The warmth of the sun, the love of my family, and a clear memory of what happened the last time I tried to self-medicate a bad bout of depression with alcohol…those are the reasons I sit here today with 231 days of sobriety — and counting.
Getting out of bed, going to work (on the weekdays) or going out for a walk (thank God for our gorgeous weather this entire weekend), and NOT drinking to feel better, are the extent of my accomplishments since I last checked in here.
Maybe next week I’ll have enough perspective on managing early recovery from addiction and mental health issues at the same time to write my usual tome. I have plenty of thoughts on the subject, just not the clarity or focus to sort them out in writing. Right now I’m too immersed in survival mode (think of it as a poor swimmer in the deep end of the pool, neck straining and feet kicking furiously to keep eyes, nose and mouth above water) to be very articulate.
Even if I had a clear message to convey, I don’t much feel like talking. What can you say, except I’m here, I’m still sober, and I’ll be ok; I’m just not myself right now.
I saw my therapist yesterday, and after she pulled out her DSM-5 and ticked off all the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder that she could see I met — I think I hit 7 of 9 — she pretty much demanded I go to the doctor and revisit the idea of medication. My response was something like, “I f*cking hate going to the doctor!” To which she responded, “Too f*cking bad! Grow the f*ck up!”
There’s no point in arguing with that. 😉
I mean, she’s right, especially since my preferred method of coping with these low points — I haven’t had a depressive episode since I quit drinking in July, which stupidly made me think I might never have one again — is no longer is available to me.
That doesn’t mean it’s not tempting. Self-medication is so easy; no appointments, no insurance, no trial-and-error, just instant results. For many years, reaching for a bottle of tequila at times like these made me feel better. It really did.
Until, as they say, it didn’t.
I remember that last time so clearly. In fact, it was a beautiful sunny day just like today. I’d spent the previous, oh, two weeks, being slowly pulled down by depression’s subtle, insidious undertow, and I sat on my deck, drinking another evening away. I ended up with my phone in my hand, trying to decide whether or not to call the suicide hotline. …
I’ll be eternal grateful to my mother, who got the call instead.
I have not been that close to giving up, to going limp and sinking under water, since that day. But I have no doubt those depths are only a drink — the first drink — away.
I want to keep feeling the sun, and I know I am loved, and that’s why I will not try to drink away these demons, and I will survive.
That’s it, friends, until next week. 😘.