Story of recovery

TUFR ambassador, Alan Darby, shares his journey of recovery and how music helped him along the way.

May 1, 2020

After a life of being in the music business, indulging in excessive drinking and drug taking, I was finally brought to my knees by alcohol, at the age of 39 in 1991 after a fairly excessive world tour.

I found a 12 step recovery programme which saved my sanity and pretty much my life.

When I initially got sober I had stopped playing guitar, thinking I would never play again;- a rock bottom spiritually, physically and mentally.

I first met Eric Clapton around this time. He encouraged me to play again and he generously invited me to play with him on New Year’s Eve, for several years and I in fact, ended up touring the US and Europe with him in 1998.

In 2015 I was diagnosed with a serious illness, but again my 12 step programme, and the people in it, kept me spiritually on a positive path. However playing guitar was looking problematical again. This time mainly physically due to the illness.

Alan Darby playing at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2019

Eric, having already established the Crossroads rehabilitation centre in Antiqua had also created Crossroads Guitar Festival, the proceeds going to help subsidise the centre. featuring the cream of mainly blues based guitarists from around the world. He again kindly invited me to play with him in the September 2019 Dallas Crossroads Festival. It gave me a focus to keep playing throughout the year leading up to it.

It was there that I met Melia and became aware of her starting Turn Up For Recovery.

She struck me as a very warm sincere person.

In January 2020, I was asked to play at The Half Moon in London for TUFR. Of course I immediately accepted, and when Melia invited me to be an ambassador for TUFR, I accepted straight away again.

Turn Up For Recovery at the Half Moon, Putney

Having benefited from everything that recovery has given me, I hope to be able to give back a little of the help that I was given.

While being ill I have inevitably spent much time on my own, reflecting on my life, and how blessed I have been;- all due to my programme and the people in it. Without it, I would most likely be full of fear, self pity, and would, of course, be drinking.

TUFR is a fantastic cause and I urge all who are aware of it to try, if able, to do a little to help, and spread the word.

Alan Darby