No longer willing to live in denial, Hal Putnam, a professional steel guitar player living in Nashville, Tennessee, says that he is determined to face his (possible) issues with alcohol.
“There have been a few red flags,” said Hal, noting that every one of his serious – and plenty of not-so-serious – relationships had been launched by copious amounts of alcohol, followed immediately thereafter by sex. “There may be a pattern there.”
And romantic relationships aren’t the only area to have been affected by his alcohol use, said Hal. “I’ve never blown off a gig because I was drunk, but I’ve certainly missed auditions. And there are plenty of times I’ve performed only at bare minimum capacity. I’ve been commercially successful, but I can’t say honestly say I’ve pushed myself to achieve all I can as a musician.”
What made Hal finally decide to address the question of whether he might have an issue with alcohol, however, was when, one Tuesday afternoon, he ran into a friend downtown and agreed to go for “a quick drink” – only to wind up passed out on a sidewalk hours later. And while that, in itself, wouldn’t have been too terrible, Hal realized the next day that, in his drunken haze, he’d completely lost track of the special event to which he’d been invited months earlier: he’d missed the induction of his longtime mentor and friend, Bucky Ray, into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“I still feel kind of bad about that one,” said Hal. “How do you make up for forgetting something like that?”
Given all of the warning signs, Hal has resolved to take a stern, unflinching look at the question of whether his drinking might be somewhat in excess. "I'm going to examine this really closely," he said. "If nothing else, it might be smart for me to cut back a little. At least for now."
At the same time, Hal is committed to not making any rash decisions with regard to alcohol. "We'll see how it goes."