Drinking Depression: One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression.

 

DRINKING DEPRESSION:  One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two. 

By Steve P.

“I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call  this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something –I should say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress in medicating myself with alcohol. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state high.  I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. Where I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream  I was now   injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic, I can look back on my drinking and see where I took comfort in being drunk because   eventually   the numbness became the only way I could feel better.  When I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a wooly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck  in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction.  I called on my Higher Power to help  deliver me from alcohol and he led me to a counselor  to  also help me with my depression. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am harnessing my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed,  the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of an alcoholic was compared to the brain of a heroin addict and they were very similar. The depression I  experienced also had physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from alcohol I was using depression to numb myself and my brain.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing Christians did not drink. The more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt  much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression,  I felt God had no time for  me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again,  it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry-go-round.

SELF-ESTEEM

When I was drinking,  I was sure that no one cared or could understand what I was going through, so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared? This was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt  I was of no worth and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although I often have the desire to drink I daily call  on my Higher Power to help me and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to take that first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing, like my drinking —one day at a time knowing   I can make it.  It is only by opening the door of the past that   the light of the present can get rid of the darkness  today,  providing  hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you,  in some small way.  It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear so that today may be your first step towards recovery.”

God bless.

Steve P.

+This article first appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, Spring 1994.

 

 

“… taking personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life.”

 

“I want to be alive and alert to all that happens to me today and to think positively about the things I can change and  what needs to be changed in my life.”

“We numb ourselves from ever having to take personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life or construct the way we look at the world. We can’t stand to experience  any feeling except   sadness.  Our addiction to sadness is a big problem but it is also a big comfort.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am gradually taking the time and making the effort to dismantle my depression. I know that, in time and with effort, I will win over this sadness and this desire for isolation  and aloneness. I am seeing that I need time to play, time to share, and a time to  risk myself in the group. I also find that the more I believe that I can change my mood to a more pleasant one, the more pleasant I am becoming.

An addiction is something that I cannot not do without.  That is why my depression is such an addiction. I cannot live my life without the comfort of knowing that I can always drift off and live in the womb of my sadness and isolation. I must come alive when I have to face my pain and walk through the fear of my withdrawal from sadness.”

MEDITATION

We know now that we can let go of that which is keeping us isolated from others who seem happy and content working their program. God, give us the courage to always stay connected with our friends in the program. (Personal comments).

SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  June 6.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Looking fear in the face!

AFFIRMATION

I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.

“We of AA and Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know after becoming actively involved with the 12 step program, that one of the best ways to overcome the handicap  of depression is to start by working on my faith – a faith that I will and can get better. I know that it is mainly staring my sadness in the face that I will be clear of it. I also know that my depression which has been part of my life for so long can be dismantled if I so choose. Surprised? So often  I hear others stories say that they have been depressed all their lives–until- let me repeat – until they hear others stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than themselves that they did and are feeling better now. I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.

We know that fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or it might be the fears of the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today, Today is all I have.,

MEDITATION

God, we believe that there is no greater power than you . We have already admitted that our depression has made us feel hopeless. Now we are ready to let you get to work on our lives,  take over and lead us where we know we will be   in a safe healing place.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Pages 95-96.

I am beginning to feel a change stirring in my relationships with others because I am changing. It’s all positive!

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOUR DAY TODAY

AFFIRMATION

“The journey out of the prison is not just a matter of changing yourself, for in changing yourself, you change your relationship with other people.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

 As I look around me I begin to see others like myself talking the language of hope and experiencing the sometimes occasional lightening of  their mood. I know that it is in the wealth of individual interactions among members of the group that I am beginning to withdraw from my need to sad myself. I am seeing that any change in myself has a direct bearing on others and the relationship that we have with each other.

I came  to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, and in fact, it already has. My addiction to my sadness has come more to be my habitual response to the stressful, day in and out thoughts that say that I am worthless. I am now changing these negative thoughts remembered from childhood into a new personal language that speaks to me and about me in positive ways.

I know that when I am depressed I don’t want to be around people because I felt so tired and sad. But now, the more I attempt to make new relationships and get  involved with other people, the more I desire to grow and become what I want to be. Progress is our aim and we tend to grow in little spurts, day by day.”

