I’ve done some step work today around my step 2 and it’s made me realise that I’ve not made as much progress as I thought I had, but in that moment of revelation, I immediately made more progress than I expected too.
I started to see the truth again today and this is an important realisation, because I had once again entered into a denial state about my Being.
I entered into recovery about 2 years ago because I was suffering from depression. My recovery then revealed to me that I was also suffering from addiction and that I am also suffering from co-dependency. This led to a chicken and egg question:
Which came first, the depression, the co-dependency or the addiction?
It’s a question that I’ve pondered on since I first became aware of it. My analytical mind likes root cause answers, for the simple reason that the simpler the construct the easier the solution. It’s the peeling of the onion, so to speak. Today my Higher Power delivered that answer, and then some.
Underlying everything is the fact that I suffer from depression. I’m still somewhat curious as to the nature and cause of my depression, but that is something for another day.
Today I take some comfort in my understanding that my depression came first and underpins everything else. My lack of confidence, my low self worth, my inability to form healthy relationships, all stems from depression.
Suffering from depression leads me to feelings ‘less than’ a life worth living. Eventually life starts to become dull because I can no longer feel joy or pain. I easily fool myself into believing that I am calm and peaceful, when in fact all I am doing is suppressing my anger and my other emotions.
So at the root of everything is me and how I relate to myself. I am angry at myself and at the world. I’m angry at the world and everyone and everything in it because I am angry at myself. Circular and self defeating logic. I obviously don’t feel this anger because I am so skilled at suppressing it, my coping mechanism is not to feel.
Like sex addiction, depression is a progressive illness. It’s progressive because I can continue to feel other emotions and continue to function adequately for a time, even though I am subconsciously suppressing my anger.
It’s so progressive that I don’t even notice that I’m doing it until I realise that I have stopped feeling altogether and then I’m depressed.
I’ve been able to recognise the signs this time, thanks to the 12 step programs, because I come to realise that I am slowly looking for more and more ways to ‘feel’ something. I start using anything that can alter my mood, from coffee to sugar and then eventually alcohol, sex and relationships. I’m pleased I’ve been able to see the warning signs early enough this time and act accordingly.
So my question has been answered. The reason I cannot control my acting out (over eating/bad eating, drinking alcohol, sexual and co-dependent fantasy etc.) is because I am suppressing my anger, which slowly creates the depression. I’ve been focusing on living a healthy life, by which I mean, eating well, exercising, building friendships and being social etc. but I’ve missed the most obvious thing, which is that I’m actually pretty pissed off and angry at, well, everything.
Whilst this realisation may have taken me a little over a year to discover, it’s certainly better late than never.
I now have a much clearer idea of what I need to be focusing on. I’ve been trying to apply a bandage to the symptoms, rather than treating the cause. It really has been like the whack a mole game. You think you’ve got it cracked and then it just appears somewhere else.
I now know that I need to focus on my anger management, which may or may not require specialist therapy. I have no real idea how I’m supposed to express my anger in a healthy way.
I’ve obviously got deep seated resentments going way, way, way back into my childhood and I don’t know how to let them go. As I write this I can feel the dis-ease in my chest. It’s a physical feeling based on trapped emotional energy. This truly is a first for me right now.
Today I have come to realise that I have been kidding myself about my recovery. I’m not calm and/or peaceful, I’m depressed, so two years on and I’m feeling pretty similar to how I felt 2 years ago. What a fucking waste of time! lol
The reality is that everything is different to how it was then and the fact is that I have made a huge amount of improvements and massive progress over the last two years. It has been a valuable exercise and one that I now recognise is an ongoing process of recovery.
This is why the question of which came first was so fundamental to my ongoing recovery. If I was depressed because I was an alcoholic, then stopping drinking alcohol should have cured the depression, but as my life has been and continues to be one BIG coping mechanism for my suppressed anger, I can now focus my conscious awareness on how I process and manage my anger and stop myself from suffering with long term depression and ultimately feeling depressed.
I’m starting to feel as if I’m ready to make the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God, which is a positive thing tonight, because it means that the result of my realisations over the last few days, is that I can trust my Higher Power (consciousness), even if I can’t always trust my thinking mind.
Time to start making that searching and fearless moral inventory of myself…