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Old 01-16-2011, 09:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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44 days sober with untreated mental illness

I haven't drank since my 2nd dui, going to alcohol education classes twice a week, 12 step twice a week, calling people every day, coming here every day, reading everyday. I do not feel in danger of drinking right now, as the legal consequences would be severe. I will be under observation and subject to random testing for the next 2 years. I am actually happy about that, because I can use this time to change my way of thinking so that when I am left unmonitored, I will have the tools to resist old behavior patterns. That's all well and good, but I sincerely believe I have untreated mental illness. Have since my teen years. I have been to several counselors in the past. Went to county mental health after my 1st husband died, but I'm not sure what her qualifications were as all she ever seemed to say was "and how does that make you feel"? Had an unlicensed abusive church counselor suggest I ask my doctor for anabuse, prozac and wellbutrin 9 years ago. Shortly after that, I became suicidal for the first time in my whole life, then got 1st dui. The church provided free professional counselling for a year after that, but my trust level for counselors was very low at that time. Last year I began seriously thinking about getting a proper diagnosis, but knew I would have to save up for it. I have no insurance and our family of 6 is way below the poverty level. Yes, there is lower cost county services, but it is also lower quality (at least in my area) I am afraid to put the chemical balance of my brain in the hands of someone who graduated at the bottom of their class, ya know? So now that I have this 2nd dui, I seriously have nothing to spare financially. It is all going towards legal requirements. So now what? On top of that, my fiancÚ is also an alcoholic/workaholic. I see him for 5 minutes in the morning, 5 after he gets home, 15 for dinner and 5 as he stumbles in drunk from his shop to go to bed. His drinking isn't tempting me, but it sure leaves me feeling lonely. He is happy I quit drinking but disappointed and growing impatient with my lack of productivity around the house. I told him I understand his frustration, and feel terrible that I am not pulling my weight and can't understand why I don't just get my butt in gear, but that I think it is something deeper. That I need a mental health evaluation. He'll nod in agreement, but it's more like he's just agreeing that I'm a nut or something. He says we'll take care of it when he picks up some extra work, but he picks up extra work almost every weekend, but usually does it for barter while there are a dozen things he has earmarked to be taken care of with that same future "extra money". So today, I would just like to say I am doing the best I can. I am 44 days sober with untreated mental illness and an AF, yet I'm still standing by the grace of God. Thank you!
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What is your twelve step Sponsor advising you to do?

I would sure hate to be second guessing someone who has first hand, face to face knowledge of the situation, as some of us with chemical dependency problems can con and BS the best of them in an attempt to skirt the uncomfortable consequences of our behavior. It can be a dis-service to buy into a situation like that. Fatally.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sure Lushwell, you caught me, I'm trying to con and BS to skirt the whole thing. Lucky for you ya didn't get sucked in. So glad you were the first to offer a constructive opinion!
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have gotten some excellent care at the local clinic. If not that, then you deserve to set aside some money to see someone. Your health is worth every bit of that. If you see a private care physician, they usually have samples to defray the cost and there are patient assistance programs that can get you any necessary meds for free.
Your health is too important to put off.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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12 step programs and sponsors are not medical doctors by the way and have no business involving themselves in such matters. I think most refuse to do so.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you Live!
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If I hadn't said it someone else would have..no problem.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Nikkle View Post
Sure Lushwell, you caught me, I'm trying to con and BS to skirt the whole thing. Lucky for you ya didn't get sucked in. So glad you were the first to offer a constructive opinion!
I missed the part about what your sponsor advised....?
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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In the mental health forum it isn't customary to seek the advice of one's sponsor for treatment of mental illnesses. It just is outside their scope of experience and would be extremely irresponsible.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lushwell: I missed the part where you offered compassion rather than further conflict.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:16 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Withholding the information of a potential mental health disorder from someone who has committed to helping would be extremely irresponsible, let alone disrespectful.

I would suggest you read the chapter "Working with others".

A little excerpt from the Big Book, chapter 7, first edition:

It may mean the loss of many nights' sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to police courts, sanitariums, hospitals, jails and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected. A drunk may smash the furniture in your home, or burn a mattress. You may have to fight with him if he is violent. Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction. Another time you may have to send for the police or an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet such conditions.

The calender has changed. The illness of alcoholism hasn't. Nor has its most effective treatments. What we did then, applies now.

