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.

 

 

Unpleasant emotions, such as fear, anger, resentments and tension work against recovery.

 

”  I don’t believe that you can  snap out of your depression, or suddenly and dramatically get your life turned around by going to one Depressed Anonymous meeting, or reading the 12 Steps five times hour. It just doesn’t happen that way, especially if you have lived with your depression for any length of time.  Even though we emphasize that your depression is not a disease, we do want you to know that a depression over a long time could cause physical problems and upset the metabolism of the human organism… unpleasant emotions such as fear, anger, resentment, tension and depression work against recovery.

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 31.

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.

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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.

I was a compulsive over-eater.

“… a friend told me about Depressed Anonymous and I was so desperate that I went. To my surprise, these wonderful people accepted me, all of me for myself.  They encouraged me right from the start. They were open and honest about their pain and constantly reassured me that I could make it.  But I would have to work very hard, because you have to really fight depression – negative thoughts replaced by positive thoughtsaction to create  motivation. Most of all, I had to surrender to God, quit controlling everything and everyone, including God.  Let go and let God! So I started reading the Twelve Steps. At first I was really rebellious, so much so that I didn’t go back for two weeks. I was too depressed, but inside I knew the Steps had the key to get me out of this prison. They pointed me to my Higher Power, which unashamedly is Jesus Christ. Now I attend every meeting, sharing the things I learned and the times I fail (which are still quite  a few) into depression. But it is working and I could not be writing this right now if it was not for the love and the support of these very special people. As a matter of fact, I told them once a week was not enough for me. The leader suggested  that I start another one which is just what I have done. I now attend the meetings twice a week–twice is nice.

To sum it up, Depressed Anonymous has pointed to the only hope there is – our Higher Power is the only way out.  Our  Higher Power is the key, the life and the hope. And once I have been able to admit that, everyone in the  group has been very loving and supportive. After all, they have all been where I am today.

-Linda’s story as presented in the Personal Stories section  of  Depressed  Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011).  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,  KY.   40217. Pages  116-117.

“To live is to participate.”

“Our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery is one of hope and peace.  The more active I become in my efforts to think and act positive the more confident and free I become.” The TWELFTH WAY to leave the prion of depression. An excerpt from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“It is recommended that if you want to be helped by our program of recovery it is best to go to at least six meetings before you make any long term commitment to whether or not the group is for you. Just  as it has taken time to get ourselves depressed, in some cases it may be a lifetime…There is a Swahili saying that states
to live is to participate.” How true this is especially if you happen to be depressed. One of the things we want to do when depressed is hide and isolate ourselves. We don’t want anyone to bother us. We want to be left alone….You will  start feeling different about yourself the more meetings you attend. In time you will be taking the focus off yourself as you listen how others are showing improvement of mood and behavior and you will discover that they are much like yourself. You are not alone. You begin to hope again.”

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Give yourself the opportunity to attend a meeting and hear how others, much like ourselves, are feeling better. Gradually, for those who keep coming back to the meetings, week after week, will begin the journey out of the prison of depression . Wouldn’t you like to try it?

You begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim…

These Twelve Steps work for those who work the program and who try to live one day at a time. Many times we have been so scared of being rejected once more that we have withdrawn deeper into the anguish of our shame and hurt. We need to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story. There is something healing about hearing ourselves speak to others about our own journey in life and the many emotional potholes that we have fallen into from time to time. We have felt our lives were jinxed. But now we can begin to feel hopeful when other members of the group  shake their heads in knowing approval of what we are saying when we tell our story.  Most have  been where we are now. And the more we make an effort to come to meetings regularly, the more we will find members of the group telling us how they are seeing a change in the way we act, talk, and look. We will accept the group’s comments as being true and honestly expressed. These people speak our language and they all have been where we are now. You gradually begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim the more you work the program and get excited about the possibility of helping others. When you start reaching out to others in the group, it is at that point that you are carrying the message of hope to others. You have a future with Depressed Anonymous.”