MEDITATION

God, we pray that our relationship with you will grow stronger day by day. (Personal thoughts)

——————————————————————————————————–

SOURCES:  Copyright  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 75.

Copyright(c)      Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

“If you want to eat an elephant, the best way to do it is one bite at a time.”

 

The following quotation is taken from our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition) as it appears on page 95.

“All of us who are substance addicted (compulsivre overeating, alcohol, cocaine, pre- scription medication) or process addicted–addicted to a behavior ( the workaholic, sex, gambling, depression) know that in order to free ourselves from the intoxicating experience, we have to first want to give it up and live without it.  We best do this   one day or one hour at a time. Don’t say you will quit a self-destructive behavior for one year at a time and see how you do. No, trying to live one day at a time is a lot easier.  As someone once said “if you want to eat an elephant, the best way to do it is one day at a time.” We know from past experience that our  sobriety, our disappearance of sadness is due to letting go and admitting my powerlessness over my sadness. It  is turning it over to my Higher Power and letting it take care of my sadness. I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it.”

***

If you happen to be part of our HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY, you will want to turn to page 80 of the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Both the Manual and the Workbook come together as important tools in overcoming our attachment to the ruminations and isolation that depression brings upon us.

“All of our efforts so far in this Workbook have been directed toward overcoming  –cleaning house if you will —so that our will might be properly disposed to God’s will and that we might feel free and no longer hopeless. We know that our enthusiasm to change will grow the more we desire that change. The more we change the more  we will cast off the shackles from our lives that keep us imprisoned and isolated.”

COMMENT  Like the quote of how to eat an elephant, we also are most aware that you can’t just wish to get rid  of an obsession or addiction, it takes time and work–one day at a time. There is no easy or comfortable way to battle our demons except through work, prayer and meditation. And for me, one of the best ways to overcome my addictions is to use the 12 spiritual principles of the 12 Steps every day of my life. And again, it’s one bite, one step at a time.  Don’t wait. Do something today. Don’t tell yourself the lie, “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Take the plunge.  If there is no meeting in your  community then work with a DA sponsor/guide and participate in our HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY. Go to the main site depressedanon.com  menu under the title HOME STUDY PROGRAM. The program is operating presently.

****

SOURCES:   The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous          Publications. Louisville. Page 80.

                             Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 95.

Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more helpful literature on THE HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY  and information on how to order online.

If you would like to participate in the Home Study, please contact the director at Depanon@netpenny.net. Thank you.

 

Life can be good for a change. I am not alone.

 

The following account is taken from the personal stories section of Depressed Anonymous.

“It seemed  that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual  have  provided me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power)  will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps,  has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has brought me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go the counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must, I need them to survive. The support group’s meetings help  each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support  on how to cope with depression. By letting my Higher Power help  me, I am beginning to feel free from  depression. I am not so nervous and tensed up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence in myself. I still have trouble with  my sleep pattern and I am getting some motivation back. I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths when I am nervous or troubled. This was  suggested by my therapist. I am also learning how to stand up for myself.

All these new tools have helped me  and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look toward to the future, but not live there.  It will take me a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

++++++++++++++++Anonymous member of Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.

SOURCE:  (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages. 148-149.

Get connected! Learn how to get connected and begin feeling better!!

#NINE BELIEF

Excerpts from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017) DAP. Louisville. pgs 47-50.

“Withdrawing from friends and other social contacts is the first clue that you are slipping back into the isolation and pain of depression. Move toward a friend,  get a sponsor, and go to a 12 Step meeting. Ask your Higher Power for that  nudge that can guide you into the appropriate path.”

“I know in my heart that when I just sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the terrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen, that is when I depress  myself even more. Get connected!”

It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing infor- mation, which describes how we habitually store the negative but continue to dump the positive information which continually  24/7 flows into our brain. These negative thoughts and feelings persist in keeping  us falling back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me and that is why I distance myself from everyone. Part of my nature when depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening, like a child afraid of the dark.

We know that depression grows stronger when   isolating ourselves from others.

