December 8, 2015
I’m pulling an older story today that makes me think about what the Bee Gees really mean to millions of fans. I hope you enjoy it and find it uplifting and inspiring, especially at this time of year.
I was a pothead in high school, dabbled in a variety of drugs in college. You name it; I tried it. During the Beatles psychedelic era, it was the cool thing to do. My older brother went to Woodstock, and he had a huge influence on me. We partied hard, but when I turned 24, I settled down somewhat and stuck to alcohol. The problem was that I stuck to it so hard that it ruled my life for the next ten years. Then I met THE woman, Mary Beth, and for some insane reason she fell in love with me and after awhile, we got serious. My drinking bothered her, so I cut back; but after awhile, I was back into it pretty heavy.
Things came to a head one weekend in December right before Christmas when I got trashed and drove the car into a tree in my front yard while I was trying to drive out to go buy some more booze. My girl gave me an ultimatum, and I pulled back again. I didn’t believe I had a problem. I thought that she was becoming a bitch, but I put up with her because I really loved her. We got married in 1990, but we fought all the time for the next two years because I was mostly out drinking with my friends and ignoring her. I have no idea why she put up with me. She was a HUGE Bee Gees fan her whole life, and I started listening to their old music with her because I had no choice. I never did admit how much I loved everything these guys did. She was hot for Maurice,(oddly enough the “alkie” like me). She thought he walked on water—said he didn’t get to stand out like Robin and Barry, and why not? She would always say that he was AMAZING. At this point, my drinking was so bad that I was having blackouts. I was sneaking booze behind her back, taking chances that I knew would drive her away. The light bulb came on the night she had me sit and watch the interview Maurice did with Lynn Redgrave. I still don’t know how she got her hands on it; but as I watched him talk, I felt like he was inside of my skin. He faced the demons. I pretended they didn’t exist. If someone like a Bee Gee could be as bad off as I was—even worse—and he had done what I didn’t have the guts to do, what did that make me? I rationalized with myself and was still a coward. Denial was my best friend, along with the booze. It took me awhile before I went into rehab, but Maurice Gibb’s words were ringing in my ears. On Christmas Eve, I told Mary Beth that I was contacting the rehab facility in Albany that my counselor buddy told me about. He ran a group for court-mandated DWI offenders, and he knew every facility in the Northeast. He promised to help me. It was the best Christmas of my life because I finally had made the decision to be brave, which terrified me and excited me at the same time. I had ruined so many Christmas celebrations in the past. I finally was going to make things right. I haven’t looked back but continue to recover. It’s a tough road some days, but Maurice Gibb was and is my driving force to recovery. When Maurice died, I completely lost it. I sat down and cried like a baby all day. I still get emotional about him, but I know he is watching and I feel his presence when I go to AA. No doubt he is there with me. Mo, you will live forever in the hearts and minds of all of us who share your story. You are truly the most honorable of men, and that is my Bee Gees story.