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I'm not sure what I'm looking for in joining this forum, I just know that I need to finally deal with the issues which have been shaping who I am for the past thirty years. Not dealing with them has resulted in addiction, depression, anxiety, and anger management problems. In turn, they have affected my professional life, recently costing me my career, as well as my personal life, to the point where I am unable to form relationships with others and have withdrawn from even my wife and kids. What has me concerned the most though is the thoughts of suicide that have been entering my mind. So far, thinking about how the death of her father affected my wife has stopped me from making the decision to end my life but I know that's not a strong enough deterrent. I need to want to live for me not for someone else. Is that selfish? So I guess what I'm searching for really is hope and help. Hope that the future will be brighter, and help with dealing with the things that have gotten me to where I am now.

A little bit about myself: My name is Darren. 43 years old. Married 15 years. 2 children ages 13 and 23.

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Hi Labrador

Welcome:)

I'm 49, married 26 yrs and have 7 kids ages 10-24. I was diagnosed 4 yrs ago with Bipolar and PTSD with many, many trips to the psych hospital.

I think it was there that I realized we can't call helping ourselves, selfish. Including the want to live...

It is acceptance and treatment and treatment as with any other medical condition and, we have to do it for us and not anyone else. What follows after that is what we must really be concerned with as to the successfulness of our lives...

Helping yourslef helps you help your family. And when in depression, which is a powerful thing, I think we lose sight of that notion. So i think it can be a deterrent in of itself and prohibit us from feeling good and instead makes us feel guilty.

No I don't think your selfish. I think you have finally come to terms of what you need to do to help yourself and the first step is exactly how you are feeling... You need to live for YOU...

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Thank you Linda.

I took a long time to get to this point where I want to help myself. I'm not sure where to begin though. There are five major things that I know I need to deal with: anger management, addiction, personal relationships, sexual abuse history, and suspected depression. And I know they are probably all inter-related so where do I begin? I'm going to my first NA meeting tonight because I know I need beat the addiction to deal with everything else. I tried to go to NA a few years ago, even went as far as to show up only to discover the location had been changed. I never pursued it any further because I was, and still am, scared to death of quitting using. It has been my go-to place whenever I can't deal with things for 2/3 of my life, and I'm afraid to face life without that escape.

I have a question for you Linda, if you don't mind. You state that you're married. How much do you involve your spouse in your recovery? I'm conflicted because to involve my wife 100% would mean sharing things and revealing things which will cause her alot of pain and anxiety. She has stuck with me through all of my ups and downs and doesn't deserve this stuff.

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Hi Labrador I totally understand you feeling you dont know where tostart and yes definately they are all connected.

Do you think you have covered up and have self medicated yourself? I know my brother did that.

I never did but 4 yrs ago, well january will be 5 was when I crashed into major depression. I guess I had alot of triggers that caused this late life illness. I was leading a very happy, succesful life and like I said alot of triggers. So january was my first hospital visit, in and out no big deal but the suicide ideations were aweful so I was in and out between that and medication reactions.

At first we thought it was just something that would go away but it didnt then I got the bipolar diagnosis with PTSD. Yes I included my husband and my kids in this. We did though try to hide the suicide stuff from the kids but we are a very close 9 of us living here and nothing gets passed anyone... So this ended up being a good life lesson for my kids.

I thought I had the bipolar somewhat figured out until I started having repressed memories of my childhood of sexual abuse not from family about a year and a half ago. This sent me over the edge and was a difficult time and no I didnt tell my husband but when I shut down so much and took it out on him because he was a male, but then things got so bad he started to understand something was really wrong and then eventually I told him.

And I think it was a good idea because he understands maybe not fully but he is trying. We had actually hit rock bottom because he didnt want to understand the bipolar so now finding out his wife was raped was really an eye opener and we decided to continue our marraige and its has been better then ever...

