Monday, February 14, 2011

The 12 Steps

I turned the dreaded 40 last November and since I have been back from Iraq I have felt my life becoming more and more unmanageable and out of control. About every other day I began to have crying fits, usually sparked by a memory of our children growing up or some incident from my past. I found it harder and harder to accomplish anything at work, or deal with the slightest amount of stress at home. I felt under water

I made a trip to the VA hospital for my post deployment checkup. As I was speaking with the nurse practioner, she asked how I was doing emotionally. Normally I would say I was good regardless of how I really was and eventually work out my issues on my own. This time I shared. I was prescribed anti-depressants and given an appointment to speak to a mental healthcare specialist.

I took half a pill, spoke to my wife, decided to look into my condition on my own and threw the pills away. I also cancelled my appointment.

Rewind about 21 years;

I wasn't in the Navy long before I was sent to CREDO (a weekend retreat for troubled sailors) mostly due to a misunderstanding, but it was an important step for me to realize I had latent pain from my past that was causing me emotional issues.

After CREDO, I was referred to Al-Anon; the 12 step group for those who suffer the effects of living with alcoholics. I attended three or so meetings with two different groups and stopped going as I felt I was functional and saw the groups as a stagnant place to seek attention. I wasn't an addict of drugs or alcohol and I was able to go to work, have fun, wasn't violent and didn't want attention due to my past, I wanted to leave my past behind me... in the past.

I stopped there. Unfortunately, I had no one to monitor my progress, or lack of progress after CREDO. We were torn open at the retreat, bussed back home and dropped off with a few pamphlets and little direction. I know they do what they can with a group of people who suffer different pains for different reasons over the course of a weekend and I am thankful, 21 years later, for the experience.

Back to the present, the self help quest;

I ran across information on Adult Children of Alcoholics and after research into the best way to start recovery on my own purchased a workbook called "The 12 Steps A Way Out". Not that I am adverse to groups, but there are no meetings near where I live or work. I share with my wife who also suffers from her upbringing.

I am working on Step 2...

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