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5 Weeks After Getting Sober, A Major Depression Crash & Plans for Suicide.

by Greg
(Tonopah, Arizona)

I rode the classic "pink cloud" for 5 weeks after getting sober but when I encountered external emotional "triggers" I couldn't deal with, suicide became my final solution. After all I reasoned, drinking alcohol obviously hasn't worked and neither does sobriety so what else is left? I've been obsessing about suicide for decades and it's time to get it over with. I had given up.

I began the arrangements immediately selling or giving away my possessions, finding new homes for my dogs, mentally composing the "it's not your fault" letters to my children & family. I planned to call 911 from the desert which is my back yard, tell them where to find my body & go out Mafia style--a 22 to the back of the head. Very effective & not as messy as a shot gun for emergency responders to deal with. I actually felt good about it, which they tell me is common prior to committing suicide because there is nothing left to worry about.

As time grew nearer I told my wife--who had left months ago my rage made her fear for her life--that I'm hopeless & she should take the retirement & life insurance & get the hell away from me because I'll just drag her down with me.

She began crying & said that I was not hopeless & that she didn't want the money & that I can overcome this & that it was the depression talking. She convinced me to call my psychiatrist who in turn convinced me to check into a hospital. It was off to a another treatment center. Only this time--the fifth in-patient treatment for me starting in 1986--I decided to figure out what's really wrong & the solutions as I'm tired of this crap. And so began what I call "My Recovery Project".

Fortunately, I had done EMDR therapy on childhood traumas which had conditioned me to never ask for help & the two most traumatic events from my early teens, so I was finally able to ask for help & I received it, much to my surprise. And with nothing left to lose, I overcame the shame about my behavior during hypo-manic episodes making me able to tell my doctor what was really going on, which enabled her to correctly diagnose type II Bipolar Disorder. It was a huge relief to learn that I have an illness with symptoms that are clearly documented on the American NIMH website. And now that I'm being properly treated, my mood & behavior have improved considerably.

The new diagnosis also gave me a new direction. I decided to pay close attention to the lectures in the treatment center & in doing so I learned that depression is normal after the pink cloud of early sobriety dissipates because I have eliminated my primary coping mechanism & that my brain is in the early stages of healing itself from the effects of large, frequent doses of alcohol. I'll have withdrawal symptoms for at least 18 months.

I am grateful to my wife that she chose to show compassion for me instead of agreeing or taking a neutral stand with my suicide plan. I also learned that it is my own thinking, conditioned by sick parents and bullying peers & a guilt based, punitive religious organization, that has kept me in constant turmoil with myself, authority figures, co-workers, family & relationships--all my life. I was literally trained to hate myself & to fear others & so I must retrain myself if I want to be happy.

I'm also attending an intensive outpatient program to learn Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills such as emotion control & how to recognize & overcome the distorted thinking that causes me to behave in self defeating ways. I realize that I need to go beyond the confines of AA's 12 steps. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of very good therapies such as DBT & psychiatric medications have been developed since the Big Book was published 75 years ago. There's an old saying which goes, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail", and a lot of AA's are literally afraid to go beyond the Big Book, regarding treatment centers & therapies as threats to their way of thinking & sobriety.

It's true--I was conditioned by a brutal alcoholic father & a pain med addicted seemingly bipolar mother to perceive the world & myself as bad & to seek relief using alcohol--but it's also true that it's up to me to recover using every means at my disposal. Instead of being the perennial victim, I now choose victory.

Comments for 5 Weeks After Getting Sober, A Major Depression Crash & Plans for Suicide.

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Jun 29, 2011
Thanks for the pink cloud idea !
by: Anonymous

Hi Greg:

Thanks ! I had never heard of the pink cloud before which explains why I just fell off the wagon after about 6 weeks of sobriety-- the first such since the age of 24. I too am having all the ragr amd frustration and mood swings amd I fear I will ruin my relatonship. Your blog is very helpful! I will just have to learn how to cope with stress and doing a job I secretly hate in professional services sales. I feel like a tide of white wine has gone out revealing all these rocks that are my problems and ouch, they hurt.

Anyway thanks again you have inspired me.


Nov 05, 2010
i'm with you
by: Anonymous

My depression is major, I have been jobless for 2 years now, and live in my parents basement.
I used to be able to handle a high-paying hospital financial analyst job, but, can not find one, and doubt I could live up to it now anyway.
I receive free healthcare and psych prescriptions through the County of St. Louis.
I have not had my medication that works (Cymbalta) for over 3 months now.
I have called, but, have been ignored.
The last psych resident physician I saw 3 months ago guaranteed me that I must not have sent my request for free medication from Eli Lilley.
I was so down, I assured myself he must be right.
He was wrong, Eli Lilley approved me for free Cymbalta on July 2nd, it is now November 5th.
All Eli Lilley needs is for a physician to fax a scrip in for me.
But, I am so depressed, I lost hope. I am told I will see a physician on Monday, but, I don't know if I can even make it there at this point.
It is all I can do to get out of bed this past week; I don't shower, I don't get dressed, I don't eat, I can't leave the house, I don't interact with other people.
I don't know what to do.

Feb 07, 2010
Glad You're Back
by: C-P

Hi Greg

If it's the same Greg that was around recently commenting and sharing ... glad you're back and glad you've managed to get through your rough patch. Your wife was obviously the angel you needed in your hour of need ... because I know what a difference someone showing us a bit of compassion can make. Recovery isn't always going to be easy, but no matter how bad we sometimes feel, it's still a heck of a lot better than being in the throws of an addiction. Something I found that has helped me tremendously in dealing with suppressed, and also debilitating feelings and emotions like my anxiety and depression is a tool called Holosync. It actually helps reverse the chemical imbalances a life of addiction creates, but also helps release those negative emotional triggers that get us in trouble. The main thing is, is that you've got through this, so just keep keeping on, in the knowledge that with time things do get easier.

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