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.

 

 

HAVING A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

THE NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

I was in the middle of working my way out of the fog of my melancholia(depression) when suddenly I felt a lift in my spirit. It felt so strange, this feeling of deliverance. It was the way I was before my disabling sadness imprisoned me. I was always a cheerful and upbeat sort of guy and in the blink of an eye,  I was thinking the pain was over. Not so quick I thought–“this won’t last”. Right on. It didn’t. So, I continued my 5 mile walk through the mall and wondered about this near-life experience that I just had.  It was back to that deadly hollow feeling in my gut  with thoughts that traveled through my brain like cold molasses.

Because I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me physically, mentally and even spiritually, I knew something, whatever that something was had almost completely disabled  me. It was torture to even force myself out of bed. I resented folks who were laughing and having a good time. And this intolerable hollow feeling inside of me continued eating away at me until I thought I would die. I knew I had to keep my job and keep on keeping on. My face became a mask. Inside I was dying. On the outside my persona continued as the nice guy, the upbeat and positive guy. My face turned me into a liar.

Gradually though, my very brief brush with a light feeling, a near-life feeling, became a life once known as a very welcome old friend. The hollowness disappeared. My inside feelings were the same that was on my face.

People talk about having a near- death experience. You know, the light at the end of the tunnel –being in another dimension and then suddenly coming back to the fact that you are not dead–and that you are alive. Most times this experience–this out of body experience makes you appreciate the time that you do have left to live and love others. You now have a full life.

Basically, this is what happened to me when I was so depressed I thought I was losing my mind, everything. I was living life but not on all six cylinders. Now, after coming out of my prison of depression and using the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  for my own recovery my life is no longer just a near-life experience-it is a full  life filled with fellowship friends  and  hope.

Are  you wishing for a full life, filled with hope and serenity?  You can have it. As it says in the PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, #7 “We now have less concern about self and gain interest in others.”

Read about the full life that is available for you @  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3RD EDITION (2013) .DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.