Unfortunately, I never knew that I would go down such a dark path with both alcohol and depression. The latter had always been present in my family. My dad used to spend entire days on the couch watching TV not wanting to do anything else. During the holidays we wouldn’t be going out like the rest of our neighbors. Instead, we’d stay inside doing nothing because dad was too depressed to go anywhere with us, and because he also had a temper, mom never dared to ask for the car.
It was a pretty dysfunctional situation which I partly blame for how I developed in years to come. Though I never fell into drugs, I was turning to alcohol to numb the pain and anxiety I was feeling. It barely helped as you can very well imagine, but at least it kept my brain away from wandering too much around the valley of the dark destructive thoughts.
During my teenage years, I never thought depression was a “thing”, least of all a disease or any sort of disorder/condition. I simply believed, just like anybody else, you have good times and bad times. And I knew I had the bad luck of having the blues too often because of everything that was happening around me.
I decided to go to a drug and alcohol recovery center shortly after my mom decided to divorce my father. I don’t know exactly what it was but I felt empowered by her. She took her life right back from the pits of a dead marriage and started over without fearing what anybody would think or how tough things could get. When I told her I was joining rehab she said she was very proud and that she’d do anything to help me go through with it. It wasn’t an easy process but she was there from start to end.
My older brother who I barely had contact with after he left for his job in New York, came back home for the holidays and spoke to me in a way that he had never done it before. He said he believed in me and that he knew I had it in me to get out of the darkness I was going through. That was the basis of my recovery and the start of a new life. That’s why I want to share with you these tips to deal with depression while I was going through recovery.
Keep in touch
As simple as it might sound, I found it to be extremely helpful. Avoiding to isolate yourself from society was one of the things that kept me going further. I wrote letters to mom every week, called my brother every couple weeks. I basically tried to get even more in touch with everyone I’ve always had around me. At first, I didn’t think it’d work because, well, when you’re depressed you don’t really think anybody cares. But they did. So much.
My sponsor always encouraged me to not shut off from society. In the end, it was because of her that I even decided to go back to college and continue my education as my brother had always advised. Remaining surrounded by a group of people that support and love you has a much bigger effect in life than anything else you can imagine.
As someone dealing with depression and alcoholism, this was quite challenging but totally worth it in the end. I became close with other people that were going to the AA meetings and we started a small basketball team. Up to this day, we still meet every weekend to play for a couple hours. The exercise cleaned my body and improved my mood. It also kept my mind busy and gave me things to look forward to. In other words, exercising was a great way to tackle both depression and addiction at the same time.
Cut yourself some slack
It’s OK to have made mistakes and it’s OK to forgive yourself. This was one of the things that were the hardest for me to accept and embrace since depression is not particularly helpful for self-love improvement, but when I gave myself the chance, I started seeing the change and it made all the difference in the world. I forgave myself and by doing so I widened my horizon and opened to a whole new world of opportunities that had always been waiting at my door.
Eat, but eat well
Some types of food are just bad for you and that’s as far as I’m gonna get into that. But when you start eating healthy, everything in your body changes. Not only will it feel healthier, you will also feel healthier. This will lead to you automatically being in a better mood. Having a good balanced nutritional plan will ensure that your mind, body, and brain are in sync with one another. You will feel more energized and motivated to achieve your goals on a daily basis. Setting small short-term goals also helped me a lot. Eating well combined with having a workout routine was the perfect combination to clean my body and mind.
Don’t be afraid
It’s a hard long process but you can make it. I know it because I also once hit rock bottom. Don’t ever be afraid of asking for help, or talking about how you feel. You’re not alone and you’re definitely not the only one going through it. Everyone’s story is indeed different, but we all work in the same way. There will always be someone willing to listen if we let them know we want to talk. It can be a difficult time, but it doesn’t have to be any harder.
Dealing with depression while I was going through recovery was quite challenging. At the start, I felt as if I was never going to make it. Even with the support of my family, it felt like I was trying to bite more than I could chew. Fortunately, I had excellent professionals watching my back who made me realize that I had it all in me the whole time. It’s been a very long time since the last time I had a single drop of alcohol. Ever since then, everything took a turn for the best. I thought things were always better with the booze, but I had never been more wrong. I feel like I’m the best version of myself and I try to help others as others have helped me so far.
If you have any other tips for dealing with depression while in recovery or would simply like to ask a question, leave a comment below.