It's sad, but reading this post makes me feel not so alone in my misery. All of you are right! We're all in the same boat, too!
I had a band together for about three years in Ottawa, though it changed a few members over the time, for various reasons. But it was a good, rockin' blues band. For the final year and a half of that band, we had revolving drummers. I had about four on the list and could get one to come to gig for money. They all knew the material, so it worked. But they all did pickup gigs (subbing), so it was whoever wasn't booked that night. Only, if somebody offered a few more bucks, they'd call and cancel you, to go for the bigger night's pay - I'm talking last minute here. It was fairly stressful.
Then I had to move to Florida to help my mom. I was going to jams for a year before I ended up joining a bar cover band (not my favourite thing, but a gig is a gig, I guess). So, after doing that a few months, circumstances changed and I hooked up with a lead player. We moved to a small town in Northeast Arkansas. Not a good geographical decision, musically. After trying to find competent, committed band members for four years now, we've given up on the area. Now we're preparing to move to Little Rock in the fall. HOORAY!
If anyone out there has ever heard of Col. Bruce Hampton and Codetalkers (they're GREAT!), Col. Bruce has a movie with a Mike Gordon from Phish. It's very, very funny - it's called "Outside Out". Col. Bruce is acting the part of a zany music teacher, and he says to Mike Gordon, in a lesson about what you need to know about music, "Most importantly - NEVER, EVER HAVE HOPE!" Well, I laughed, but it's true. And every time we'd try to get someone to commit to this band (which never worked out), those words would come back to me. It's almost become our motto - we'd just say it out loud to each other every time the plan would crash and burn.
I guess hope dies really hard, because we still have hope - but after several decades of this roller coaster, it does start to wear you down.
GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE OUT THERE WHO STILL HAS HOPE IN THEIR HEART, MAY ALL OF YOU FIND THE RIGHT BAND MATES, SOMEHOW.