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.

 

 

In getting my priorities straight, my depression got better.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

On this New Year’s Day, I find that my work for my life today is to reflect on a happy period of my life  where I have experienced   happiness and contentment.  If I can’t remember such a time,  then  I will construct a situation of contentment in my mind  and just imagine it happening right now.

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 get 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 getting out of my depression. I know and believe without a doubt that WE have a solution for 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 soul and fill  it with your love and peace. In our quiet time today, show us what part of us needs to be healed.”

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HAVE A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH PEACE !

VISIT THE STORE TODAY AND DISCOVER THE TOOLS THAT WILL BE THE PATHWAY TO YOUR OWN RECOVERY, DAY AFTER DAY.

An excellent tool that is highly recommended for the Depressed Anonymous  group use or individual study is the HOME STUDY KIT which is composed of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) both published by Depressed Anonymous Publications. These two books give a complete listing of the Twelve Steps and a commentary for each Step. The Workbook provides a coordinated listing of Steps with its appropriate questions related to each Step in the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition..

 

 

 

I GOTTA BE ME! I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR ME.

” The sanity of the Twelve Step program is what will eventually help you change how you look at yourself and your experience of depression. The program shows that just because you have always felt miserable is no reason to remain miserable for the rest of your life. The sanity of placing your trust in a Power greater than yourself opens up great possibilities for your personal happiness  and success. If you have felt that you have  to be in total control of every situation in your life, then coming to believe in a power greater than yourself might be a frightening experience.    What would happen if suddenly you couldn’t control your unhappy situation with the comfort of sadness or self-pity?  Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for  our own lives?

The escape into feelings of worthlessness and resignation over my depressing feelings is no longer an acceptable way for me to delay the hard choice of being responsible for me.  This statement is not made to make you feel guilty but only to help you see that, with time and by working the Twelve Steps on a daily basis and having the ongoing fellowship and support of the Depressed Anonymous group, you can begin to choose a way out!”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 42-43.