Lotta was over on her blog today discussing depression and I went and found my rant-i-pants
She made a good point about how the process of 12 Step recovery would be helpful in dealing with a depressed family member. I have 20 years of sobriety this year (it came and went in July, people) and I have to say one of the single most important part of the whole recovery process is honesty.
I have had to sit and listen to people tell me how my addiction to drugs and alcohol affected them. None of it was pleasant but it was important for me to hear. I had to sit and tell others how their behavior affected me. Not all of it was pleasant to say but it was important for me to do it.
From this I learned that I am not
responsible for the other person’s reaction to my words. From this I
learned that *I* simply don’t have the power to make anyone feel bad
unless they want to feel bad, somehow, on some level. One of my former
sponsors used to say, "You can’t go on a guilt trip unless your bags
are already packed". I thought it was fucking stupid then but it sure
makes sense now. I learned that I don’t have to pay attention other’s
opinions or ideas of what I need to say or what I don’t need to say
sometimes. I am the only person who knows what I need.
Other people may know me well enough to
guess, but those are the very few. Only I know what I need to do or say
or be absolutely. Sometimes it takes a while to figure it out over the
cacophony that can sometimes accompany me with difficult situations and
issues but I am always the one who knows what I need.
From my years in 12 Step recovery, I also learned personal
responsibility. Just because I can’t drink doesn’t mean everyone
around me must join me, Frankly, I don’t hang out with people who use
drugs- at least in front of me. Besides, I’ve never known anyone who
shoots smack "recreationally". My point here is, that although I don’t
drink, doesn’t mean you can’t have a glass of wine if we’re out to
dinner. I am responsible for me and if your glass of wine becomes a
problem for me, it’s my problem not yours.
So having said all that, as someone with depression, I have to say
there’s a good amount I am responsible for. I am responsible for taking
my meds and getting my fat ass out of the bed and getting on with my
life, no matter how fucking bleak it looks or feels. Just because I am
depressed doesn’t mean the entire world needs to walk on eggshells nor
does it mean I can take advantage of it.
Am I ALWAYS Successful? No. Are there days when I isolate and indulge my misery? Yes. But doesn’t last long at all. I can’t afford to let it. Besides, Manthing would get on my last fucking nerve until he saw some sort of activity beyond moving from the bed, to the recliner and heating up canned soup for dinner.
I’ve been to that icky place where you desperately want to get out
of bed and literally can’t. I know what that feels like and I know how
hard it is to finally take that step out of the bedroom and into the
bathroom for a hot shower, followed by a short car ride to the
psychologist’s office where you sit, bewildered and wondering how you
got to this place in your life.
Some of us are fortunate enough to
realize you can’t fix what you won’t acknowledge AND gather the tits to grab the tool box and work on it.