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Old 05-05-2013, 08:36 AM
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self care

Hi
I haven't posted much here, I don't really tend to reach out, but I realized that I I really need some guidance regarding self care. Never been my strong suit. I'm wondering what folks who aren't in a program of any sort do to get and stay well.
I've been sober 11 months...today, actually. The depression got bad enough in March (9 months) that I went to the ER (I have access to critical care through a state program). The other place I wanted to head that day was the train tracks. So now I'm taking 20 mg. of citalopram, but that's the extent of my recovery efforts so far. My question is what do I do? The depression is a huge problem but I think CBT would help with that a lot in addition to meds...anyone taken this approach? Do I need to be seeing a head doc? This is all out of pocket so for now the mental health costs need to be minimal... And it's all overwhelming. I don't know how to move forward with getting well and I'm just stagnating. The first 6-7 weeks on citalopram were great, BTW, but that's wearing off I think. I can. not. bear the thought of slipping back again.
Any input is so appreciated...thanks.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:49 AM
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Try some AA meetings. When I found the right group, it saved my life.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:55 AM
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I've tried meetings, they aren't for me...not at all. But thanks, I know they work for many.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:11 AM
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What is it about meetings that "aren't for you?" During my first round of recovery I didn't think meetings were for me either. I would go and just sit and not take any information away from the meetings. Until I hit rock bottom recently was when I realized I needed the meetings and the social interaction and the ability to voice my problems with people that had similar problems that I did. Now I'm not saying AA meetings are the end all, be all of recovery so I was just wondering what you didn't like about meetings? I'm about as anti-social as they come and it took every ounce of my being to enter that first meeting by myself.

First off I need to start by saying that the following is not meant to be medical advice, it's merely my experience with medication. I can relate because I am on depression (citalopram 20mg) as well as anxiety medication (klonopin 1mg). I'm not so sure the citalopram works but the klonopin definitely does help. The hardest part for me at first was the finances as well. But I came to realize that the finances need to take a backseat to my sobriety. Now I'm not saying go in to a ton of debt to go to a "head doc" but if you know you need help and don't get the help, it's only going to get worse. I took that approach my first time with treatment and I ended up losing my job because of my addiction. I'm now on my second job where they luckily put me on "suspension" (without pay mind you) until I can get clean. This is my last chance or I'm going to be back with my parents...unemployed with a mortgage, car payment, school debt, etc. Personally I would rather go to AA instead of a head doc because I get the same thing out of AA that I do a head doc.

Please don't take this as a post that AA MUST be your route to go, I'm just giving my experience with the difference between AA and head docs. I don't know your experience with AA meetings, and it's definitely not for everyone.

I wish you the best!
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:15 AM
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I see a therapist who has been immensely helpful with life stuff. It took me interviewing several before I found one that believed there are many paths to recovery and strongly believes the Rational Recovery/AVRT method is a way to achieve permanent abstinence.

So, we don't talk about drinking or thinking of drinking because any thought of drinking is my Addictive Voice, not ME and I will never drink again so no use blathering on about that nonsense. We work on my PTSD, anxiety and use a cognitive approach. It's been enormously helpful.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:16 AM
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I just started seeing a therapist who's licensed both as a general practitioner and as an addiction counselor. I highly recommend it. I'm also not insured, but this office has sliding scale rates and as I'm currently unemployed I qualified. It costs a little bit more than $100/session. Not spare change, but not more than I spent on booze in a week.

I should note that I also have anxiety and depression and am on an SSRI, have been since just before I quit drinking, and I started going to the counselor for many of the same reasons you mention. It's too early to say what the outcome is but I can tell you already it feels so wonderful to talk to someone who has experience in the intersection between my various issues.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:21 AM
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Hi there! In addition to the antidepressant and therapy (I haven't tried therapy yet btw), my doc recommended exercising. I have friends that have taken up running and swear by it as the cure for their depression.

I remember feeling overall much better when I was following an exercising routine.

Another recommended approach is meditation and mindfulness. Just breathing seems to help a lot.

