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Michael McDonald Comes Clean with What a Fool Believes

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald Comes Clean with What a Fool Believes

Michael McDonald is opening up about the day that changed his life forever. In McDonald’s new memoir What a Fool Believes (Dey Street Books/HarperCollins), co-written with Paul Reiser, the Doobie Brothers member reveals his dark journey with addiction — and eventually sobriety. In one harrowing passage from the book, McDonald was stopped from entering a family counseling session for his wife’s drug and alcohol recovery and he was faced with an important decision.

“I was being shown the door and I looked over at the nurse’s station. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘What are you going to do? You can’t show up here like this. What’s your next move?’

“I hated that question at that time in my life,” he tells People.”I just didn’t want anybody asking me what I was going to do. But in that moment, I felt myself surrender, and I just said, ‘I don’t know.'”

It was the hardest equivocation of his life.

See, in the years prior to that fateful day, McDonald’s alcohol and cocaine habit worsened until he was under the influence most of the day. In fact, it got so bad that he was put on probation for one year after the apartment of his girlfriend at the time was raided by cops and they found drugs.

The AA Way

Fortunately, he was instructed to attend AA meetings and get a sponsor. Unfortunately, it didn’t take.

As McDonald was being shown the door at the family counseling session, he ran into that same sponsor — whom he hadn’t seen in 15 years.

“He said, ‘What are you doing here?’ I said, ‘Well, I think I’m being thrown out,'” McDonald recalls. “And I remember in my head, I heard a voice in that moment. It was not my own — and I’m not one of those people. So this was very strange to me. But I heard a distinct voice in my head say, ‘The jig is up.’ And I remember thinking, first of all, who in the hell says the jig is up? I’ve never used that phrase in my life. It’s like, what am I a ’40s detective or something?”

He continues, “And after I got over that, I suddenly realized this is that moment that I have to make a decision. The bus is leaving one more time, and I might not be here when it comes back. And I had so much to lose in that moment.”

The rest was history. McDonald managed to stay sober for the rest of the night, “which was unusual for me” and he went back to AA meetings the following day.

“I knew something had shifted in me. I just had one of those moments of clarity that my biggest fear today is that if I ever forget where I am or where I came from, enough to pick up that next drink, I may never get back.And I may never have that moment again,” he says.

Now, McDonald has been sober for 27 years and one thing remains constant: “As long as I don’t pick up the next drink, I’m going to be OK.”

“I’ve learned that my greatest strengths going off into the future is remembering my past and remembering it vividly and not getting amnesia, not thinking that I’ve got this because I never will have this,” he says.

“It’s really a one day at a time thing for me, and I have to make that decision every day in a renewed effort to just live this day out in the best way I can,” McDonald concludes. “The beauty of that is that all of a sudden you turn around one day and it seems like a blink of an eye and you’re looking at 30 years behind you of one day at a time, and that’s life too.”

Thanking Michael McDonald

Healing Properties wishes to congratulate — and thank! — Michael McDonald, first for showing us how sobriety gets done and second for so smoothly handling his sobriety. Like his songs, McDonald’s effortlessness is at once inspiring and contagious. And we’re all better off for his efforts.

Remember, if you’re suffering from substance abuse issues, please give us a ring. We’ve been helping men get sober here in Delray Beach since 2002; we’d be honored to help you too. No foolin.’

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