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THE SOBER EMCEE

The Blackout 3 Entry 43

Kofi Carmichael

It’s been awhile since I searched in my brain for the some of my blackout episodes. Technically blackouts are events that you are not suppose to remember. Hence the whole ‘Blacking-Out”. However there was always the lead up to the actual event. Those leads ups were always very...let’s say eventful.
I start with my birthday back in 2008. The crew and I went to a Monday night club called DNA to celebrate. We must have drank about 2 bottles of Hennessey within a one hour span. We also smoked something called a ‘Super Blunts’! These were blunt wraps that come out to about a foot and a half long. Something like that can hold about a quarter to 10 grams of the finest marijuana in the country. That, along with the other blunts and drinks flying at me, things got really cloudy. From this point is when the actual blackout happened. Any recounts of this story had to be told to me the next afternoon when I finally woke up. I was told that I was so drunk that my body leaned into a backward 90 degree angle. My buddy laughed at me comparing me to Neo in the movie Matrix, that famous scene when he was bending his body backward to dodge bullets. He explained that by the second time my body dipped into that weird drunken lean again, the security came running. They basically swept me up under my armpits and flew me out of the club in under 30 seconds! Needless to say it was an embarrassing moment on my list of ridiculous blackouts (See Blackout 1 & 2). Ten years later I found myself into another memorable (Non-memorable) blackout moment.

In 1998 I was in the beautiful sunny island of Barbados with my mother getting in touch with my Bajan roots. It was a great 2 week trip but my drunken madness turned it into a month trip where I ended up stuck in beautiful Barbados for 2 extra weeks. I was able to indulge in all of the indigenous liquors of the island. I drank Banks Beer like it was water as well as all the Cockspur, Mount Gay rum and Hennesey that I can get my hands on. On the night that was suppose to be my last night there I went to a club on the beach called the Boatyard. That night my bredren and I indulged in the $25 open bar to the fullest! Bars in Barbados use the free pour system, so we were able to choose exactly how much rum we wanted in our glasses compared to the orange juice. I must have had about 8-10 tall glasses of rum and tropical juice, mixed with 97% Rum 3% tropical juice. When it was time to leave I was wobbling so much that my friend had to hold me up like human crutches. He stood my drunk body up on a pole in a safe place away from traffic. At that point I had the overwhelming urge to pee and nothing can stop a extremely drunk man's urges. I swung around and peed on my safe pole and turned around and tried to walk away. However my equilibrium was slightly compromised. As I stepped away from the pole I remember the feeling like a tornado flying through my brain. Immediately I fell back a slid down the very pole I just finished peeing on.

Somehow I found myself back in the house and in bed. However when I woke up the flight had already left 4 hours ago. In turn it took me 2 weeks to finally get out of Barbados but this was supposed to be another lesson. I’ve blacked out numerous times after that because I didn’t learn from that time until I finally hit my ‘rock bottom’ 10 years later.
 

The lesson here at the end of the day, is be safe out there. If you know you have the perpetuity to drink to blackout level then make sure to always have an exit plan and/or always have a level-headed friend that can get you home.
Bless

Clear My Thoughts

Kofi Carmichael

There's a part of me that feels like I'm drowning ,

Catching up with time 

Trying to figure myself out and my mission 

I look for the signs.

 

Stay working but always looking 

Sometimes I feel like I see it,

Then something makes me feel blind again. 

I sacrifice sleep and forget to eat,

And my tunnel visions often shut out the love.

I keep my head down working and seem to only come up to check for the hate.

 

I feel like my many hats hold all this weight 

I'm still waiting for that sign God 

Fuck it I need me a check 

 

I honestly feel that all this pressure is something you built me for 

 

Technically I should have burnt out already, 

Something is keeping me driving...

I'm sure it's bigger than me, my mom my alcoholic demons 

And even some of the things I say in this blog 

It's bigger than that.

My pain is small to the world but big to me 

But pain is pain regardless 

And I feel it 

I won't complain 

Just keep working 

Just keep working 

ALCOHOLIC HERITAGE

Kofi Carmichael

So how many know about a good rum from Barbados? Or Jamaican overproof white rum. The Russians have vodka or maybe some Mexican tequila. Every country has their own drink of choice. This concept along with some very philosophical conversations made me wonder, is there such thing as indigenous alcoholism. Is it possible that alcoholism can be started based on your nationality and the customs of that background?