So we all are a part of my recovery, to support group, therapy and Dr appt and I have had my keys taken away due to dissociating too much while driving so my kids and husband drive me everywhere, and with a smile... They know it beats worrying about me...

I hope this helps :)

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Welcome to the forums Labrador.

First thing I want to ask you is if you are counseling?? Along with what you are doing already, I would recommend finding someone to help you through the things that are going on now and affecting you from your past besides addiction and all the other stuff. You are definately in the right place to be attempting NA again, and asking for help. You are the most important person in your life. If you aren't happy, then people around you and close to you know that and are influenced also. Keep chugging forward.

Second I wanted to address the question you asked Linda about including your spouse. It really all depends on how your spouse handles things like what you have been through. I have found that the more my husband knows about my past and how it is affecting me now, the more he gets upset about it and doesn't know where to go with the info. I have learned that although I can share small amounts of info with him, he can be supportive without knowing all the details. He wants to fix it, and because he can't he doesn't knwo what to do with it. I would test the waters with your wife and see what she can handle. But don't leave her completely in the dark. You need a good support system and your family can be that for you now matter how much info they have. My husband is very supportive of me, and is always there. So just because some can't handle the deep down dirt about what you are going through and how are you handling it, doesn't mean that they don't want to be included. (I hope this is supportive and not repetitive.) I wish you the best of luck.

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Thanks again Linda, and hi Waiting. To answer your question Linda, the drugs were tied to the abuse, when I finally broke free of the abuse the drugs were my self medication and continued that way for quite some time. For the past 10 years, using has been as much a part of my daily life as eating. I start each day by using and stay in that perpetual fog until I go to sleep. On the rare occasion that I start my day straight, I'm usually confronted by a situation that I cannot deal with and lunch time finds me using again.

That's what scares me most about this whole process. I've made a life out of barely feeling anything besides what I do to myself and now I'm facing the reality of opening myself up to feelings and emotions that haven't seen the light of day for a very long time. You always hear that the first step is the hardest to take, and that the first step is admitting you have a problem. The second step, actually doing something about it, is even more daunting.

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As it turns out, the NA meetings are no longer available where I live. It was strange, I was disappointed, but I was able to keep it at just disappointment without it escalating. I just told myself that I would have to find some other way to work through this.

Hi Chatterbox. No, I am not currently receiving counselling but it is something I plan to address in the morning. I've tried therapy once before but I never really was honest enough for it to make a difference and I stopped going. I'm hoping this time will be different.

My wife knows alot of what I've been through, probably more than I think she does. She is an incredibly strong woman and I know she would do everything in her power to try and understand but there are things that even she would have difficulty figuring out.

Hi Shannon. I too think that joining the forums is a step in the right direction. I'm consciously making an effort to think positively and I think this is going to help.

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Hi Labrador

As Shannon says, this is a step in the right direction. I have to say the only expereince I have of drugs or alcohol with self medicating is from the other patients I was with in the psych hospital. This seems to be very common and you are right the first step is recognizing it and then what treatment will be best for you to recover.

I would definately talk to a professional and see what plan is best for you. Support groups can be great so I would suggest finding another location to be able to go to...

And for professionals to help, you must be honest and open so it can give them the right tools to be able to help you. If not it is doing yourself an injustice....

Also, therapy or counseling sometimes takes time not because it is ineffective, but because it it complicated. So I hope you find someone you like and trust and that might not even be the first one you go to, but keep searching and don't give up...

Getting back to my last reply about how much to tell your wife. I think no matter how difficult it might be, I really think in order for her to be understanding and I mean really understanding is to tell her everything. It would be unfair to tell her only some of the issues and if she is going to give you a 100% support, then she needs to know 100% of what exactly is going on. If it was her would you like to only hear some of what she is struggling with??

Just my thought here because I did try the "limit the details" and saw it was not fair if I was expecting unconditional support from my husband.

:)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Labrador,

Welcome to our community.

