The year was 2010, I was living in Vegas, and my taste in music was about to change forever. I was a die-hard Blink 182 fan who dabbled in more than my fair share of emo-pop-punk than I would care to admit to. Then one evening I was in a club and I heard this amazing song pouring out over the speakers and pounding with a bass rhythm that caused my heart to beat in unison.
I’ve been watching you
You’ve been hurting too
You give all your love
nothing left to show.
I have been there too
Alone in my despair
Watching life go by,
No one whom to share
Boy you got it bad
But I got something good
I will treat you good in every way yeah
You will never feel alone
My touch is such a rush
I will give to you the love you seek and more
Come on I’m waiting for you
I will give to you
The love you seek and more
It was like a soulmate singing to me over the speakers, claiming to understand the struggles and frustrations of feeling alone in the world, and offering the solution our society has sold us on since our first Disney movie up until our last romantic comedy:
“Just find that special person and everything will be all right.”
Well, here she is! She’s singing over the speakers, promising that she has the that I love and seek, and more!
Add to that, I’m in a nightclub surrounded by beautiful women, any of whom, at the time, I would have loved to hear echo those words and I fell hard. Female Vocal Electronic Music became the new love of my life, a tradition that holds true some 8 years later.
I took out my phone and hit Shazam, it came up Tim Berg “Seek Bromance.” The title didn’t make so much sense to me at the time, as clearly this song was about finding that special girl who would deliver on remedying my every deep seeded feeling of loneliness. It wasn’t until many years later that I began to realize that romance comes and goes, but bromance (platonic male friendships) and the love you give yourself, those are a foundation that you can build your life on.
Like any person, there are always some things I pick up quickly and others that take more time. I remember a particularly awkward conversation with a “potential soulmate girl,” she told me her favourite DJ was Avcii, to which I replied that I liked Tim Berg better and took out my phone to show her my favourite track.
I came to learn that miraculously both Tim Berg and Avicii were playing at the club that night, because as she informed me before walking away in search of cooler company, they were, in fact, the same person.
She did not have the love I sought.
The thing to realize was that no woman really had the love I was seeking at the time, and no woman does. Like most twenty-somethings “all this time I was finding myself, I didn’t know I was lost.” It was me that needed to love me, not any girl. Self-love cannot be the carrot at the end of the rainbow, it can’t come after any accomplishment, it can’t be the reward for hard work. Public love and validation will always be conditional, as will be the love in most of your relationships, be them familial, romantic or otherwise. There is only one person who you can count on to love you without condition, and that is you.
You just need to make that decision.
While the exact circumstances surrounding Tim’s death are unclear, it’s well documented that he had a strong history with alcohol to the point where he was hospitalized for 11 days in 2012 with acute pancreatitis as a result of binge drinking. 2 years later he had surgery to remove his appendix and gallbladder, and then in 2016 he retired from live performing completely due to these health reasons.
Generally speaking, when a person cannot abstain from an activity which is killing them, we would say they are addicted. The old school way of thinking about addiction is to explain that the opposite of addiction is to be sober, clean, in abstinence. Just stop doing the thing and everything will be fine, but then why so often is it not fine, why is it not fine in the beginning, not fine during and not fine after. Why do we relapse into our old patterns or find new vices?
Because the opposite of Addiction isn’t sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection. The triggers change from person to person, as do the activities people partake in as a result of their triggers, but the underlying cause is the same. When we don’t find that love we seek, when we feel disconnected or separate from other people, it’s very hard to resist temptation. When no one understands us, when we feel alone, and when we lose sight of our own value, this is when we are most at risk.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to know Avicii personally, so I can’t say for sure if his death was the result of damage already done to his health from past excessive overindulgence, or if there were recent relapses which further compromised his condition. I can imagine that stopping to tour and stopping to feel the bromance from his fellow DJs and the adoration of his millions of fans didn’t make abstaining from alcohol any easier.
So how is it that these people so many of us loved and admired so much didn’t feel it for themselves. How can Robbin Williams commit suicide? How can Avicii feel the need to drink alcohol when it’s killing him? How come they can’t just feel good enough as they are? Again, I never had the opportunity to get inside either of their heads, but I would imagine that just like many of the people who endlessly contribute to others, they just didn’t feel the love they gave all of us for themselves, in their own heart.
When you love yourself, you simply don’t kill yourself. Not fast, not slow, not with a gun, nor with alcohol or cigarettes or junk food. You just don’t. The more you love yourself, the more you want to be alive, the more comfortable you feel in more situations, and the less you need anything or anyone that comes at the expense of yourself. An excellent book to start with on this topic is Kamal Ravikant’s “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.”
Our culture has conditioned us to believe that love lies somewhere else. We have to “find love,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can never find love, you can only create love. You are your own soul mate, and the sooner you realize that the more love you will experience.
What I came to realize is that as nice as the words sound coming from the lips of a beautiful woman, and as amazing as it must feel to hear thousands of people chanting your name as you mix a track over the airwaves, the best place to feel these words would be while looking into the mirror.
Baby here we are standing face to face
Just the two of us locked in your embrace
Now I got it bad but you got something good
Won’t you treat me good in every way, yeah
Are you ready
I can feel your passion and your love
Oh oh ohhh it overflows
I’ll get to you the love you seek and more
So what are you waiting for
I’ll get to you the love you seek and more
I got love you seek
I got love you seek
I got love you seek
I got lovee
I like to think Tim did come to this realization at some point, it’s possible when he cleaned up his habits it was just too late for his health already. I like to think he wasn’t always “waiting for love to come around” and that “all the time he was finding himself” he didn’t stay lost.
I’m sure there were some genetic predispositions and unfortunate biological luck involved in his early death. I just hope he knows that he was always good enough, and was always loved, and he more than any other DJ has been the soundtrack to summer for the better part of a decade.
We love you Tim, thank you for everything. See you on the other side.
If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, depression or social isolation, please know there is always help. A lot of times people think they’ve tried everything, but rarely is this true. I’ve seen first hand many a life transformed from things as simple and straightforward as a meditation practice to things as far off the beaten path, in the realm of ‘trying everything,’ as Ayahuasca.
There is always hope, never give up.
Feel free to link to of my programs on Addiction or Self-Acceptance, and look out for a complete guide to self-love in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading, feel free to share how Avicii impacted your life in the comments section. I’d say in 28 years he made enough waves for many a lifetime <3