 Let’s examine. No matter our background everyone has a drunk uncle. Based on your nationality, what was your uncle's drink of choice? A lot of alcoholic’s first drink began in the household out of the tradition of our backgrounds. Back in the days in many Caribbean homes it was customary to put a little rum on the baby’s soother when they were teething. There were many a mother adding a little tad of brandy in their babies bottles so the cranky child can sleep easier. I’m sure some still do in this day.
 

In relationships, especially abusive ones. Many of them are escalated by the presence of alcohol.  Whether your husband (Or Wife) had too much Saki, Russian Vodka or some Greek Metaxa, these can all be products of alcohol’s wrath. Probably in the past, someone in that couple’s parents could have been drunk off of the same type of liquor. A lot of alcoholics say their drinking was a trained behavior that they witnessed in their homes as a child. So naturally as a grown up you may gravitate to the same traditional drink of your heritage. When you go to the liquor store in any country it is always filled with their national drink of choice. So chances are if you bump into a homeless person asking for money in Mexico, they won’t smell Jagermeister on their breath. However there is a strong chance that you may catch a strong whiff of Tequila.

 

Here in North America liquor stores have a wide variety of alcohol brands from many countries to help continue that alcoholic's tradition should he or she decided to visit or move to our glorious continent. As tradition is something that is passed on, if a Russian alcoholic man moves to Canada and has children, can that child grow up and possibly be a vodka drinker? If the man decides to marry a women from Trinidad, the child may still grow up to drink vodka if he witnessed his dad drinking it a lot while growing up. However what if the Trinidadian mother was the alcoholic, would the child grow up to drink Trinidadian Rum? What if both parents were alcoholics? Would the child grow up to be an alcoholic with a taste for both? There is also something to be said about genes. If a mother drank while she was pregnant, will the child grow up to drink the same thing?

At the end of the day I’m just an ex drunk who doesn’t have the answers to all of these questions. One thing I got from this examination, is maybe a few more roads to the root of why I became an alcoholic in the first place. Hopefully this can help you on your path too.
Bless  

WHY I DRANK

Kofi Carmichael

Why I Drank

I know why I started drinking but how I grew into an alcoholic, I don’t know. I started like anyone else with the normal underage drinking. This was especially easy in Montreal where the drinking age is 18 years old, as well as easily accessible beer, wine and liquor.  I remember sharing a 24 case of beer with my friends in the park. We used to grab them from the corner store (Depanneur ) and run out the front door, without paying of course. I heard when I was a child, my mom would put a little brandy in my bottle to make me sleep easier.

The transition into an alcoholic I can say started around 18 years old. I’ve mentioned in previous entries about  hiding King cans (710 ml)  of beer in my bedroom of my mom’s house. That was when I was about 19 and I can definitely say that drinking was an everyday thing at that point. In those times, I had dropped out of CEGEP(Junior college) and began selling weed. I was making a considerable amount for my age at the time, so 2-3 King cans was nothing on my budget. I’m not sure if I actually “needed” it at the time as a lot of alcoholics have said, because I never had to go without it. I was always able to afford my habits. In hindsight, I do realize now that it is harder to identify alcoholism when you have a high income. Especially when you add the Hip Hop lifestyle to it where drinking a lot can be considered socially acceptable.

However the question is “Why” and not when. Based on the previously mentioned events, it makes it harder to also identify the “Why”. Was I depressed? Was I acting out? Maybe it was a cry for help? No, no and no are my answers to all of those questions.

As I grew up and my tolerance grew with me, I got into my share of trouble and even though I can attribute a lot of those troubles to drunk decisions; why I got so drunk in the first place is still a question. I also realize that I caused most of my own problems and alcohol definitely helped to amplify the events.
 


Up to the morning of my infamous apartment fire, I could not think of the reasons that I became an alcoholic. When I look at life now I feel that I still have several stressful situations and reasons why many would want to turn to a drink. For now and God’s willing forever, I don’t have the desire to curb my stress and anxiety with a drink. However, I could never judge or look down on the alcoholic or nonalcoholic who decides to do so.

Ultimately, I feel that it may be a combination of all the above mentioned facts as well as something that is just within myself and other alcoholics worldwide. Maybe a defunct gene that makes us abnormal drinkers. I know there must be some truth to the genetic factor because of the fact that I can watch some friends drink heavily for days then put the bottle down for more than a week. While I know even now almost 7 years later if I have even one drink, that I will surely begin the journey to drinking every night once again. Then there’s a 99% certainty that I won’t make it to be 50.