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SOURCES: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 105.

Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

NOTE:  These two works comprise the Home Study Kit which can be purchased TOGETHER  at VISIT THE STORE.

THE MIRACLE OF THE GROUP

“By our continual shutting ourselves up in the little world of our own mind, we gradually sink more and more into despair and feel that no one can understand how we think and feel. The biggest freedom that we can gain from confessing to someone else is that we no longer have to have it all together and be perfect.  We can begin to  admit  it when we are petty, selfish and self-centered. We can then admit that we want to have restored a sense of peace by getting free  from  all worry and fear from the past and by turning those over to the  Higher Power. We can then discover that forgiving ourselves and being forgiven by God are one in the same thing. The group will see to it that the more you admit your own fears about yourself and the future, the less terror the present will hold for you.”

“My dear friends, it is this spiritual experience, to feel that God is with you, and that this joy is the joy that will restore your youth and renew your spirit.  We no longer have to be the way we are -we can choose to feel and be different. Others are doing  it-so can you!”

Depression feeds on hurt, pain and self-doubt. When we are depressed we have a need to bash ourselves for our misguided errors and sinfulness. The Fifth Step  if done genuinely and prayerfully, will in time help restore our sense of freedom and belief that we are truly forgiven.  It is in the miracle of the group and its acceptance, love and nurture that helps the depressed person feel secure without recourse to depression.”

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, examining Step Five, asks the following question at 5.21:  List what action you will have to take if you want to respect yourself again? Remember, it’s our past need to tell ourselves how bad and unacceptable that we are that keeps us depressed. This is a “wrong” if there ever  was one.

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HOME STUDY KIT

SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 64 (Book One of the Home Study Kit).

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002). Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 52. (Book Two of the Home Study Kit).

VISIT THE STORE   at this site for ordering online.

 

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 am responsible for me!

Higher Thoughts for Down Days

I am responsible for me!

” Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery…people who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

The ability to respond to the truth of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous comes particularly forceful when we have hit bottom in our lives and there seems to be no way out of what troubles us. This is where I begin to take responsibility for myself and ask others for help. Who is the best person to ask for help when you are depressed? Obviously, it’s that person who ha been where you are now. I believe that one of the biggest assets of being a member of Depressed Anonymous is the fact that so many people begin to live with happiness, peace, and hope after they have given up control of their lives to the Higher Power.  They indeed have hit bottom and there is no way for them  but up.

To say that my life is out of control is usually hard for any of us to have to admit. The pride that said that I had to please everyone to be happy, or in order to get other’s approval, had to do everything perfect, has resulted  in my depressing myself until I can hardly stand it. Now that I am telling it like it is and I begin to accept myself as I am and refuse to  let other’s opinions of myself overwhelm or dictate life to me, I begin to feel better.

MEDITATION

God, put your love into our hearts and your guidance into our minds as we struggle, day after day, to live with the understanding that we can only do your will by beginning to be responsible for ourselves.

 

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 244.

 

The risk of being willing to change!

“When you and I begin to work on our life’s journey and start to make this list of people we have resentments against, and begin to forgive them, then this is the beginning of my making things right in our life. You might now be feeling better for the first time in your life as you continue to make a conscious effort to take responsibility for your sadness.  You realize the effort to take responsibility for your sadness.  You realize that you no longer want to stay depressed but instead are willing to risk feeling better (differently). This is taking the risk of being willing to change.

When a person stops smoking there is a residual craving for nicotine, and the craving is most painful for the first weeks after quitting the addiction.  Gradually over time, and due to being able to say no to the impulse to smoke  you feel stronger and so the painful withdrawal becomes less intense.  The same applies to the addiction of depression in that at first it’s sad thoughts, but with time and working our Twelve Steps and our active involvement  with the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous  we have the strength to say no to these sad thoughts and begin to choose hope and serenity instead,.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.