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.

 

 

Before attending my mutual aid support group, Depressed Anonymous, I felt that I had nothing to live for.

 

Tommie tells us in Depressed Anonymous(c) 3rd edition,  how she honestly thought  “she had nothing to live for.  As a mother of five beautiful sons, a wife,and  a mother to be of quads, I wasn’t sure that I was a  member of the human race. I couldn’t eat, sleep, and cried for no reason. I wanted to be alone. It even got to the point that I didn’t know who I was. I was a physical body without a life.”

I’ve been going to Depressed Anonymous now for about five months. The program and my new found friends have been a  miracle of God. So many people have a big misconception about our meetings. They think we all sit around, tell our stories and cry on each other’s shoulders. Well there is a news flash for them – we learn that each and every one of us has experienced some degree of depression in our lives. We find out how to laugh, to comfort each other and  sincerely understand what each one is going through because we all have been here one time or the other. I  also learn that there is always  hope. Since coming to Depressed Anonymous, I have learned to grieve for my lost children and how to live with my depression. I still have good and bad days. …My life is not perfect, but now with the love of my God, my family, my friends and my husband, life is now worth living. But, the most important thing is that there is life after depression.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 132-133. Personal Stories section of the book.

Please VISIT THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE for more information about Depressed Anonymous and how to order books online.

Higher Thoughts (positive)are like vitamins! Have you taken yours today?

 

Affirmation

I am able right now to read and discover how I can undepress my self.

“… It seems that the physiological changes which accompany fear can have profound effects on the body which lead to a breakdown of the immune system, the system which enables us to throw off  obnoxious substances and viruses. Once this  this system ceases to function efficiently we are laid open to the ravages of all kinds of diseases.”

Reflection

It happens frequently that those who come to the office and say that they have had a cold which they haven’t been able to shake off,   are oftentimes under an undue amount of stress and pressure. The effects of continued worry and tension accumulate over time and should bring with it the effects of an impaired autoimmune system.

My body is made up of various systems all intended to work in conjunction and in harmony with each other. One of the many ways I could work against my stress   and overcome depression is to understand how I set myself up for depression. Sadness and depression aren’t caused just by a few irrational thoughts held over time – – if that was the case, then all of us would be depressed all the time. Depression, to be overcome, has to be understood and the best way to understand it is to begin to see that no matter how unclear is its origins, I’m still unable to do something so that I can undepressed myself.

Meditation

“God, put your hand in our hand and give us the gift of understanding those  areas, past and present in our lives which continue to produce those  thoughts  of self-hate and fear.”

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Personal comments

Source: Copyright ( c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve-Step support groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 41. February 24.

STOP SIGNS AND SUNSPOTS

My name is Linda and the first time I read Depressed Anonymous,   I did not like it and got angry. The first part of the book about turning over our minds and life to a Higher Power sounded good.  I was ready to do that. ” Hey, here it is God! You take it! No more depression.”  But then came the part about a moral inventory, shortcomings, and the big one is that I depress myself.

“What’s he talking about?” I said to myself as I read the book. I had tried to un-depress myself many times. I put the book down, and went to work . But as I was walking around at work that night feeling very depressed, bits  and pieces of the book kept popping into my head and I started to think of the  word “stop” just like the book suggested to do.  “I depressed myself, I can un-depress myself” I said to myself.

Look for “SUNSPOTS”, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that just  by thinking about the book and what it  said made  me feel a little bit better.  Then a piece of a song popped into my mind: “Seek you first the Kingdom  of God and His righteousness , and all the others will be added to you.” “Hey! A SUNSPOT!” I said to myself.

Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better –I did it!  I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself! I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.  I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future.  I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need  them.

I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me though.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 114. Personal Stories section.