Finally, I keep my hands busy with a hobby, which can get your mind focused and relaxed for a long time.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:22 AM
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Thanks lastchance. I've just never been a group-joiner, hated it. And my experience with AA beyond that has also been prettyy negative, for other reasons, from the first time I reached out to the last meeting I went to. And really, I'd still be willing to go to meetings, but as a "system" it's not going to work for me. It'll never be more than a way to spend an hour productively, which, hey, there's nothing wrong with that.
I know I'll have to pay for some sort of mental health care, I'm just wondering how to zero in on what I need without a bunch of "introductory appointments" at $75 each. Like, there are CBT groups which are cheaper, CACs, counselors, psychiatrist for meds probably...and, whatever else. I just need a plan.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by fantail View Post
I just started seeing a therapist who's licensed both as a general practitioner and as an addiction counselor. I highly recommend it. I'm also not insured, but this office has sliding scale rates and as I'm currently unemployed I qualified. It costs a little bit more than $100/session. Not spare change, but not more than I spent on booze in a week.

I should note that I also have anxiety and depression and am on an SSRI, have been since just before I quit drinking, and I started going to the counselor for many of the same reasons you mention. It's too early to say what the outcome is but I can tell you already it feels so wonderful to talk to someone who has experience in the intersection between my various issues.
Good point fantail... a lot of us would go out and spend $100+ on alcohol, but won't even think about spending that amount of money on recovery. Once again, that's how powerful this addiction can be! I believe that would be the BAFFLING part of our addiction.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:41 AM
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I really feel for those who have to by circumstance consider finance as a decider in recovery. Ok. it is so, so what to do. For a poor person relative to access options as the defined by statute, the best way to make money is to not spend it. What that takes for each person is different but it works.
In the meantime there are a number of free options to consider for example through my direct experience like sitting a 3 or ten day (silent, you are strongly encouraged to treat it as if you are the only person there and ignore all others and not speak for nine days) course at the nearest dhamma centre (ixquick : Goenka vipassana, dhamma course time table) The time spent there is beneficial in ways one can only know through experience + there's the added bonus that no extra money will have been spent so that could kick you to the next level. If pressed, finding the time and way is not that hard.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:42 AM
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Thanks Received and Fantail...I definitely think something along the cognitive lines is the way I need to go. I've got the Feeling Good books, and I pretty much need to start with page one. Someone who works with that approach and addiction probably...good place to start, thanks.
Brasa thanks for the reminder...I know exercise is important. The c'pram is wiping me out, which is probably even more reason I need to get more activity. Ok...that will be on my daily list. I've tried some meditation, and agree that it is so helpful - do you do guided? I've been looking on youtube for good ones.
Oh and as far as what I used to spend on booze, totally true!! I figure I've saved $3300 so far (although somehow, I don't have a big old pile of cash here...where did it go?
Thank you for the feedback!
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:08 AM
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So the idea of finding a therapist who is familiar with an approach, somehow this hadn't occurred to me! Good stuff. I found this link on here a while back Factors (someone posted it somewhere...and THANK YOU for that) and it was an earthshaker. It's like the author was watching me my entire life, my whole development as an alcoholic, and reading my freaking mind. This is it, this is what happened, for me. It's a long one a don't expect anyone to read it, but how do I take this and find the person who can help me?
I also have the Feeling Good books, as well as Paul Hauck's (Overcoming Depression and Overcoming the Rating Game), and I think both of those would be good for me, so a therapist who uses those - do they "use" books like that?

Last edited by sixfive12; 05-05-2013 at 10:19 AM. Reason: thought of another thing :)
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:09 AM
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Thanks Grymt...I know there is a Zen Center near me, maybe I'll see what they offer to complete newbies
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by fantail View Post
It costs a little bit more than $100/session. Not spare change, but not more than I spent on booze in a week.
YES! We can often afford a LOT of self care when we are no longer investing in self destruction!
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:20 AM
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Those meetings weren't for me, either.

Those steps stopped me from stopping on the train tracks which are located between that meeting location and my home.

Those steps saved my life and I have no need for meds at this time.

Whatever you find to use, use it well!
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:16 PM
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Thanks to all who posted here

Hello,
I want to thank all of you... your posts are immensely helpful to me.

