Ball and Chain

The band Social Distortion was part of my addiction, coming home late at night an watching Another State of Mind on Night Flight. Mike Ness was kind of a punk hero and the documentary showed him drunk and defending his drinking.

Social Distortion’s self titled album was released in 1990, the same year I got sober. It was full of songs about addiction and recovery. Mike Ness had gotten sober too!

It may sound silly, but it was a big deal. I was 19, in a college town, and there were relatively few young people in the local recovering community. I feared the rest of my life would be filled with boredom and the conviction that my addiction and recovery left me forever socially defective. Mike Ness was punk and sober. He made the culture of recovery cool and attractive. I had plenty of “addiction music” over the years, this was my first recovery music.

Well, it’s been ten years and a thousand tears
And look at the mess I’m in
A broken nose and a broken heart
An empty bottle of gin

Well, I sit and I pray
In my broken down Chevrolet
While I’m singin’ to myself
There’s got to be another way

Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
Well, I’m lonely and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain

Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away, this ball and chain

Well, I’ve searched and I searched
To find a perfect life
A brand new car and a brand new suit
I even got me a little wife

But wherever I have gone
I was sure to find myself there
You can run all your life
But not go anywhere

Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
Well, I’m sick and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain

Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away, take away this ball and chain

Well, I’ll pass the bar on the way
To my dingy hotel room
I spent all my money
I’ve been drinkin’ since a half past noon

Well, I’ll wake there in the mornin’
Or maybe in the county jail
Times are hard gettin’ harder
I’m born to lose and destined to fail

Take away, take away
Take away this ball and chain
well, I’m lonely and I’m tired
And I can’t take any more pain

Take away, take away
Never to return again
Take away, take away
Take away, take away this ball and chain

4 Comments

Filed under Songs of addiction and recovery

4 responses to “Ball and Chain

  1. Cj

    Your breaking mike ness’s anonymity.

  2. I don’t think so.

    I identified him as being in recovery, not in any 12 step program. I don’t even know whether he’s in any 12 step program. He identifies himself as a person in recovery in interviews and in his music.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. I like Social D a lot. For me, the artist I listened to while using and then found out got sober about the same time I did was Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. He did, unfortunately, did break the traditions in breaking his anonymity, but to be honest, what he did gave me a lot of hope and joy at a time that I needed it. Currently, my favorite sober artist is Mike Doughty.

  4. Thanks. I listened to NIN 20 years ago, but not really since. I’ll have to check out his more recent stuff.