Never underestimate the ability and resources of a network of AA members on a mission to help. A drunk on their own is hampered by their illness. Sober AA'ers don't have that handicap.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I do not participate in any 12 step program..so admittedly my views have come about from what I have read from others here. Carol (the mod) and NandM are the two I had in mind. Carol has a rather succint way of saying it that she takes her medical concerns to her dr and her AA concerns to AA.
I do have a mental disorder and I do not trust anyone other than a professional to give me advise about it. There is alot of stigma and misunderstanding about mental illness and to take the advice of the general public can often be harmful. I have seen it happen here.
The only good advise I can give is see your dr. Be honest with your dr about any addictions or drug/alcohol use.
I have learned to keep my mental illness private in the public sector. The stigma always asserts itself and I wish to avoid that, as it is very handicapping..sometimes worse than the actual illness.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Lushwell: If I understand you correctly, you are questioning whether I have disclosed my mental health issues to my sponsor. I do not have a sponsor yet, though I am actively seeking one and have asked a few people I believe to be solid to prayerfully consider doing so. I am eager to work the steps and cooperate with their guidance. They have agreed to pray about it and told me in the meantime, to call them anytime, which I have. I can only imagine you will quote the "I do not have a sponsor yet" part and assume I am not trying and/or being dishonest and /or shirking responsibility. I have no control over your opinion.

As far as working with others and an AA sponsor's duties:

"Sometimes you will have to call a doctor and administer sedatives under his direction. "

I find this idea to be frighteningly antiquated. There have been many advances in the field of mental health. My sobriety is too important to leave in the hands of an untrained, although well meaning sponsor. It seems like you were implying that I am a mental health drunk, rather than a sober, recovering peer with a mental health issue. That one is only considered a sober AAer if they are without this added challenge or handicap as you put it. I realize that is just my interpretation and I may have taken that the wrong way, so feel free to further explain, so I can truly understand.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Carol has a rather succinct way of saying it that she takes her medical concerns to her dr and her AA concerns to AA.

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Old 01-16-2011, 12:12 PM   #15 (permalink)
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dang it, I knew I spelled succinct wrong! LOL
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Smile

Is she the one who said she takes her toothache to the dentist? I really liked that! I guess I thought it would be safe to discuss what appeared to be my financial roadblock to proper mental health treatment in the Mental Health Issues forum of SR, haha!
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Nikkle, I'm at about 48 days sober and I suffer from depression and have a history of eating disorders so I know how hard it is to overcome alcoholism when you're also dealing with mental health issues.

Because of financial woes and the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere the only place I can get treatment is at the county run Community Mental Health Clinic. It's not the best but I do think it's better than nothing (I've tried nothing and I was barely able to function).

I'd urge you to go to whatever facility is available and at least get a diagnosis so you know for sure what you're dealing with.

(Congratulations on your sobriety!)
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:41 PM   #18 (permalink)
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yes, that was CarolD who said that about the toothache.

I also am in the local mental health care now and have been for about 2 years. and much to my surprise..in the end it has turned out better than that super expensive pdoc I was seeing (same goes for the psychologist)

there is always an intake interview, almost always with a licensed MSW. They are qualified to make a diagnosis. The first protocol these days for depression is meds. And whether you are at the top of your class or the bottom..there are standardized protocols and often because we all respond to them so very differently, it all winds up a trial and error process finding the right one(s) anyway..no matter who you see.

I also had an intake lady one time do my history with that "and how did that make you feel?"...by the time she was done I felt like getting drunk into oblivion. LOL I later told her that. I don't like those "autopsies" either.
They are not always like that. I am better at stating boundaries now.

Some clinics (most, I think) require that if you see them for meds, you must also participate in some sort of program.. counseling or dx education or etc.
That is one thing you won't have if you see a gp.

I HAVE learned that putting it off doesn't make it better. For me, it gets worse and harder to dig myself out of..and more of my time and life is lost.
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:44 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Misamisa:Congrats on your sobriety as well!
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:54 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I agree Live, I have to start somewhere. Guess I am gearing up for it by talking to you all. Obviously, I can't make any phone calls to the professionals on Sunday afternoon, but I can tomorrow, so today is just the preparation before the new journey. Thanks for those of you who are making it less lonely and confusing.
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