I started playing guitar in the late '70's when I was 13, after having played trombone for the previous four years. I started on my dad's cheap nylon-string acoustic, playing classical guitar and reading sheet music. A year or so later I was growing my hair and listening to rock music, and I got my first electric guitar and built an amplifier out of an old tube-based record player. I had found my musical calling, and this began a decade of playing heavy metal lead guitar in a variety of local bands, while growing my hair really long. I actually made money once, but otherwise never made it out of garages and basements, playing occasional gigs at parties, events and clubs. I was stoned on weed most of the time, but it was all fun. Fortunately for me I stayed in school and chose something else as a career path.
Life got more complicated in my mid-20's, and I didn't have time to play much anymore except occasionally picking up my 12-string acoustic. There was a period in the mid '90's when I was playing again, even doing a couple gigs playing Irish music and making 4-track tape recordings - all minus the weed - but life got busy again and I put it down. By 2000 or so, I didn't even play occasionally, and it was 15 years before I picked it up again.
Copyright, 2016, JeffK
This past Fall, on a random whim I bought a cheap mandolin at a Highland Games festival and took it home. That led to buying a better mandolin that was much more playable, then getting back into my electric and acoustic guitars and playing nearly every day, and then picking up a really nice harp guitar that sounds awesome. I don't know how to play harp guitar, yet - the extra bass strings are really positioned well only for a thumb stroke, but I haven't used my thumb to play a guitar since I got that first electric and switched to flatpicking - but I'll figure it out in time.
What strikes me now, as I find myself getting more and more into playing again, is how *much* more rewarding this is than my hobby of past years, getting drunk. It also strikes me how much more seriously I'm approaching playing than I did as a stoned teenager, and how quickly I'm getting good and in some ways surpassing the abilities I had when I was much younger and playing all the time.
Sobriety has a great many rewards, and the one I'm appreciating right now is the time, motivation, focus, and awareness to re-learn how to play music. This was a great passion of mine, many years ago, and it has become one again.