In my opinion, it would be a good idea for you to do two things. Consult a psychiatrist and get a diagnosis. Addiction is often a result of an underlying problem and Bipolar is often one of them. Another is ADHD. Then, seeing someone for psychotherapy would also be a good idea. If NA is not in your community, I would suggest AA. There is a lot of controversy here about AA but I find it helps a lot of people. Also consider a stronger, inpatient treatment mode to help you get off the drugs. What do you think?

Allan

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Hi Allan. I've spent alot of time thinking about my drug use and wondering if it is the cause of my problems or a symptom of some underlying psychological problem. Perhaps its a little bit of both.

I started a job just before I got married that saw me move six times in seven years. My drug use lessened with each move, I think mainly due to availablity, and by the time I was transfered to Nelson B.C., I was starting to feel things again. Looking back I can honestly say that was best I have ever felt as an adult. There were still alot of things going on inside of me that were not being dealt with, but they weren't dragging me down as much as they had in the past and I felt optimistic about the future. Then a situation arose that resulted in my wife and kids moving 1400 miles away. This was a decision based on finances rather than the state of our relationship. She could not find work and I did not make enough on my own to meet our needs. We assumed that because I had allowed myself to be transfered across western Canada so frequently in the past, that my employer would be sympathetic and grant my transfer request. Almost a year past though before I transfered to where I am now, and during that long wait, I came unglued, and sunk into something deeper than I had ever experienced. When we were re-united as a family we tried to just slip back into a routine without dealing with what the separation had done to us individually and as a family. Something had changed between us and we both realized it but we were unable to process it and move on to brighter things. This resulted in me leaving the career I had worked so hard to establish, and withdrawing into myself and an ever increasing dependance on drugs, which has gotten me to where I am right now, where the only true emotions I can feel are negative ones. It sounds cliche`, but I feel that my life is at a crossroads...stay on this path and let it lead me to what I know is an unpleasant end, or chose to turn in another direction and face the unknown. And although I've made the decision to take the turn, the rear-view mirror in my head keeps my original path in view.

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I lost my job last week. Eight years of hard work gone in an instant. I was told that I wasn't happy there anymore and that was why I was being let go. Sitting in my car later that night, I was afraid to go home and tell my wife, the thought of ending it all was all I could think of. The next day when she went to work I spent the day online figuring out how to end my life in the least messy way possible. I think the only reasons I didn't go through with it are the thoughts of how my wife would take it along with a total and complete lack of energy to do anything. That option hasn't left my head and I still find myself going to that place throughout the day.

Yesterday I tried to get my job back because I realized that it wasn't the workplace that was making me unhappy, it was a projection of how I was feeling as a person. I wrote my bosses a letter explaining the addiction and some of the issues I was making an attempt to deal with, and asked them to reconcider their decision. I just finished making a follow-up phone call where I was told that it was not something that they would concider and I broke down. My wife found me curled up in bed crying uncontrollably. This is the second job that I excelled at that I have lost as a result of the stuff I have failed to deal with in my life and it has hit me very hard this time. No matter what was going on in my life at any given time I knew that there was always progression happening in my work life, even if my personal life was at a a standstill or even regressing. Work helped hide just how fragile and ill-equipped to deal with things I really was. Now even that is gone and I've got no where else to hide. I want to get high, but I came on here instead. I know it's a step in the right direction but I get no satisfaction from that knowledge. When my wife asked what she could do, I told her that she should leave and get as far away from me as possible and start living her life, but she won't do that. Her family history is one of family sticking together no matter what so she won't give up on me even if I do.

So, how do I do the things that are necessary to heal when I have to start a new job in order to avoid financial disaster? It's unrealistic to expect a new employer to be flexible enough to allow me the time I know I'm going to need, but I need to contribute financially so I'm stuck.

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Hi Labrador, I'm so sorry for your predicament. Have you considered unemployment, disability?

