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 Hootie and the Blowfish Drummer Gets Second Chance at Life

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PostSubject: Hootie and the Blowfish Drummer Gets Second Chance at Life   Hootie and the Blowfish Drummer Gets Second Chance at Life EmptySun Jul 08, 2012 11:57 am

Hootie and the Blowfish Drummer Gets Second Chance at Life

Ginny McCabe : Jul 6, 2012 : ASSIST News Service

"I couldn't imagine a life
without drugs and alcohol… You have to learn how to feel things all over
again. That's really where God started working on me, and I understood
He had some other purpose for me than just riding around in a tour bus."
–Jim Sonefeld

(Nashville, TN)—Hootie and the Blowfish
drummer, Jim Sonefeld is sharing his faith with a new EP titled Found.
The project reflects on his new life and direction, as it shares that
same hope in Christ with others.

"I was 40 before I realized something was
off. I want to challenge people that if there's a void; if there's a
little hole in your heart—or a big hole—it's for Jesus," said Jim
Sonefeld. "I have lived trying to stuff it full of every other
thing—money, material goods, sex, drugs, alcohol—I've tried everything,
and believe me, it doesn't work. It keeps running out; it keeps leaking.
The only thing that doesn't leak is Jesus."

His musical journey all started as a
student at the University of South Carolina in the late '80s, when the
budding songwriter befriended three other men who shared his passion for
music, and together they called themselves Hootie and the Blowfish.

Hootie and the Blowfish Drummer Gets Second Chance at Life SoniIn
1994, Sonefeld and his bandmates struck gold with the release of
Cracked Rear View (Atlantic), a landmark recording that sold more than
25 million copies worldwide, including 16 million in the U.S. alone.
Cracked Rear View is the fourth biggest-selling debut and the 20th
biggest-selling record of all time. The band went on to record four more
studio albums and garnered numerous awards, including two Grammys,
becoming one of the most successful pop acts of the '90s.

"We rode that wave from basically nothing
to something; and in about five or six years, it all happened for us,"
Sonefeld said. "That changed our lives, and it affects everything you do
when there's fame and fortune thrown into the picture."

However, Sonefeld soon discovered when you
cast all your bets on one thing—the wrong thing—you can end up losing it
all. Road-life involved an extreme partying lifestyle, and Sonefeld
soon found himself relying heavily on alcohol and drugs. The gifted
drummer and songwriter lived in denial of substance abuse for the better
part of a decade.

"When you're an alcoholic, some of us can
hide it; some of us come out and just say, 'Yeah, I'm an alcoholic, so
what? My life's together enough; I'm functional.' And that was my
attitude. I was functioning," Sonefeld said. "I was a drummer in a big
rock band. I had what looked like a solid family life… I [thought] I was
a good guy. [The band] gave a lot. We did charity work and were always
involved, and continue to be, in our community. I always felt like I was
doing my part; but I definitely was left with this very hollow feeling
in my heart… You would never have known my life was in shambles, or at
least my heart was. That's the trick—how do you admit it to yourself
when everybody else doesn't even think you have a big issue?"

At the height of his career and the peak of
his addiction, Sonefeld was struggling to hold his personal life
together. It may have looked perfect from the outside, but on the
inside, it was splintering.

"There's plenty of room for an alcoholic
drummer in the rock 'n' roll industry, but there's not necessarily room
for an alcoholic drummer who's a father and a husband," Sonefeld said.
"And that's where the rub came; that's where I truly became aware that
my foundation in Jesus was severely lacking."

Family and friends attempted numerous
interventions, but it wasn't until 2004 that Sonefeld willingly entered a
12-step program as a last-ditch effort to find some peace of mind in
his life.

"After entering the program, I looked back
on my relationship with God because in Alcoholics Anonymous, it's a
spiritual program," shared Sonefeld of the turning point. "I was unaware
that's what I was entering. I just thought I'd go hang out with some
people who could show me how to drink better, more controllably. I
didn't know anything about AA."

AA proved to be the stimulus Sonefeld
needed to change his priorities and his perspective. "That was the new
beginning I was offered, and believe me, from my perspective, it wasn't
my second chance; it was my 35th chance of living again," he said. "It
wasn't a white light moment; it wasn't a flash that just hit me and,
boom, I was saved. It was the beginning of a long, slow path of
self-discovery and giving myself to something bigger."

Alcoholics Anonymous became the catalyst
that ignited Sonefeld's relationship with Christ. Although he grew up
Catholic, he strayed from his faith during college, and with the
rocketing success of Hootie and the Blowfish, there wasn't much room
left for God.

"I couldn't imagine a life without drugs
and alcohol," Sonefeld said. "It was so scary to imagine that kind of
life that I just kept going. I was afraid I would be boring, that I
would be dull, that I would lose my sense of humor, that no one would
want to hang around me. Those were very realistic fears coming from
somebody who drank every day for probably 10 years straight."

As sobriety became a reality, the truth
became clear. Alcohol wasn't his only problem. Sonefeld had a lot of
self-professed "idols" he needed to get rid of. And, worse, his marriage
was beyond repair.

"You can drink for a long time, and you
always have the alcohol to blame. It helps numb the pain. When you take
that away as an alcoholic, it's very painful because you now have only
yourself to blame," said Sonefeld. "You have to learn how to feel things
all over again… That's really where God started working on me, and I
understood He had some other purpose for me than just riding around in a
tour bus."

Hootie and the Blowfish Drummer Gets Second Chance at Life FoundepAfter
remarrying, Sonefeld's wife—a strong Christian—encouraged him to sing
about the faith that pulled him out of his darkest hour. Having always
been in the background as a drummer, Sonefeld was hesitant to step up to
the microphone. However, he sat down at his piano, opened his Bible,
and began to write. The songs poured out for the better part of a year.

He took six of the songs and created an EP called Found, an appropriate title considering his life's new direction. The songs on Found
are a vivid reflection of Sonefeld's story. Songs like "I Decree" are
bold statements of faith, while others, like debut single "The Shadow of
Your Wings," are taken directly from Scripture. CLICK HERE for more info on Found.

"I can't imagine living anywhere else but
in the shelter of His wings," said Sonefeld in reference to the song. "I
surrender to Him every [morning] that He would shelter me.

"Morning, in particular, has taken on a new
meaning in sobriety," he continued. "It was something that was a
painful scenario at best—waking up every morning either hung-over or
just bleary-eyed. So morning has become something way more beautiful to
me in my sober life… The sunrise [comes] up, and that's His offering
every day if I choose it."

Although fully committed to using his gift
of music to share Christ, it's still an adjustment from his former life.
"After you're a drummer for 20 years, you don't picture yourself as a
lead singer necessarily, and that has been a struggle for me. I'm trying
to get more comfortable with that," he shared.

As to what the future holds on this new
career path, Sonefeld is leaving it all up to the One who sketches the
blueprints. "I hope I'm courageous enough to accept God's plan for me,"
he said. "I hope I have the wisdom to accept what He gives me."

God Bless, Lora  Nice Ta Meet Ya
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