March 27, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

We all have heroes, sung and unsung. Today, I’d like to tell you about one of my strangest personal recovery heroes, describe what he’s doing tomorrow night and invite you to be part of it.

I am a 61-year-old man in long-term recovery from both opiates and alcohol. Think of it—61-years-old! When I was shooting up, we actually used glass syringes, the same kind used back in the 1600’s. Artisanal addicts we were, able to trace our history back to opium dens and Civil War veterans strung out on morphine. In fact, before I ever shot heroin, I spent a long time smoking opium to come down from meth runs. But I digress. Before even beginning.

Given my history, you might think my  heroes would exclusively be Ebby Thatcher, a pre-founder of AA, or Charles Anderson, one of the first Washingtonians. but you would be wrong. My current recovery hero is a bizarre man in his 30’s with a taste for disturbing/disgusting art, filthy language and multi-colored Mohawks. Andy Ryan (aka Ragety Andy aka the Big Andizzle aka whatever nonsense springs to his mind next) represents my ideal of what recovery can look like. Andy is as straight-edge as they come in his recovery but as f-ed up as can be in his art and life.

Andy is also the artist behind my favorite album of 2019—“Better Days” by Ragety Andy. A weird combination of Michelle Shocked, Lou Reed, Billy Bragg and John Prine, Ragety Andy sings his heart out, having used his mind to craft funny, sensitive and insightful lyrics. Really. It’s available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and whatever torrent service your currently stealing with. Listen to it. Whatever Andy does he does with passion, although often without focus or the stick-to-the-damned-script mentality that makes it easy to work with an artist.

Andy Ryan and Duke Mulberry are the visionaries behind “Sicker than Most,” the long-running music show at Hope. Sicker than Most presents a stage for people in recovery to play and sing music, perform standup, read poetry or juggle goldfish. All it takes is showing up and signing up. While shows are typically from 7:30ish to 10:30ish the third Saturday of each month, last week’s show was cancelled due to Hope being closed and the end of the world. This Saturday, March 28, Andy and Duke present a first in tasteless entertainment and gratuitous swearing: “Sicker than Most” online.

While there is a Zoom invitation for YOU at the bottom of this page, details on the show itself are still sketchy—have I mentioned Andy is notoriously opposed to any kind of normal planning or foresight?—please watch Hope’s Facebook page for more details on how to log in, become offended, log off in disgust, then log back on because what else is there to do on a Saturday night? The show will begin at 7:30ish, and Andy claims to have talent from all over the western world.

Oh, yes, he’s even got a submission from a 61-year-old man in long-term recovery performing an original song. Not good. Not even really listenable. But original and called “Pus Theory.”

Do be there. Be prepared to sing. Or dance. Or just clap.

At Sicker than Most, as in all of life,

You matter. I matter. We matter.


Join us!
Sicker than Most
Time: Mar 28, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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