The timing seems to be interesting though, do you think this is some sort of sign that this time off could mean that you should really focus on your treatment? Maybe as Allan and I suggested, finding a professional and finding the right treatment program, this would actually be a good time to consider it??

Just a thought??

:)

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Linda, in Canada, unemployment benefits are unavailable to a person if they were dismissed from their job, so that option is unfortunately unavailable to me. I decided to take a menial position at seed coating business because I need to do something, and this position doesn't come with alot of stress and the workforce is very small so I won't be thrust into a large group setting.

Last night I went through all of my hiding spots in the house and threw out anything drug related. I want to see for once just what role drugs have in the way I'm feeling. If I think back far enough, I can remember being able to feel joy and happiness, and being more or less in control of my life, and that was when my drug use was not an every day thing. It's my hope that that ability to feel healthy emotions will return when the drugs leave my system.

I'm not naive enough to think that this will solve all of my problems but I feel strongly that this is the step I have to make first in order to get myself mentally and physically ready to deal with the rest of the stuff.

So, this is day one in getting back to the real me. I've got a journal to write down how I'm feeling and how I react to differnt situations, and I've got this forum to sort out my thoughts and share them with others who have been through similar stuff. And I've got my family. That, combined with my new found resolve, leaves me optimistic that I can see this through.

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Thats awesome Labrador!! I am so happy you are really trying to set a plan in motion for yourself. Reflecting can be a wonderful tool in trying to understand ourselves of the past. I think that was my first real attempt in trying to understand "me"...

Journaling and the forum is a good thing, again it is an attempt to understand and sort what is going on. I am glad you are doing some kind of work, I think the less stressful situation can be a good thing for now...

My thoughts though as they were before is how hard is it to fight the drug demon in you? Like I said I have never done drugs and I know when I get really depressed and then get a little mixed with my mood, I sometimes have that "addict" feeling. Its an out of control feeling of craving to doing something different and for me it was drinking vodka and overdosing on my meds and actually as I understandit more, food is the enemy to.

Now believe me I don't even drink caffeine so for me to drink vodka is soooo out of character for me. But like I said I understand that last need to do and feel different. And after that happens, usually that is when I end up in the psych hospital.

So I hope when things get tough you wont see it as a failure on your part, instead I hope if it becomes too much for you, you will seek more treatment for yourself and realize you may need help in combating the drug withdrawal.

I'm wishing you luck and strength for you Labrador :)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Labrador,

Two things:

1. Addiction is viewed as a disorder in and of itself. However, there can be what we call a comorbid condition or, an additional diagnosis. In point of fact, it makes no difference. You need help for addiction and you may need it for another disorder if you are diagnosed with that.

2. Please choose one of the other forums to write in. There many in our community and you can discuss things in as many forums you choose. We do have a forum for people to discuss drug abuse but you do not have to do it there.

This is for new folks and you are no longer new. You are one of us, and are a full participant and we are happy you are here. Its just that this forum is for first timers although you are welcome to greet the newbees and give you advice to them.

Thanks, Allan

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Fighting the addiction is hard Linda, and it is hard for people who aren't addicts to fully appreciate and understand the situation. Living with, or being close to one can give a person a certain perspective on the disease, but very few truly ever get to understand it completely. For me, it's like there is a separate being living inside of my head. Sometimes he just sits there silently observing my life, but other times he needs to be an active participant. The most frustrating part for me is that I can tell myself that this is it, no more, I quit, only to find myself at my dealer's place scoring later on. Without me even realizing it, he has taken control to get what he wants and then silently slipped back into his observer role. That's when I beat myself up for being so weak. The private conversation with myself that goes on in my head is brutal. I can imagine him sitting there in the dark smiling, content that he has once again won the battle, while I wage a war against myself for losing. It's now been 36 hours since i last used and I hear him dropping little suggestions and ideas to get me to physically do what he wants. He doesn't like to lose so I know that soon those suggestions and ideas will turn into demands and the real battle will start. He doesn't fight fair. He takes all my fears, insecurities, and past failures and uses them to beat every last bit of resolve and rational thinking out of me until I reach the point where I use just to turn off the voices in my head. I think Allen may be right in his idea that there may be a comorbid condition in my case which is why I have to get to a place where I can control the addiction before I can deal with anything else. I know my addiction well enough to know that he will do everything in his power to undermine any help I receive because he knows his survival depends on it.

