where it isn’t regulated by when I can and can’t drink or being hungover. Thank You and congratulations!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000567074969 Hector Guerra

    Thanks Blueprint for sharing. I have a wonderful friend that is now sober 3 years and she has never been happier. Thanks for not letting the negative influence of rap control the truth you are presenting to us.

  • Chopperman

    3 years!! Congrats! I have been cutting back on drinking lately and considering quitting and reading this pushed me to consider it more seriously. I wrote a song about fighting addiction if anyone is interested. It might help. http://soundcloud.com/chopperman/it-has-to-stop
    I just finished writing a follow-up to it. Still need to record and mix it, but it should be up fairly soon.
    Thanks Blueprint! I’ve been a fan since 8 Million Stories and I’m glad to read that you’re feeling better than ever.

  • Megh.

    your openness about your struggles and joys is wonderful! just cause youre sober doesnt mean you have to be a fuddy duddy ;)
    congrats on the three years, cant wait to celebrate the fourth :)
    love&light.

  • http://www.thedigitalarmory.com James Korte

    That’s great, Al. It’s good to hear all of the positive change that has come out of not drinking and eating well. It feels good to feel good ;) I drink pretty casually, 2-3 beers most of the time, at home. Being a parent doesn’t allow for me to go out an blow my money irresponsibly anymore, which is nice. I couldn’t agree more about wanting days to be longer. Again, a nice thing, to be engaged in what you are doing to the point of wanting more time. Good read, man, and again, congrats. Would love to hear some more about what you’re planning or working on in the video department. Would love to build or collaborate with you sometime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.olson3 Andrew Olson

    Good job man. I’ve been sober from meth two years now and actually living instead of just being. its hard sometimes but worth it. Can’t wait till you come back to Minneapolis

  • http://www.facebook.com/TaylorLincoln Taylor Lincoln

    You do indeed spit with an immense amont of power.

  • destiny

    I just wanted to thank you for showing and inspiring the path of sobriety,

    My brother was killed a year ago on friday…

    It’s been to weeks since ive been sober and im in the AA community.

    I have listened to you for a few years now but I truly feel like we can connect on another level.

    Did you cut your friends?

    Make new sober friends?

    Must be hard being an artist.

    I’ve met you twice not that you’d remember but I have always appreciated your energy and your humbleness.

    Thank you

    FOR BEING YOU!

    -DESTINY

  • Patrick A

    Hey my friend! My name is Patrick. We did a few shows together about 8 years back when I was drumming for Atmosphere. I ended up getting booted from the gig because I couldn’t stop acting the fool. Well, it was the best thing to happen for me. I ended up getting sober as a result of it and have been clean for about 7 1/2 years.

    Thank you so much for laying this message out to all your fans. You never know how, where or when someone might just need to hear your experience. The fact that you can share that experience on a bigger platform is a gift. I have no doubt that you are using is wisely. Take care my man….

    PS if you are ever in Asheville NC or are looking for a sober live drummer hit me up…

    Patrick

  • printmatic

    well put man. it’s good that you realized that on your own. much respect

  • printmatic

    thanks for reading!

  • printmatic

    that’s awesome. thanks for reading Hector!

  • printmatic

    thanks for reading and for the comment Megh!

  • printmatic

    yeah we should definitely chop it up. I’ll e-mail you some links to some of the things I’m working on.

  • printmatic

    Thanks for sharing Andrew and stay strong. I’ll be in Minneapolis next weekend, headlining a show at the Triple Rock. if you’re in town hope you can make it out.

  • printmatic

    Hey. There were definitely some people that I had to stop hanging around with as much. When i was drinking a lot i didn’t notice how much negativity they were involved in, but when i got sober it became obvious to me. I had some other friends I really enjoyed, who were more positive, and decided to start hanging out with them. They’ve been great friends to me and much more inspiring to be around.

