Michael McDonald’s Life-Changing Moment: 27 Years Sober

Michael McDonald
Michael McDonald: The Voice That Defined a Generation | Source: Youtube - Rick Beato

Michael McDonald describes the moment that forever changed his course in life.

McDonald, a member of the Doobie Brothers, shares his difficult road with addiction and ultimate sobriety in his new memoir, What a Fool Believes, which is released on Tuesday, May 21. In a graphic section of the book, McDonald had to make a difficult choice after being denied access to family counseling sessions for his wife’s drug and alcohol recovery.

As I was being escorted to the door, I noticed the nurse’s station. ‘Okay,’ he said, ‘what are you going to do? You cannot enter here like this. What are your next steps? I hated that question at that time in my life, McDonald, 72, tells people in this week’s edition. I didn’t want anyone to ask me what I was planning to do. But in that moment, I felt like I was surrendering, and I just said, ‘I don’t know.

McDonald, whose drink and cocaine habit had developed to the point that he was under the influence most of the day, had previously been sentenced to one-year probation when officers raided his girlfriend’s flat and discovered narcotics. He was told to attend AA meetings and had a sponsor.

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As McDonald was being led out of the family counseling session, he bumped across his old sponsor, whom he hadn’t seen in 15 years.

He said, ‘What are you doing here?’ I answered, ‘Well, I guess I’m going to get kicked out,'” McDonald recounts. And I recall hearing a voice in my head at that time. It was not my own, and I am not one of those individuals. So this was quite unusual to me. But a clear voice in my thoughts said, ‘The jig is up.’ And I remember thinking, “Who the hell says the jig is up?” I have never used that term in my life. It’s like, am I a 1940s investigator or something?

He continued, After I got over it, I realized I needed to make a decision. The bus is going once more, and I might not be here when it returns. And I had a lot to lose in that moment.

The rest was history. McDonald remained sober for the rest of the night, which was rare for me, and he returned to AA meetings the next day.

I sensed something had changed within me. I just had one of those moments of clarity when I realized that my biggest concern today is that if I forget where I am or where I came from long enough to pick up the next drink, I may never return. “I may never have that moment again,” he says.

McDonald has been clean for 27 years, and one thing stays constant: as long as I don’t pick up the next drink, I’ll be OK.

I’ve learned that one of my biggest assets moving forward is remembering my past vividly and not developing amnesia—nnot believing that I have this because I never will, he adds.

It’s truly a one-day-at-a-time issue for me, and I have to make that decision every day in a fresh attempt to simply live this day to the best of my ability,” McDonald finishes. “The beauty of it is that all of a sudden you turn around one day, and it feels like a blink of an eye, and you’re looking at 30 years behind you of living one day at a time, which is also life.

Longtime friend and actor Paul Reiser co-wrote the song “What a Fool Believes,” which chronicles McDonald’s life from his first performance as a youngster to his collaborations with icons like Ray Charles and Patti LaBelle—aand of course, the Doobie Brothers. In addition, McDonald displays a level of vulnerability never seen before as he talks about his wife’s battle with addiction and breast cancer diagnosis.

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1. Michael McDonald Age
Age of Michael McDonald: 72 years

2. Michael McDonald, Wife
Amy Holland

3. Michael McDonald Birthday
Michael McDonald was born on February 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

4. Michael McDonald Book

  • What a Fool Believes: A Memoir
  • Soul Speak
  • Motown


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