Bless   

REMINDER TO THE NON-ALCOHOLICS

Kofi Carmichael

A Reminder to the non- Alcoholics. Alcoholism is a disease that don’t just cure over the years and you are able to have a few beers here and there. We don’t call ourselves “Recovered Alcoholics” because the disease is still there whether we drink or not. I’ve found myself in many situations over the years where people just could not understand the concept. I remember my mom would tell me “Boy, you’ll be okay as long as you drink at home! Everything in moderation.” Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way mommy. As alcoholics we can’t just turn the addiction on and off at will. Many friends of mine still don’t understand the nature of alcoholism, especially the friends I only see once in awhile. If I see them once a year, they often would offer me a drink. When I decline they say, “Still?? Isn’t your parole over?” It often reverts to me explaining the entire process all over again, even though I haven’t drank in more than 6 years! I can’t lie, it can get annoying sometimes, but I can’t blame them for not understanding. Most of us alcoholics know that whether drinking or sober, it’s usually a lonely road.

The fact that I am a single man dating, requires me to “go out for drinks” when I first meet women sometimes. It’s still something that I have to kind of ease into the conversation when the waiter comes around and I explain that I don’t drink. Yet I try to make the woman feel comfortable and I advise her that it doesn't bother me if she drinks. In fact it’s more annoying if she does and now she decided not to on my account. Trust me ladies I’ll be okay. I haven't had the desire for 6 years now and don't plan on having them anytime soon. I have gone to the liquor store and bought liquor for women that I can keep in my house with no desire to drink it. And let’s be clear here, have a drink or I can’t get in your pants is a major deal breaker. I value my life way more than a “maybe” one night of passion.

Every once in awhile us alcoholic have to remind the non-alcoholic people around us that we are different. Alcoholics will have a bad drunken night and wake up feeling near death saying “I am never drinking like that again!” Within 12 hours we’ll be back at that bar. The non-alcoholic will have the same night but have the will to not touch a drink for a few days, some week or months.

So when you offer me a drink and I decline, don’t feel offended. I’m an alcoholic and even though I was a fun guy when I was drunk, I’m way more fun now when I’m sober and can remember any crazy things that I still might do. Just remember, I’m not offended that you may not understand alcoholism. I know you mean no harm and we know it’s hard to understand the road that the alcoholic travels.

Bless  

EX FACTOR ENTRY #38

Kofi Carmichael

I used to be a mess when I was a drunk. To a degree I can still be one sometimes with the alcohol 6 years removed.The road of alcohol nights and hungover days is said to be a lonely one but somehow us alcoholics always convince some poor soul to travel this chaotic path with us. Over my double decade alcohol fueled tirade I managed to drive multiple women to insanity, a lot of times simultaneously. The ones that I had long term relationships had to deal with the worst of it. 

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WHY (I DO THIS)

Kofi Carmichael

This blog started in May 6,  2011 as a way to itemize my thoughts. It was created as a journal of sorts to track my reintegration back into society fresh off a year in prison as well as my first year of sobriety. I was inspired by the advice given in one of my 12 step meetings that we should keep a journal. Being a public figure of sorts through hip hop I decided to make those thoughts public and so was born The Sober Emcee.


At first I used to complain about the lack of Facebook and Twitter likes that I’d get, which was none. I figured it wasn't something that the hip hop community would be interested interested in. Knowing that alcoholism in hip hop was a norm and not labelled a problem, I knew that it may be  an uphill battle. Then something happened, I started receiving inbox messages from people who said the blog affected them. I started  running into people I know who said they knew about my blog and told me that it was helpful to their own situation. After some time I learned how to check the metrics of the blog and see who many people were actually reading. I started seeing readers from the US growing as well as Russia, India, Scotland, Malaysia,Germany and more. February 17, 2013 marked my 3rd year of sobriety when I wrote and published entry #22 Dirty Little Secrets. I was finally seeing the snowball effect. The numbers doubled and with each entry that followed the numbers grew exponentially. That growth also made me realize the growing responsibility of which I am so proud to have. The readers became more public and vocal also, they started leaving comments and sharing and liking the entries on their social medias.
 

I realize that I needed to keep my sobriety for more than just myself now. I tell a lot of crazy stories some of them funny, some of them dark but the goal essential is to purge. However if I EVER have another drink again I promise to end the blog immediately so that I will never mislead my readers. I believe that if we do fall off the wagon that we should try to get back on and continue the sober road, but The Sober Emcee blog would see it’s last entry.  

