therapy

Many in recovery, at some point be it in treatment or hospitalization must undergo some type of therapy or consultation with psychologist or psychiatrist. Because the truth of us alcoholics and addicts, is that mental illness usually contributes to our “using” or we became addicted over time due to our own “self medicating” with drugs and alcohol. I’m a classic example. I have been in “Treatment” (therapy/counseling ) for over 15 years off and on, but until the past 2 years it hadn’t truly helped me. Which is normally expected I guess because until I became “clean and sober” I was not really making the most of the therapeutic process. In fact, most good therapists will tell a client, substance abuse/addiction must be first treated before any treatment on mental illness, mood disorders, anxiety or depression. It makes sense. From my perspective and experience, I wasn’t really ready to do the hard work required of me in therapy until my alcoholism had been treated and now I can say I am in recovery, have not had a drink in over a year. A feat I can’t begin to describe as anything other than a miracle and my most important life event thus far. Everything in my moments, my days, my future, my life, depends upon my sobriety. I have nothing without it.

However, just because I have stopped drinking does NOT mean I’m not an alcoholic. I will be an “alcoholic” until the day I die. Yes it’s true what they say, alcohol is only a symptom of the bigger problem. My issues are not unique. I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional home, with an alcoholic father. My mom over- functioned, he under- functioned. Me and my sisters, all three, suffer from some type of mental illness. Yet these are labels. I get defensive when talking about my dysfunctional family of origin and childhood. My father is still a drunk, among many other things some of them good. God bless him and I pray for him daily. But I pray for me more. Therapy has helped me identify why I behave the way I do. Why I run from conflict. Why I get stuck in depression. Why clouds of despair sometimes appear and don’t leave for a while. Why I can’t stay happy very long. Why I beat the living shit out of myself. Why I have impossible expectations. For the past two years, with this amazingly brave female therapist, I have learned to allow negative feelings a little bit more room, look at them, really examine them…and move on from them. It’s not easy. That’s not the point of therapy. It’s work! For a long time, therapy was a “pity party” and a rant, vent, emoting session full of tears, questions without answers, and I find myself there occassionaly. Especially on days like today where I’ve been giving too much, doing too much, not taking time for care of myself. Letting each little upset of the day chew on my brain. I’m so tired.

My marriage is not working. It needs a major remodeling. So tomorrow we go to a new guy. A marriage counselor referred by my favorite therapist. The lady who helped me realize soberity was a choice and I had the courage to make it. She, in a sense, saved my life. I never have told her this. But she gave me the confidence and space to be honest with myself until I knew, in my soul, that recovery was the only answer.

I only went to visit her today because she had a cancellation. And you know what, so did the guy she referred for me and my hubby. He can see us tomorrow due to a cancellation of his own. This my friends is how our HP works. I don’t believe in coincidence.

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One thought on “therapy

  1. I was in therapy for at least 10 years, all while I was active in my alcoholism. I never disclosed my drinking except for the last year. So frankly, for nine years I paid someone to listen to lies. Now, don’t get me wrong, I did learn a lot in my therapy. I did have a lot of “outside issues” (lol) that needed exploring. But, what was underlying all this was my untreated alcoholism. And at the end, when it was unbearable, and things went down and it all came out (I was a secretive drinker) I was able to finally *breathe*. And in that breath, alongside with my 12-step work, my therapy took on a different hue. It was real, for once. I could go in there with what was needed and required and all with upfront honesty. Honesty…what a concept.

    And lo and behold, after about 6 months, I found myself not needing therapy any more. I was off anti-depressants. I was off anxiety meds. All the external stuff was borne of the causes and conditions (and of the physcial and mental byproducts) of my untreated alcoholism. Now, I have guys I work with who still need meds, and that’s groovy. I am not a doctor. And I am open about my own therapy history. I believe in therapy. Like you, I too was in marriage counselling (that’s how I started on the therapy trail). It saved us, even though I was still drinking.

    Glad you were able to get those appointments…awesome. And as it is often said about coincidences – is it odd, or is it God? hmmmmmmm… 🙂

    Blessings,
    Paul

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