Recovery: Mental Health, and dealing with what was underneath

So, a lot of you will know that I deal with significant mental health factors alongside addiction. Ever since reaching a couple of months sober, the mental health aspect has dominated my focus, with alcoholism taking a back seat now that it’s no longer actively killing me. With alcohol abuse in remission, I’ve gained the ability to see what was really going on underneath all of it and start to deal with it. I’ve done a lot in these 423 days, but only the start.

That process has had a lot of ups and downs. It had another one of those dips recently and I’ve been fighting back, but am discouraged. It is exhausting to be just constantly trying to achieve some stability and constantly having it be upset. To try one avenue of treatment after another and not see the changes you’re looking for. To have simple life goals feel within an arm’s reach one day and beyond the horizon the next. To not be able to do the things everyone around you seems to manage just fine.

I’m still trodding onwards on this path, because I still believe it can change, but that doesn’t mean I don’t shed hot tears of frustration with it as I do so. Currently I’m in the most intense course of formal treatment I’ve undertaken, and it is kicking my ass. Next week, it cranks up another notch. I wanted to give up today, but I’ve still got at least 3 months or so to go. I’m going to see this through, but it is taking everything out of me right now.

I’m saying this partly out of a need to vent, and partly because I know many people here similarly have frustration and discouragement and can relate, whether it is with their own mental health or with their addiction recovery. To those people I want to say that despite how difficult this is, the only way to get better is to push onwards. As much as it might suck to be where you are, the past you was trapped in a worse place than this, and went through an awful lot to get you to where you are now.


Well said.
Keep on fighting for the life you want. It will be difficult, and it will be worth it.


You continue to amaze me @ifs

Wishing you the best.
Go well, champion


Thanks for sharing. Your strength and courage is amazing. Most would have given up. Wishing you the best. :two_hearts: :hugs:


I’ve said this before, you are such an incredible person. I have so much respect for your intelligence, creativity, bravery, self-awareness and humility. I truly hope this latest process, whilst frustrating and challenging, garners the peace and happiness you most certainly deserve. Keep trucking James. :pray::kissing_heart:


Thanks got sharing mate. Keep it up, you can do this.

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The thought that came to mind when I read this was about knitting. When there’s a botched stitch that doesn’t get spotted promptly, we sometimes have to tear out quite a few rows of stitches to get to the right place to make the appropriate change. It’s not an exact metaphor, but it made me think about the fact that sometimes progress isn’t linear and we sometimes go back before we go forward.

I feel much of this myself. I was so pumped for the change of treatment, how much work I was going to put into it, and how much growth I’d correspondingly get out of it, and now I feel inadequate to make good on that. In between, feeling many of those ups and downs from day to day or even within days, that battle between depression and inspiration. At least it’s never dull (so far?)…


I relate and I admire you James. I’m still not sure what way to go. I was with my family doctor recently and said maybe I needed to get back in therapy and she said “great! what do you want to work on in your life?”. I had no answer. Everything. Where to start? I know I made a start by becoming sober. But what now? I’ve been diagnosed with BPD by 2 different psychiatrists in the past but neither proposed any treatment for that. I’m also experiencing some of the same feelings that Jane describes. Feelings of utter hopelessness and inadequacy. I need to push on. Thanks so much for the inspiration. Not giving up. Let’s keep going.


I also relate to you and before deciding to kick the booze to the curb I underwent some pretty heavy therapy for other mental health problems. Like @Mno I was diagnosed with BPD after many years of being medicated for Bipolar. The therapy that I did for the BPD was DBT and it was amazing. Difficult but very helpful… I honestly think every human would benefit from this therapy.


I know this feeling well. Every new therapist seems to ask what I want to work on. Every time I seek help I am asked what they can do for me. And I don’t usually know. I only know what I feel and how I think, what I like and don’t like, what problems I am facing.

I have learned some tricks for getting unstuck here. I’ve turned it back on them and asked “I don’t know what to work on, what are your thoughts on what would help?”. I’ve also interpreted the question as an implicit statement that there is no one best way forward, save where the client’s interest lies – to which I then reply with a list of my worst (specific) struggles and ask how to go about resolving or managing those. I’ve even asked “What can I get help with?”, and gotten a list of ideas to prompt something in me.

BPD is a tricky one because people with it present in so, so many different ways, with varying symptomology, varying functional differences, areas of struggle. An approach that works for one BPD-diagnosed individual may be ineffective for another. Common places people start with are medication to manage mood disturbances, DBT (based on CBT but designed for the particular challenges of BPD), and individual or group therapy or classes to teach general mental health concepts such as coping strategies, emotional regulation, breathing techniques, etc.

But for me it’s been a long journey of trying what seems like everything but the kitchen sink. I think all of it has been helping to various degrees, but I also just need time and life experiences to learn some of these lessons I’m getting. I don’t really know. I do know though that it doesn’t get better if I don’t try, and if I do try over a long enough period of time, it does get better.

Yes, let’s keep going. We’re in this together.


Yes! I agree. DBT is great. The stuff on distress tolerance especially resonates with me.


Can relate so much to this thanks for sharing your journey.xx


Thank you for sharing James :pray:
You are strong, stronger then you know maybe.
I hope your hard work will give great results, you deserve it! :heart:


I feel the same way. I am so confused. Can’t seem to decide on anything. My life is going nowhere and I just can’t decide what to do about it.


Impressive post @ifs.
One that’s gets me thinking (as a lot of your posts seem to do).

Most will reckognise parts of it I’m afraid. Addicition is comorbid to many psychological issues so getting sober is indeed just a foundation, a start.
Where alcohol and drugs functioned to keep our own Pandora box sealed, we opened it not fully aware of what we would release into our world.

But as you say, it’s better to release our demons for at least then we can choose to fight them.
Keeping them locked up means a life in denial with no chances of ever winning the fight.

Keep fighting mate, you’re worth it :+1:


Thanks for sharing and starting this thread @ifs.

As I close in on a year sober my mental health has been on my mind more than ever and Im sure the conversation here will help a great deal (it already has in some ways).

I’ve been considering therapy and your comments on the matter a few weeks ago were greatly appreciated. I just need to actually follow through with it. One thing that is becoming clearer is that Ive gotten to a point where I need some help and cant do this next step by myself.


As always, thank you for your thoughtful post @ifs. So many of us here struggle with our mental health issues. I know many of us have gotten to that point in our sobriety where they are right there needing our attention now that we no longer need to stay laser focused on sobriety 24/7. Thank you for being you and fighting so hard and helping to shed light and bring stuff out of the dark. Your post, like @Joy_Fullmer’ s today, can help us all grow and learn.



Great post and thanks for sharing. You’ve done great to get so far, keep on fighting.


Well said. Keep up the good work.