Ear Worm

You know when you hear something and the melody goes round and round your head, you just can’t stop hearing it? It has the most perfect descriptive name “ear worm” – sounds ugly, because it can be REALLY annoying!

My father was a pianist. A very talented musician with perfect pitch and the ability to play anything on the piano, often if you hummed one line of a melody he could pick it up, add the bass notes and recreate the original song. Sadly I didn’t inherit any part of this gift, except perhaps a small ability to hear when things are out of tune .. ! As a classical musician my father had a deep intolerance for the noise he perceived “pop” music to be, and my early purchases of David Bowie and Pink Floyd vinyl had to be played on the family record player only when he was out. Perhaps due to this influence I retained a preference for music that has a pleasing (to me) melody, and have never really enjoyed “noisy” rock or punk music. As a young woman, in the late 70’s and 80’s I fell in love with ABBA and the melodious catchy pop tunes have been part of the backdrop to my life ever since. I have dragged the kids to Bjorn Again (a great tribute band) where they gawped and exclaimed in astonishment that I knew ALL the words to EVERY song, and the ABBA tribute museum in Stockholm is on my bucket list.

I seriously wish I could play the piano, but I just can’t make my hands act independently of one another – and I have tried … ! When son#3 expressed a wish to play piano, and within a week could make his left and right hands do different things, over the keyboard, at the same time, I felt a stab of admiration, envy and awe!

There is a point to this I promise.

Yesterday, Benny Andersson, the composer, producer, keyboardist and vocalist behind the ABBA songs released a piano album. This man is a musical genius, and I have huge respect for his gift. In listening to the promo tracks for his new album, I heard his new version of “Thank you for the music”, which has become the eponymous ear ๐Ÿ›… I bought the album, it all brilliant, but this track is going round and round my head,just because of an addition of an extra couple of notes to the original version…

Benny has been teetotal since 2001 because he recognised that alcohol was “causing problems” and that he “might lose everything” if he didn’t stop.

I didn’t know this till yesterday. It feels very important to me.

I have been, not struggling exactly, but internally mulling over the decision to be dry. Please don’t all groan at once. It’s not the day to day sobriety that’s a problem now, I honestly don’t think about drinking day to day,I have wine in the house for visitors, it doesn’t bother me people drinking, I never think that I might open it … no it’s not the day to day that’s the problem; it’s the loss of my identity that I’m wrestling with.

I have gained a lot from being sober, most notably peace of mind that nothing awful is going to happen, but I have also lost a lot. I probably thought everything would be perfect once I got to this point, 568 days complete, for anyone who’s interested. Of course it’s not and I’m having difficulty in holding together the gains and the losses: I mean holding In tension the positive and negative outcomes of the decision not to drink….

Benny got sober in 2001. I think he was 54 at that time. He didn’t discuss it in public until 2011 (and I can find no reference in press reports before this that even allude to him having an alcohol or drug problem) I need to think about what this means to me: beyond the obvious, that a man who had enjoyed enormous success, huge wealth and creative genius was still unable to moderate. Something about having been able to achieve that, despite drinking, but still choosing to stop – as a “high functioning alcoholic” my quotes. That having been a drinker doesn’t negate what he achieved, doesn’t make it, or him, worthless.

I know there is something in this for me. A message / point. If I’m being fanciful I could think I was meant to know this at this particular time … for now I have indulged the ear worm, bought the album and played the track many times, singing along whilst there is no one here but the dogs – who at least don’t howl when I sing ๐ŸŽถ!


  1. My sister fell in love with the movie, “Muriel’s Wedding,” and watched it over and over again. And now the song “Waterloo” will be in my head all morning. ; )
    I love this: “That having been a drinker doesnโ€™t negate what he achieved, doesnโ€™t make it, or him, worthless.” And I think choosing not to drink doesn’t have to define the rest of your life, like your some kind of penitent, always having to relive your worst moments. So sobriety is more like choosing life to me than it is about giving up something. I try to think of it as finally having power over my own mental health and wellbeing. If I choose to drink again, odds are I will lose that power, maybe gradually, maybe quickly, given my track record.
    Congrats on 560+ days of self-care. ๐Ÿ’•

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  2. “I have gained a lot from being sober, most notably peace of mind that nothing awful is going to happen, but I have also lost a lot. I probably thought everything would be perfect once I got to this point, 568 days complete, for anyone whoโ€™s interested.”
    I think to recognise what you say here. Currently I am struggling with a lot of things and the only answer I am finding is that addiction is a spiritual mistake and it is of no use to expect that we are being celebrated for correcting that mistake. But when I write that down… I read nothing but depression and life is not about depression so I am guessing I have not found the answer yet. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do know that drinking makes everything worst so I hang on to that until I do find an answer. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sending hugs. And….. a link to a new interview with Benny in which a He Himself says that there will be A REUNION!!! at 0:30 – 0:40 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2bpUSRueSA&t=270s
    xx, Feeling

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  3. What do you feel you have lost? Are those things solely because you donโ€™t drink? If you were to drink tomorrow would they return? Do you still want them?

    I love ABBA. I know all the words too. I am surprised by the range of music I can enjoy. As long as there is some sort of rhythm.

    Big hug. Take care of yourself.


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