My 12-Step Psychiatrist

February 15, 2009

My Doctor recently referred me to a Psychiatrist to further address my tendency toward depression.

While I have come a long way in gaining reprieve from depression and anxiety by living the 12-Steps, some residual depression has remained and shows up from time to time.  Likewise has some irritability that feels familiar to the way I used to feel constantly.

I was concerned about the ongoing depressed feelings, particularly when I wake up.  They would show up from time to time and they would be very dark.  I am resistant to go on meds because the last time I relapsed it was triggered by a prescription drug.

Likewise, my doctor is resistant to go immediately back to meds for me because of my past experience and a few other factors.  So he put the decision in the hands of a highly-trained psychiatrist who works exclusively with alcoholics and addicts and is himself in a 12-Step program of recovery. psychiatrist1

The experience has been amazing.  He has been working with me through some “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy” where we continue to focus on re-training specific areas of thinking.  I have discovered even more clearly that most of my depression derives from my thought patterns.

It is a widely observed fact that many emotions are a direct result of how we think.  And if we can change and improve on how we think, our emotions will carry us away far less often. 

By no means does my shrink feel that the only cause of my emotional volatility is my thinking patterns.  Simply that it is a key contributor and that we should first deal with this before adding meds (if ever).  He first did some questioning and probing to make sure I was not going to jump off a bridge tomorrow.  Which he determined I wasn’t.  So with that confirmed, we began our work. 

I am happy to report that after 3 months, I feel a great deal better.  Like the 12-steps, this course of therapy has taken work on my part.  My reading assignment is “Feeling Good”, by Dr. D. Burns as well as a number of daily written exercises that help continue to re-shape my thinking.

I write all of this to offer hope to others.  I know the darkness of depression.  I know the tendency toward resentments which seems to be characteristic of us alcoholics and addicts.  I know what it is like to be paralyzed by fear and anxiety.  I know what it is like to look into the barrel of a gun and pray for the strength to pull the trigger.  I know what it is like to have no hope.

Gladly, I now have hope and hope continues to grow.  I feel better and continue to grow in this as well.  And it has not taken any miracle cures.  Simply the 12-Steps and some well-proven main-line Psychiatric help.

I do not know what tomorrow holds.  Nor do I worry about it.  I am grateful that I have had a bunch of great “todays”. 

I believe this is available for all of us.






  1. Great article.
    Great blog.

  2. […] leave a comment » Here’s an enrty i found on another cool wordpress blog: yuppieaddict.wordpress.com […]

  3. Thanks RR… Will check out your blog.

  4. Good for you- as far as I’m concerned, you’ve already won half the battle by seeking treatment for your depression.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement Mark.

    I read up on your recovery centre…. it sounds quite interesting.

    Cant figure out how to contribute to your guest blog page yet.



  6. Glad to hear your outlook is getting better, Chaz. From what I’ve heard and read about depression, it’s a real bitch. And a lot of people suffer from it! I always enjoy reading your posts.

  7. Thanks TV…. and likewise. Glad to be part of your journey. Believe me bro… what you are going through can build amazing things in you. Always remember, “a year of pain will teach you far more than a lifetime of comfort.

    Ciao. Chaz

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