Dorothy Rowe,  tells us in her award winning book, DEPRESSION: THE WAY OUT OF YOUR PRISON, that

“Seeing yourself as  a basically  good person reduces the need  for other people’s approval. If you see yourself as good, you  can set up a select group of people whose approval you desire and can be indifferent to the opinion of the multitude. But if you see yourself as basically bad then you need everybody’s approval….”

David Karp,   in  SPEAKING OF SADNESS  shares the following thought

” that depression is an illness of isolation, a dis-ease of disconnection. As with much of social life, and consequently with much compelling sociological analysis, it is irony that captures the complexity of things. The irony to be explained in Chapter 2 is that depressed persons greatly desire connection  while they are simultaneously deprived of the ability to realize it. Much of depression’s pain arises out of the recognition that what might make one feel better –human connection–seems impossible in the midst of a paralyzing episode of depression. It is rather like dying from thirst while looking at a glass of water just beyond one’s reach.”

For those who have no Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group to connect with in their own local community, our  Publisher, Depressed Anonymous Publications has made available the HOME SELF STUDY KIT. The HOME  SELF STUDY KIT program of recovery includes both the  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.  These  two excellent guides provide us with a path out of depression.   By  answering the stimulating  questions  as provided by the WORKBOOK, one also is able to discover the nature of depression while learning how to apply the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous to their own lives.

No longer do we have to be alone or feel disconnected in our depression. We provide the necessary resources to help an individual be connected with a community worldwide  who know what it means to be depressed. You don’t have to be alone any longer!

To see what literature is available from our Publisher,   visit the STORE here at our website  www.depressedanon.com. You can now order online.

Filling up the “hole in our soul.”

AFFIRMATION

On this New Year’s day, I find that my work for my life today, and just for today, is to reflect on a time in my life that I have experienced a feeling of happiness and contentment.  If I can’t remember a pleasant situation from the  past, I will construct  a happy situation and imagine it occurring right now. Why not?

“In getting my priorities straight, my depression got better.”

CLARICATION OF THOUGHT

In my relationship to God, I am beginning to realize that it isn’t so much that I don’t believe that I’ll ever feel better, but that I just can’t know for sure.   My first priority is to admit that I do have a problem and that with God’s help, I can through my depression.

As soon as I give up my victim stance and begin to take responsibility for my feelings and my life, I can start to work as if my recovery is really up to me and that I will, in time, succeed in getting out of this deep dark hole that I call depression. My priority is to begin each day with  the conviction that the Twelve Steps  will be an aid in my getting out of  depression.

MEDITATION

God, we seek your guidance and your strength for our lives. Whatever we have lost  or feel we have lost, please heal the “holes in our souls” and fill them with your love and serenity. In our quiet time today, this first day of the New Year, show us what part of us needs to be healed.

See Steps 1,2, and 3.

__________________________________________________________________________

SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS : 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR MEMBERS OF TWELVE STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS. is now on KINDLE. Have it handy, everyday, and each day this coming year,  for your uplifting thought. You’ll be glad that you did.

PLEASE VISIT OUR STORE here at our website www.depressedanon.com.

Depressed Anonymous had been the ultimate key to a successful life.

Depressed Anonymous had been the ultimate key to a largely successful life for me. Prior to entering the program, I had no money, no driver’s license, and had dropped out of college  due to poor grades and a personal breakdown for which I was hospitalized. I had not then worked Step One because I wasn’t aware that I was powerless over my depression, that my life was disorganized as the mess in my closet.

During the first night in the hospital,  a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the  Twelfth Step, (Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all our affairs) but has also given me a key which would open many doors for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a  ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me.  With the love, support, and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward my independence  for me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me in for a road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”

Lena, in  PERSONAL STORIES (#2): “We never talked about our feelings. ” Pages 112-113.

SOURCE:  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville .

Our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening!

 

 

Antidote: “A remedy to counteract a poison.” This is the definition as given by Webster’s dictionary. Fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or might be the fears from the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today. Today is all I have.

So often I hear others say that they have been depressed all their lives until – let me repeat- until they hear other stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than  themselves that they did and are feeling better now.  I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.

“I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.”

“We of (AA) and  Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.

 

SOURCES:

Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. May  10. Page 95.

Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015 ) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.