The disease of alcoholism is something that starts with the user and sobriety also starts with the user and our will to live and conquer our demons. So in the end of the day even if the reason I write this blog is for me as my journal. As long as someone can take something away from this quick read then The Sober Emcee is for you.


Bless

REPLACEMENT ADDICTION

Kofi Carmichael

I am an extremist with addictive tendencies. This means I go from one extreme to another. When I started smoking cigarettes, I kept going until I got to a sometimes 2 pack a day habit. When I started hustling I became known as the one who stayed out the longest and hustled the hardest.

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DEAR MOMMA

Kofi Carmichael

To the parents, I’ve heard in a lot of my 12 step meetings about parents being alcoholics and it being a big part of their own alcoholism. I completely understand that but fortunately I can’t relate. I grew up in a single mother household and my mother never got married or had random men coming into the house. I saw her get drunk but not on a regular basis. Usually it was around the holidays and sometimes she would have some brandy and milk before she went to bed. 

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I FORGIVE YOU... AND ME

Kofi Carmichael

On December 10th 2012, I spoke at the F-You (Forgiveness Project) founded and organized by my good friend Tara Muldoon. I’ve spoken at a couple of them before touching on topics from my past alcoholism and Pro-Criminal lifestyle along with sex education through stories of my past selfishness and womanizing. Naturally, it was an honor to be a featured speaker at the two year anniversary. The event made me go into deeper reflection now in hinds sight, have I really forgiven all of the people whom I felt wronged me? 

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​BLACKOUTS PT 1

Kofi Carmichael

The first blackout that I can remember was back in the mid 90’s. I was on my way to a house party with a few friends and we did a lot of pre drinking before we left. When we finally got to the house I was extremely drunk and wasn’t able to get out of the car. I told my friends to go ahead and that I would meet them inside. As they partied I was in a war with my stomach and spinning head in the back seat of the car. That went on for an hour until my stomach finally gave up and I threw up for what seemed like 15 minutes. 

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BLACKOUTS PT 2

Kofi Carmichael

A blackout is a moment in inebriation where a person stops remembering and upon coming out of the blackout does not remember the moments in between. I have had a few and most of the time I have to try to piece together the pre-blackout moments to even realize that I had one. It’s not a good feeling waking up and not knowing what happened the night before or even where the heck you are when you wake up or with whom.

 

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DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

Kofi Carmichael

We all have our secrets, some of them harmless little ones and some of them can be big horrible ones. It’s no secret that I’m a recovering alcoholic and an ex drug dealer, part of the reason for this blog is to purge my secrets as a form of therapy. It all started when I was still a teenager living in my mother’s house in Montreal. I used to drink a beer called Red Bull that would come in the 710ml tall cans.

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STAY SECURE

Kofi Carmichael

It is always a good thing to stay secure. A lot of people do not prepare themselves before they go out for a night of drinking for the things that can happen when we are in party mode i.e. designated drivers, having good friends around etc. I have been a victim to this many times. I’ve gone out solo on many occasions and woke up in strange places with strange people, I’ve almost passed out in the club and I’ve driven drunk and caught 2 impaired charges in the space of 1 year. I wasn't doing it right and I had to learn the hard way over and over again. 

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MONTREAL #ROOTS

Kofi Carmichael

I was born and raised in Montreal Quebec. It is a mix of French and English speaking people with a strong emphasis on preserving our individuality amongst other Canadians. There is a combination of blacks from Haiti and the other Caribbean islands. A high populations of Armenians as well as Moroccans and a multitude of Arab speaking immigrants. It's no secret that the city is run by the Mob which has been exemplified numerous times from high profile homicide coverage of Mob members. We can't forget having some of the richest chapters of biker gangs that help to run this beautiful city. The most corrupted criminals in this historically rich city is the provincial Government who kind of...just play by their own rules let's say.

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ALL OR NOTHING

Kofi Carmichael

Being the Sober Emcee can be a heavy responsibility to bare sometimes. I've been a part of the scene for while now here in Toronto and there is a lot of nightlife that goes on in this city. For the past 5 years I've been able to go to clubs and afterhours in the face of several bottles of liquor and still not have the desire to have a drink. For that I feel blessed! I've learned in the rooms of the 12 steps meetings that everyone's path is different on the road to sobriety. Sometimes not everybody makes it.

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