Winter Blues

If you are like me you and you live in the Northeast or much of the Midwest then chances are you are experiencing some level of seasonal depression or lack of motivation to leave your couch. Today has been a mixture of snow and rain and a constant cold wind… these are the days that I just want to spend curled up on the couch with a good book or binge watching reruns of 90’s sitcoms on Netflix. However, those of us who are in recovery or are suffering from anxiety or depression cannot take the luxury of wasting a day on the couch. The common theory is as long as I do not “use”, then it was a successful 24 hours. So why can’t I spend my 24 hours watching TV or sitting on my couch. The answer is simple… I am ISOLATING.

 When you were in active addiction or actively suffering from a panic attack or depression, what were you usually doing? For me it was sitting alone on my couch with a bottle of vodka in front of me. Boy, those were the days, staring at a TV screen that may or may not be on, if the TV was on I had no idea what was happening on the screen. Towards the end I didn’t even bother using a glass – why waste the energy of pouring shitty vodka into a glass when I could just swig it out of the bottle? To think that in the last few months of my addiction, the best idea I could muster was to not use a glass because A) it would dirty the glass and B) it was wasted energy to pour it into a glass and then my mouth. I can just imagine Bill Engvall (Blue Collar Comedy Tour) walking by me on the couch saying, “Here’s your Bottom!”

The truth was I didn’t want to be around people, I didn’t even know if I could be around people. I was scared and anxious and ultimately depressed with the state I was in. I liken that to the winter weather – I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to talk to people, just leave me alone and let me mope. I will ask you one question though, if you are an addict, would you have let this weather keep you from going out to secure your drug of choice? Would you not go to the liquor store if you ran out of alcohol? I sure as hell would have been at that liquor store, no questions asked. So why should I behave any differently in recovery? Today I didn’t use the weather as an excuse, instead I went to yoga and then the gym, made it to my therapy appointment, and hit a great AA meeting cap off the day. If I could do it drunk and anxious, I sure as hell better be able to do it sober and sane. More importantly doing all of this is keeping me sober and sane, just for today.

We only have 24 hours to worry about, or maybe just the next 5 minutes. When you finish reading this, strap on your boots or whatever footwear is appropriate, and go do something that makes you happy (No SUBSTANCES!). And remember there is always a chance of sunshine tomorrow.

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”
― Steve Maraboli

-A.S.

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