Depression during recovery ?

Old 11-15-2020, 03:03 PM
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Question Depression during recovery ?

Hi everyone,
I wrote a post a month or so ago about dating someone in early recovery from drug addiction. (I'll call him 'B'.) We broke up in October and decided to get back together. We broke up because we were both scared that being in a relationship in early recovery (he was 3 months clean at the time) would be detrimental to his recovery. After a month apart, B told me it doesnt feel this way, that he would rather be with me than not, and he doesnt feel like I affect his sobriety in any negative way. While this is nice to hear, I do understand that he's still so early into this (now almost 5 months) and still at risk for relapse. And I have to see if I'm able to handle it if it does happen in the near future ...

But the reason I'm writing now, is because he's depressed. I've been depressed before, and he describes it in a very similar way. Feeling numb, unhappy, hopeless, at times suicidal. Isolating himself from everyone. Feeling a ton of guilt and shame, about everything in his past, and about letting down his friends and family, and me, like not being able to give me everything he thinks I deserve ...

I'm mostly worried that because he's very serious about recovery and does not want to take any medication like antidepressants, is he just destined for long-term depression? Is depression a very common thing in recovery? How long is it supposed to last? This has been like 2 months now. He has days where he feels really good, but they don't last. The next day he can be right back to a very very dark place.

I know that I cannot do anything about this, I want to complement his life, I cant fix his depression. But I care about him so much and it does hurt me to see him struggle. I'm just looking for some hope here I guess. Like, will this get better for him? He did abuse drugs for years. So maybe it'll take years before he's healthy-minded again?

Thanks for reading,
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:16 PM
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Years of depression is a dismal thought.It's a shame he won't take anti depressants. The right one has helped me a good deal.
Cognitive behavioural therapy might help too, not only with the depression but perhaps with the addiction too.
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Old 11-15-2020, 04:27 PM
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Elysian----what kind of "hope" are you looking for, specifically.
I would say that if he is really serious about recovery, that he will throw everything that he has at it. At this point, I would expect that he would be attending AA every day---by phone or Zoom, or whatever, if Covid prohibits in person. He should have communication with his sponsor very, very, frequently. His depression needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist---as there are different etiologies of depression and each person is different. It is too complicated for any of us to make comments on HIS depression.
I am a medical provider, myself, and I have known many recovering alcoholics who take medications for depression.
Having said that---it is not uncommon for alcoholics to be moody and have mood swings and problems of regulating emotions---especially the first year of sobriety. His symptoms seem to be more than just that.

Since you have decided to get back into the relationship with him---this puts you smack in the middle of his alcoholism---his moods---his struggles. How can you not be, when in an early romantic relationship?! His struggles become your struggles. If you push him---conflict begins to occur. This is the problem of relationships--especialy newer ones, during the early recovery period.
Idealy----you should not be discussing very much about his alcoholism and his mental state---he has a LOT of other resources that he should be taking it to,
AA members--his sponsor----his medical doctor---and his psychiatrist (for evaluation of depression/medications or not).

If you decide to stay in the relationship---I suggest that you get as much support and help for yourself as he does---as you will need to know how to detach yourself from entanglement in his problems.
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Old 11-16-2020, 12:13 PM
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Hi Elysian. I think this is a question no one can answer. Is lack of alcohol causing his depression or was he always depressed and alcohol helped mask it? Chicken or egg, no way to know.

I agree that he should be taking this to his support team and I hope a medical doctor is someone he will consult.

There is a huge red flag waving here and maybe you have an inkling about that?

Originally Posted by Elysian View Post
I know that I cannot do anything about this, I want to complement his life, I cant fix his depression. But I care about him so much and it does hurt me to see him struggle. I'm just looking for some hope here I guess.
I wouldn't hope here, why? Because he has told you A. How he feels (depressed) and what he is willing (so far) to do about it - nothing. Please believe him.

Now, I hope I don't sound harsh but if you are going to be in a relationship, really with anyone, it's so important to accept them just the way they are, not the way you wish they could be or have hope they will change, it's rarely the case and it's not good for you. You end up living with the "hope they" person instead of the actual person.

This is what happens in many relationships with addicts, "if they would just stop drinking", "I hope he won't choose alcohol over me and the kids", "he says he can stop drinking anytime he likes". These are just hopes and words without action.

Personally, I would step back a bit. He has basically expressed he is going to handle this his own way. You have no choice but to let him. If you say something like, I hate to see you suffering and hope you get help, that's pretty much all you can do, what he actually does will be up to him.

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Old 11-17-2020, 01:02 PM
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It's common.

Also depends on what the recovery process looks like.

Just quitting drinking / left to your own devices = sitting duck for depression.

Quitting with a support group = less likely

12 step recovery program = far less likely again.

It's kind of like a car restoration.

Bit of new paint - just a slightly dressed up old car.

Full engine overhaul - mostly still an old car, but should run a lot better.

Full strip down rebuild of Everything = all but a brand new car.

So anyone in recovery gets the results they put in.

What's your man doing ?
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Old 11-19-2020, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
you should not be discussing very much about his alcoholism and his mental state---he has a LOT of other resources that he should be taking it to....
Just highlighting this.

We, the alcoholic's loved ones, are usually the least effective and least qualified to be talking with our alcoholic about their issues - and we usually drown in the process. If you're not sure whether this is true, perform your own experiments. Trying getting involved in his recovery and see what happens. Focus on allowing him to seek the counsel of only others in his recovery community and see what happens. My own findings, after having been involved with two alcoholics (one dry and one active) is that trying to help them never, ever, ever works. Worrying about them is the result of trying to help and worry is a one way ticket to misery.

As for depression, I've never known an active or non-recovering alcoholic without it. The only long term "remedy" for an alcoholic's depression is a long term recovery program involving a community of fellow addicts. Medication certainly can greatly enhance this, but medication alone is no "remedy" for alcoholic related depression. Just my observations.
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