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I need some tough talk.

Old 10-25-2012, 08:44 AM
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I need some tough talk.

Hi everyone,

Since my son relapsed, I've been wobbly. I don't want to drink, but am angry, disappointed, grieving my son's relapse, which I expected. He's 15, for cripes' sake.

I think that my son's accident, his relapse, and the strain of meeting a tough deadline have pushed me into depression. I have a history of it, especially SAD. I've not had it in at least four years, though.

This is what I have done, with God's help:
a. made an appointment with a therapist--I go Monday.
b. gone to the doc and gotten depression meds, which I've come to see don't agree with me. (They made me feel anxious, and like I was on speed.) I plan to talk to the therapist about this Monday; I need to see a meds doc, not my primary-care physician.
c. Prayed.
d. Gone to meetings, although I've slacked off. The depression makes being around and talking to people hard.
d. Made a gratitude list, and recited out loud all that I am grateful for. And there's a LOT to be grateful for.

What I have not done: gone to Al-Anon. I've said over and over that I will go. I have not.

Last year, I went to several meetings at my sponsor's suggestion. The women depressed me--most of them older, having dealt for years with drug-addicted husbands and sons. I called one once, for support, and she kept the focus on my son, rather than suggest what I could do.

This is no excuse. Yet I keep using it.

I am an alcoholic living with two addicts. I have largely let go with my husband. He's a good man, he simply does not want to deal with the issues of addiction, especially his own (food). I've gotten the support I've needed from my AA meetings, but need more now.

My son is a newbie. There are no teen meetings where I live. He's been clean since the relapse, and is trying hard to "be a good boy." He's also gone to his meetings without complaint, and has a few friends there. But his way of staying clean is to stay in the house beyond going to meetings. He has one good friend in school who doesn't use, but he doesn't get to see him often. I am suggesting extracurricular activities. He's most interested in getting a job, but his grades are iffy.

But I need to keep the focus on me. I am not doing what I should be doing, which is hitting Al-Anon meetings. The depression is making it harder.

My sponsor, who loves Al-Anon, has kept her distance as I struggle with this, which is right. While I have some resentment about it, the issue is me. I have prayed to God to help me get to Al-Anon, but I guess ego, control issues, pride, depression, grief are getting in my way. I would like to be willing to go, and pray to be willing.

This is too long, but my sponsor is giving me space, and there is nothing more she can say. I am hoping maybe God will speak through someone here.

Thanks for listening.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:08 AM
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Hugs. This too shall pass. It sounds like you are doing many of the right things to hold yourself together. Just because your son relapses doesn't mean you have to - into codependency or alcoholism. You know that help is out there. You know what you need to do - just like a cancer patient. No one WANTS to go through miserable chemo and radiation, but they do it anyway. They just buck up and do it for everyone else in their lives. It is not going to hurt you. It will make you better. So I hope you will just TRY to make it to a meeting - try to step outside your depression, outside of yourself and get to the al-anon meeting.

The disease of depression is doing everything in it's power to keep you sick. So you are going to have to fight back by going to that meeting. Good luck. No matter what, you'll get through this - as long as you stay sober. Keep us posted on how things are doing.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:57 AM
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When I'm paralyzed by inaction due to fear, depression, anger, etc. I do something that I once heard referred to as "throwing one leg over the fence" - I take a simple, small step, that will make it difficult for me to not follow up with more steps in that direction. The idea is that once you start over the fence you have to pick a side, you can't just stay up there straddling the fence forever without discomfort, so you are essentially forced to act in some fashion.

What I did with my recovery initially when I was isolating was to make an appointment with a therapist. I made an appointment request for some unknown time in the future, nothing immediate or threatening, and I even contacted her by email - didn't even have to use the phone. I made an appointment request. Once she called back to set up the appointment I was halfway over the fence, so I set the time up - and then I had to make my appointment, after all, I had set one up and she had reserved space, etc. I was on my way. But it all started with a simple email that I sent anonymously from my computer, one tiny three-minute action.

I do this for less serious things, too. I put on my gym clothes and my running shoes in the morning. Now I can go to the gym or run, or I can go up and take my sports bra off and change into normal clothes, admitting defeat after having done nothing. I've done that before. The choice is still mine, I just try to put myself in a position where I will make the choice that I know is best for me.

Maybe you could make plans to attend a meeting with someone you know who will also be there, or someone who you know will ask you about how your meeting went. Or make plans to meet up with someone for coffee at a cafe right near the meeting location, for the hour right before the meeting, so that you're already next door when the meeting starts. Or maybe you can send out an email inquiring about the meeting schedule or meeting details to initiate contact. Any small thing can work, as long as it gets one leg over that fence. If you fall back off onto this side of the fence, that's okay too, we're here!
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ISOHumility View Post
But I need to keep the focus on me. I am not doing what I should be doing, which is hitting Al-Anon meetings. The depression is making it harder.

My sponsor, who loves Al-Anon, has kept her distance as I struggle with this, which is right. While I have some resentment about it, the issue is me. I have prayed to God to help me get to Al-Anon, but I guess ego, control issues, pride, depression, grief are getting in my way. I would like to be willing to go, and pray to be willing.
Several things have come to mind, including suggestions on what I have quoted from your post.

I have had more experience with depression than I ever thought was possible. It can be absolutely crippling. I completely agree with seeing a med doctor qualified to determine/prescribe appropriate antidepressants. Personally I started off seeing a psychiatrist every month to closely monitor medication/s and the effects and benefits, after I was first prescribed by my primary care provider.

It was important for me to find a psychiatrist who took a personal interest in my case, was determined to find the right med/s, and made it clear that medication alone wasn't the only answer, but was an important part of a larger picture, which I already knew.

On the subject of sponsors, I have outgrown many along the way. I also found out the hard way not to put them on a pedestal, and take everything they say/do as gospel. They have feet of clay like everyone else.

I think there are times for a sponsor to step back, and there are times the sponsee needs more intensive help. However, that sponsee has to ask for it, and I don't know about you, but I am still terrible in asking for that help!

Any time I have had major surgery and know I will be going through emotional and physical challenges post-op, I let program people know, including sponsors, that I need the help in getting to meetings during this difficult period.

I have asked for extra help during very difficult times, like the period of time where things were going down the drain with my youngest daughter, then 15, her eventual running away, and subsequently being put into the system for 16 months, far away from me.

Do not be afraid to use a call list. Tell the person you are completely overwhelmed and need to get to meetings. Ask if they can pick you up for the next meeting.

Shave things down to 5 minutes at a time if need be. I have used this technique many times to cope with overwhelming circumstances.

I do understand where you are at, minus the spouse in the home.

I'd be very glad to PM you my phone number if you wish. I only work part-time due to my disabilities, and am home all day for a few days while giving an epidural time to work.

I want to help if you will accept it!

Sending you hugs of support!
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:33 PM
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Thanks so much to those of you who responded!

I lost my response trying to insert an emoticon--drat! But the gist is that I went to my meeting, talked to my sponsor, and feel a bit stronger. The responses to this thread have helped a lot.

The next Al-Anon meeting is at 10 am Tuesday. I will continue to pray to be willing. Prayer in action is to continue to make meetings, call my sponsor, and ask for help.

Speaking of which--Freedom, I will take you up on your kind offer. PM on the way!
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