To 65: I also live in the Denver metro area, and my first time through recovery, in 1999, 12 step meetings saved my life... I went to AA, NA, and CA, due to issues with alcohol, and my DOC back then was cocaine. There was some things shared in meetings that would aggravate me, at first, and I learned to "take what I want, and leave the rest."

After over ten years clean and sober, I got so busy with my career, and then was in a car accident, so due to prescribed medication, I became addicted to opioids. Now I have 7 weeks clean today. This time around, although the cold turkey withdrawal was brutal, physically speaking, I am getting my emotional needs met here on SR. However, I do know the rooms are available if I need additional support. I do participate in phone meetings occasionally and they help as well.

As for therapy and counseling, I think it is great if you know what you want, and let the therapist know that you are seeking someone knowledgeable in
CBT or whatever you believe will help. More importantly, and this is my own opinion, I would seek a therapist who is truly supportive and empathic, so that I have a safe place to process my thoughts and feelings as I journey through this recovery process. Also, a certified or licensed addiction counselor is helpful as they understand the nature of addiction. But, if they are not empathic, I find that I do not trust, and then do share openly enough to get any benefit out of the therapy.

Right now, I have found a lot of reasons for my relapse on pain pills, and am working on those issues through self reflection, journaling, sharing with supportive family and friends, and eliminating major areas of stress in my life.

Thanks for letting me share.
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:55 PM
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I'm left kinda wondering what the problem is. Perhaps that is a good place to start. Once the problem is identified, then appropriate solutions can be considered.

For me, alcoholism has always been the primary problem, though its symptoms often masquaraded, sometimes with my help, as something else. Self pity and resentment = depression, mood swings = temporal lobe condition, emotional discomfort = anxiety and so forth. In these instances going to AA was not the answer it would seem to be, but rather taking and practicing the 12 steps releived these symptoms.

But then I have an AA friend who has real depression. In fact his was the first voice I heard after my last bender and I have never forgotten that. His suffering is beyond anything I have ever experienced, like a trip to the chamber of horrors. Whenever he stops his medication, he ends up in a padded cell and it takes months to stabilise him. He practices AA for his alcholism, but AA has no solution for his depression. For that he uses medical professionals.

But there have been times for me when life throws up problems that AA is not equipped to deal with. When my wife died, a grief counsellor was immensely helpful. There were some family issues around the death, as there often are, and the grief counsellor was able to explain these and let me know that what I was feeling and how I was reacting were completely normal.

At one time I thought I might have some repressed memory issues so I spent time with a psychologist. We investigated the possibilities and concluded there were no issues. We discussed depression and one thing I remember him telling me was that medication was generally used to help the patient out of the worst of it in order that they would then be in a position to apply CBT or other therapy. The CBT being the long term answer, the meds only a short term solution.

I got a great deal from both practitioners and I believe I was able to benefit so much because I was sober and able to be completely honest with these people. The AA program is what got me sober, and continuing to practice those principles in all my affairs keeps me that way. But for other issues there are plenty of excellent professionals out there who do a wonderful job, provided we can be honest with them.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:12 PM
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The "problem" I guess, the thing I was asking for feedback about, is that I've been sober 11 months and I'm slipping back towards suicidal ideation again. I would say that "real depression" is definitely the problem, and there is a high alcoholism/addiction and suicide rate among my siblings. So, I'm trying to come up with a plan for caring for myself, given that fancy inpatient or outpatient treatment of any sort is not an option, and I have no idea what to do for myself. I have zero support, and there is no one who is going to push me to do this if I don't do it for myself. No one. I'm not looking for a diagnosis, I am talking "who do I pick up the phone and call tomorrow to set up an appointment so that I can come up with a plan that doesn't involve buying a tank of helium? Then how do I keep it from happening the next day? Then the next?" BTW...I have no urge to drink now. None. Weird.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:16 PM
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Resources

Hello 65,
I will private message you with a couple of resources in the Denver metro area... at least that will give you a couple of places to begin calling.
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:25 PM
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Sorry, seeing "I don't see what the problem is" made me a little prickly... I want to die and don't have any help, is the problem. I can't keep convincing them to give me ADs at the ER, I'm going to have to find some sort of care.
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