Carla's Story of Depression and Addiction
Several years ago, sitting at the table in the rehab dining room, it dawned on me this was either going to be a turning point in my life, or a point of no return. It was up to me.
I’m not going to put you through every single detail of the drama of rehab or the events leading up to it, but I will say alcohol and the choices I made while self-medicating with alcohol landed me there, much to my dismay and embarrassment.
After all, my family was considered upper-middle class, my (ex) husband had a well-paying job, we lived in a nice home, had beautiful children – I shouldn’t have been there. There were no DUIs, no public displays of drunkenness or abuse because of the alcohol. It had set me free.
But there I was anyway, having lost the fight with my dad about going somewhere for my depression. Depression was not an acceptable diagnosis. “Let’s get rid of the alcohol first,” my dad told me. “Then we’ll see about the depression."
Funny thing was, it was the depression that had the tighter grip. Alcohol made the grip more bearable – alcohol made everything bearable.
My addiction to a depressant to treat depression was impressive. Here I was, depressed over the state of my marriage being on the downward turn, drinking to show I really didn’t give a damn; drinking to show how good I was at Guitar Hero while sauced; drinking to prove he couldn’t tell me what to do; drinking to make myself brave enough to get involved with a man I should never have been involved with; and drinking to prove to myself that at least inside of my soul, I was free.
Because that is what addiction does, it makes us free. It takes away the pain, the anger, the sarcasm, the need, the want – the everything – and in its place leaves freedom. Or, what the addicted person believes to be freedom, when really it is just another pit.
Where to Start?
So what do professionals need to treat first? The addiction or the disorder? Do you treat the addiction to get to the root of the disorder? Do you treat the disorder to cut off the head of the addictive behavior? It really is a chicken and egg discussion, isn’t it?
What I know is that addictions and disorders don’t give a crap if you are the CEO of some mega corporation or someone living under a bridge. I also believe you cannot treat one and ignore the other. Both have to be dealt with and both have to be treated with serious intent.
I believe that while we have come a long way in dealing with addictive behaviors and disorders, as a country and as a people we need to learn how to place significance on both, and treat both for the major issues they are.