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.

Drinking Depression

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

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 really say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress  in medicating myself. 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. When 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 when I took comfort in being drunk because after awhile the numbness became the only way I could feel better because 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 woolly 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 me with my depression. With 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 a heroin addict and the alcoholic were very similar. The depression I experienced also has 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 my brain and myself.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing  Christians did not drink  and the more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt that 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 understood 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 for help and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to  take the 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 and know when I can make it because it is only opening the door to the past can the light of the present get rid of the darkness today and have hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you, the reader,  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 and that today be your first step towards recovery.

God bless.

—Steve P.  A member of the Louisville Depressed Anonymous Group.

 

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.

A remedy for depression

 

” Years ago, Dr. Alfred Adler prescribed this remedy for depression to a patient: “You can be healed if every day you begin the first thing in the morning to consider how you can bring a real joy to someone else. If you can stick to this for two weeks, you will no longer need therapy.”  Adler’s “prescription,” of  course, is not much different than the suggestion that we work more intuitively The Program’s Twelve Steps to rid ourselves of depression. When I am depressed, do I keep my feelings to myself? Or do I do what friends in The program have suggested that I do?  (Author’s emphasis)

Today I pray

May  I turn myself inside out, air out the depression which has been closeted inside me, replace it with the comfortable feeling that I am cared about by real friends, then pass along that comfort to others caught in the same despair.

Today I will remember

The only real despair is loneliness.

SOURCE:   A DAY AT A TIME.   Hazeldon.  September 10

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.

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.

 

Always trying to “please others” diminished me!

“I’d rather be imperfect and happy than always trying to be perfect.”  The THIRTEENTH WAY to leave the prison of depression.

The following two  excerpts quoted below  are from   Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

”  One of the areas in my life where I strive to excel is in the area of trying to be perfect.  Somewhere in our early development as children we got the message that if we were perfect we could be more acceptable to others. I gradually began to believe the more I  tried to please other’s that this would bring me happiness. Instead all it brought me was a loss of myself.  The loss of self reduced me to a shallow self without direction  or meaning.” Page 63.

”   Eventually, my depression became a sort of a comfort as it kept me from having to risk an unpredictable life. In other words, this way of living took away all hope. This is what keeps many of us depressed. We hold onto the mistaken belief that since bad things happened to us in the past, bad things will continue to happen to us in  the future.” Page 64.

________________________________________________

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

VISIT THE STORE for more information on other publications offered to the depressed by Depressed Anonymous Publications.

GET CONNECTED! CHOICE NOT CHANCE DETERMINES DESTINTY!

The NINTH WAY out of the prison of depression.

The following is an excerpt from the book, Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“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 onto the appropriate path.

There are two times that we need to go to a 12 Step meeting, 1) One, when we don’t want to attend a 12 Step meeting and 2) secondly when we  do want to go to a meeting. From my personal experience I can share with you that it’s when I go to my meeting that I am able to come away from it with something positive to think about. I can honestly say that I feel better after a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I know in my heart that when I just want to sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the horrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen to me, that is when I depress myself even more. Get connected. ”

It’s not complicated.

I’ve had it living with feeling out of control.

If you really want to leave behind your painful sadness, the daily fears, and the feelings of worthlessness, then begin now to admit the unmanageability   of your depression. You have had it with feeling out of control.

That’s the way it is with depression –over the years you get comfortable with feeling miserable which doesn’t mean that you like it, but that you’re just too afraid to risk something different. When you want to change and leave your depression behind, the choice that you want to make is immediately dashed to the ground because you just feel that there is no hope for you. “I can’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and start to feel better,” you tell yourself. Most of the time, we tell ourselves that we’ll do it when we feel better. Folks, let me tell you something – you’ll never feel better until you begin by physically get moving. We all know that we feel better only when we get in gear and get busy – distracting ourselves from those ever present miserable thoughts whispering how bad we are  and how hopeless life seems to be.”

____________________HELP IS ON THE WAY! ___________________________

SOURCE:         Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 32.