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.

 

 

INSANITY IS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS.

How true. It’s like being around persons who are continually toxic (negative) and for us to try and make them happy. Or someone in the family smokes and we  tell them they need to quit smoking. And how has that worked for you?   Or someone who continues to pig out on junk food day after day and who is obese and you try to have them change their eating habits. How  has that worked out for you?  But you say, we have our own problems.

Today I tell myself, like all the days past, I am going to make a change in the way I  talk to myself. You know, all those thoughts which keep circling in our minds, like the proverbial  merry-go-round, riding  our horse, bobbing up and down,  going nowhere, and telling ourselves we must get off before we fall off.   And….what do we do? Yep, we  keep riding this bobbing up and down horse. Again, we tell ourselves, I’ll do it when I feel better;  When I have the time, the money for counseling, the friend who will listen to me forever and not run away like all the rest of those who said  they were my friends. Where do you go after the continual self speak which pounds in to our heads thoughts voicing how  I am unacceptable to myself and everyone else. Another horse (thought)  that I ride that bobs me up and down is the one that tells me how bad and unacceptable that I am.

How do I keep from riding a dead horse? Get off!

In Step Two, and the commentary which tells us all about this Step Two in our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOK — “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” we learn some things about the compulsivity of sadness that has gripped our minds and our whole physical self. The insanity of our thinking continues to make us feel helpless and hopeless. I got off the merry-go-round years ago. At times I almost bought a ticket and got back on but then I remembered I had a “toolbox” which continues to provide me with a spiritual and Step by Step  program  to NOT get trapped into the maddening, insane way that caused so much pain in the past.  DO YOU WANT TO GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND OF INSANITY?

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Books from Depressed Anonymous  Publications which can help: Depressed Anonymous, Third edition, 2011. Also, I’ll do it when I feel better.”