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.

 

 

Share your story and save your life.

Last night at a Depressed Anonymous meeting, a member shared how she felt that our members do a great service to those still depressed by sharing their story of recovery from depression. It was then  pointed out that Ralph, a member of Depressed Anonymous for 23 years now, had his own story of recovery published in the first edition of Depressed Anonymous(1998). The title of his story appeared under the title Depressed Anonymous is Ralph’s Guardian Angel. The story is a real tribute to that person’s faith  who  to this day continues to use  the Twelve Steps as a way to  stay out of depression. His story and  the many others in the Depressed Anonymous book, now in its  3rd edition, continue to inspire us and give us hope. We too  can have the same experience as Ralph. In fact, it was suggested at the meeting last night  that Ralph write and give an account for how his life has been  since the time that he penned that account (1992) of his own personal recovery from depression.

In Ralph’s personal account t of his recovery experience he tells us ” that the group has been my guardian angel who was speaking to me all the time. I learned that there was hope for me after all.  There is a new rebirth in me spiritually, emotionally and physically. I believe that I can go on with my life without all the fears that I bottled up inside  me.  As long as I have faith in my Higher Power and the Depressed Anonymous group, there will be no mountain that I cannot climb. I am forever grateful.”

(Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Personal Stories section. Story #7 on pages 117-118.)

I might add that Ralph has been the staying force  in our community for facilitating a  Depressed Anonymous meeting, ensuring that the group has a place to meet,  and just keeping the door open for anyone who wants to find hope and fellowship which is the kind of hope that Ralph found when he entered that door of the fellowship for the first time. (I remember well. I was there./ Editor)

I can tell you that it is in the telling of the story that gives us hope–always. That is why at our Twelve Step meetings we have speakers who share their story of recovery for those not acquainted with the hope, healing and serenity that our recovery  journey provides, one  day at a time. Also, by having so many personal stories in our manual we know how important it is to show that what we believe  actually works. The  ” proof is in the pudding” as the old saying goes. At the beginning of every meeting, the  leader for that meeting shares with the group the way their life was before they found and put the power of the Twelve Steps into their lives, and now, how their life is today.

The more we come together and share our stories, that is our struggles with depression, the more we find the solutions just as did Ralph who found the Depressed Anonymous fellowship to serve as his guardian angel. And from the meeting last night I see that Ralph’s guardian angel is still very much on the job. I am grateful.

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

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