Studio 54

Erin Schaden
4 min readNov 28, 2023

There is a parallel here, I just know it.

I just turned 54 and this turning, this advancement in years, made me think of all the excesses I have had in my life. And that made me think about Studio 54 and all its excesses and celebrity past.

And this whole thought process made me think that I am so very lucky to be sober as long as I have been. Lord knows I haven’t always behaved like I was sober. My life has been a great many excesses that I cannot blame on drinking or drugging seeing as I have been sober for decades. But I can still see all the addiction in my life living, even as I do it without the aid of pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs or booze.

I have still fucked things up a great deal of the time. I have still made huge blunders and mistakes because of addictive behavior. I do not have the whole sobriety thing licked, I just have a daily reprieve which I know has likely been way more tenuous than I have been willing to admit.

This is not to say that I think about drinking or throwing away my sobriety. I really don’t. I am here committed to doing the deal no matter what. But I have allowed the corrosive threads of addiction to take me down in other ways: shopping, sex, men, food, exercise, etc.

And that brings my thought process back around to Studio 54. Perhaps that is what the last 54 years have been to me. A laboratory of life being lived with addiction and excesses. Perhaps now it is time that I stop frequenting the night club of my life in search of the next high and practice going within and doing without.

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved every minute of my studio time. Drunk and sober. I needed all of it to arrive me to this place where I see myself as clearly as I can and be loving and supportive while also being a little disappointed in myself.

On the one hand, I am amazed at myself. I mean, someone with my history shouldn’t be alive or sober for the time that I have. Someone who delayed dealing with the trauma of my youth for as long as I did, shouldn’t be as well adjusted as I am right now. I am very lucky and I have done a fuck ton of work. But as everything in this life, there is always more work to be done.

And that is where I am now. I have gotten a glimpse of my creation of this Studio 54 lifestyle (sober version) and I have found it lacking. The bright lights, the people, the soirees, the dating, the sex, the shopping, the outfits, the drama, the trauma. I have chalked it all up to living but at this particular moment, it all feels lacking and less spiritual than I would like to admit.

Is it really possible that I just continued the party, after the party? How much internal progress was actually made? Did I change just enough so I didn’t have to change? Am I still chasing the highs, only to find the lows? Have I just channeled my addictions into more socially acceptable versions?

I guess it is time for me to figure that out.

Studio 54 closed its doors a very long time ago, mostly due to the scandalous lifestyle that created a very high burn rate for all the humans engaged. Partying nightly, drug addled and fueled by the heady intoxication of sex and booze, is always going to have a high burn rate for humanity. All of us, so it appears.

But as I look at my life, from the sideline of where I live today, I can see that this studio time of 54 years has taught me some hard lessons, and it is still a rich and fertile soil for me to revisit to see just how much ground I have covered, and just how much I haven’t.

I am still prone to excesses, just not with mind altering substances. But I overdo everything else, in a similar fashion. In short, I do everything alcoholically. And I am not sure I can change that, or if I want to. There is something comfortable in my excesses. Something mildly self destructive and soothing in this tedious manner in which I date, live, love and relate.

And I guess I feel much like I would if I were preparing to engage in a rager at Studio 54, there will be a part of me that is hellbent on living that life, while there is also a quieter version of myself who knows that all that glitters, fades and there are great, monumental lessons to be gained in the simple of act of refraining.

So I reflect on the past, my not so distant past, my present and my future. And it all swims before in some sort of sober dream state, time changing my perception of myself, reality and what it all really means. Leaving me with a slight hangover of excess still in spite of all my sober time. And this lands in nascent form for me today. And I welcome the dawning of a newer me.

Like all growth and change, I have no idea where I am going, or what I am doing. I just know that grow I must or die I shall. Addiction is like that you see.

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Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out www.nakedrandomthoughts.com for more.