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Your absolutely right labrador, I am not an addict but my illness creates that same type of uncontrollable feeling in me (yes the seperate being you are talking about that tells you all the wrong things) to use my prescription meds or drink and even suicide and like I said in my original post it is so important to seprarate the addiction from your other issues.

Good luck with your journey and I hope others as well will help you find the stength and support you so deserve... :(

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My father was a workaholic who would lavish my sisters with praise for anything they accomplished. i was a straight A+ student but I can't remember him ever saying he was proud of me. He was also a strict disciplinarian whose weapon of choice was a leather razor strap with a metal ring on the end that would leave welts for days. When I was 14 we got into a fight over the length of my hair and he kicked me in the ribs. I left home that night and a "friend" brought me to Tim's place. Tim fed me, listened to my problems, and got me high for the first time. He also molested me. I woke up to him fondling me and didn't know what to do, so I pretended to still be asleep. I went home ashamed and confused about what had happened. Here was an adult who finally listened to me but at the same time took advantage of me. I liked the feeling of being high and being noticed and that outweighed the feelings of shame and allowed the abuse to continue for the next three years. My grades slipped at school and I started shoplifting and breaking into houses to get the money to buy drugs. The third time I was arrested my dad went to court with me and I could see the disappointment and resentment in his eyes. I think he gave up on me that day. My cry for help came in the form of asking them to send me away to finish high school. I wanted to escape the abuse but couldn't do it on my own and i couldn't tell anyone for fear of being labeled "gay", something I knew I wasn't. They refused and I think I gave up on them also. In the past 16 years we have only seen each other 4 times. I've wanted to tell them about all of this for a long time but I'm afraid of how they will react and I'm not sure what telling them now will accomplish. What can they do with this information? It won't erase what happened. How can that ever be erased? How do you stop those memories from entering your mind and taking you back to a place you've been trying to run from for so long?

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Hi labrador, I'm sorry you have had such a horrific childhood and I hope you can find the strength to get the right help for yourself...

I think we all have some similar stories and it is very hard to move on. But that is why a diagnosis and therapy is essential. Well everyone has their own opinions about labels but for me it helped. It helped me find a place to start, accept, learn and understand the dynamics I have lived with.

Our past and our memories of them can be challenging and for me I have had more questions then answers but I finally found the right therapist to help me. Help me in the way I need to move on and make all the memories or relationships be understood and not damaging anymore.

Thats the goal anyway and it has and will be a struggle but minimizing them so that life can have some type of normalcy is what I hope to achieve.

How about you? What are your thoughts and goals for yourself? :)

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My thoughts and goals are simply that I want to feel "normal" whatever that is. I want to be able to have healthy relationships based on trust and respect and I want to be able to wake up and feel good about who I am and be optimistic about my future. i think I want what everyone wants really, to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be at peace with the person looking back at me.

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Three days now without using. Not sleeping well, and no appetite. Very irritable but trying hard to keep that in check by focusing on something else when I feel it getting too strong. Constant headache and upset stomach. Thinking of getting high alot but have been able to resist the temptation so far. This is the longest I have been straight in over three years and I feel good about that despite how lousy I feel physically. Still trying to come to grips with the fact that I can never get high again. Thats a very daunting proposition, so I keep telling myself to take it one day at a time. Start my new job tomorrow so at least there will be that distraction, but I'm a little worried about how I will react to being in a new situation with new people.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow.

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