    I make more real friends now than when i was drinking. Now I just love having conversations with people and what they have to offer intellectually. Before it was about just drinking when I went out, but since i don’t drink I have better conversations now.

    Thanks for the comment

  • printmatic

    Hey Patrick! I remember you man! So good to hear from you. I remember them telling you got kicked out, but I never heard the details of it. So good to hear that you’ve turned that into something positive. Sometimes those kinds of events can be real eye-openers. I definitely had a few things like that happen to me as well. Take care!

  • http://www.facebook.com/hivner1 Corey Hivner

    It’s been real cool to receive these updates through the years. Your ability to be transparent without being cynical is rare and a real blessing. Much appreciated.

  • printmatic

    Thanks for reading Corey

  • destiny

    It means so much that you took the time to respond.

    Hope I get the chance to see you again in cali.

    You truly are inspiring.

    you give me strength and validation that I can stay sober even in this time of despair.

    again, happy birthday and thank you.

    -peace be the journey

  • printmatic

    thanks for reading and for all the years of support!

  • http://twitter.com/dtr45 Tony Caferro

    congrats print… better than ever for sure!

  • Mary Wadsworth Huegel

    Congratulations on your 3 years of sobriety. As a grateful recovering alcoholic and the Mom of a huge fan of yours I cant thank you enough for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration to the younger generation (some older) and a fabulous role model. There is no better way to live life than to live a sober life and you are living proof it can be done! I’m so proud of you!! Micah will be seeing you this weekend in MN and I must admit I’m a bit jealous I’m not there. Keep doing what you’re doing because you will change someones life for the better!! Once again thank you!!

  • Mary Wadsworth Huegel

    Congratulations on your 3 years of sobriety. As a grateful recovering alcoholic and the Mom of a huge fan of yours I have to say thank you for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration to the younger generation (some older) and a fabulous role model. Living life on lifes terms can be difficult at times but you are living proof it can be done. The greatest gift you can give not only to your loved ones but also to yourself is the gift of sobriety. My son Micahs seeing you tonight in MN and I must admit Im a bit jealous Im not there!! Once again congratulations and thank you!!

  • Rodrigo67

    Wish yo the best on you journey, Blueprint!

  • printmatic

    Thanks for the support and kind words Mary!

  • Tito

    We need some t-shirts with the sentence “Blueprint saved my life” :)

  • Johnny SaintTellah

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Kenneth Lynge

    Smart is the new stupid!!

  • Ebisu

    Congrats on three years or about 3 1/2 now! I’d love to chat with you about performing at an upcoming conference for sober young people!

  • Dickstone

    Congrats on your three years. Aug 15th 2014 will be my 3rd year. I agree with your experience, it somewhat mirrors mine. I like that you set your goals high. I do the same. May we both prosper abundantly in the new year with our new power. Happy Holidays.

  • Brendon Bosch

    Wow i`m amazing to see how people`s lives can change when you make major decisions. I made some bad choices myself years ago but i rectified them by stopping my shit and eliminating people in my life who just instigated shit. So i kinda feel where your coming from

    Also not related to your blog but i`m wishing someday you and Illogic can make it to Cape Town South Africa. We only get exposed to those artists you mention in your music who do what the industry wants to make money and YOU guys will be a refreshing change to the same old same old we have hear and see everyday.

    Anyway HUGE RESPECT to you for doing your thing and being a responsible man

  • Beau Elkington

    Thank you. You’re an inspiration for many reasons. I’ve been a fan for many years. Unlike other artists, you have the ability to maintain true humility. This, in my opinion, is what makes you great. Perhaps I’ll see you around the faceless circles.

  • jimma

    I’ve had events, past and present, that have made me come to see I do have problems/dependency issues with alcohol. You inspire me to be a better and more productive musician; and a better person as well. My worst/hardest struggle is taking that first step…and continuing.
    How did you become/decide to be sober and what advice could I pick you brain for? Thank you.