Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Huge Omission

It’s 5:15AM, and I’m awake. I’m not typically awake at 5:15AM, but these are unusual days. Thinking at 5:15AM, after too little sleep, is an interesting adventure. Fortunately, sometimes adventures are interesting and fruitful. Let me explain.

Yesterday, at the suggestion of myself, I decided to write a gratitude list. I thought that was a pretty good suggestion from an alcoholic momentarily sponsoring herself! Last night at a meeting, I spoke about taking people and things for granted. My sleep-deprived brain must have recalled that conversation. This morning I was jolted with the realization that I’d left one large…er, huge item off my gratitude list. Yup, you guessed it, I forgot to list my sobriety.

Sobriety. How could I have missed that one?? Yikes! I don’t ever want to take my sobriety for granted. Like relationships (last night’s topic), sobriety requires vigilance, awareness, and work. Sobriety is not for the faint of heart.

Rarely have we seen a person fail. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program. (from Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 58)

Cannot or will not completely… As one of my old sponsors used to say, “Sobriety is not for wimps.” If I am to stay sober, I need to work my program completely. I can’t pick and choose. I can’t do it half-assed. If I want to stay sober I must remain willing, stay open to direction, and be unafraid to work. Fortunately, The Big Book also states,

We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principals we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. (from Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 60)
I don’t have to do this program perfectly to stay sober. What a relief!! I need to follow the suggestions of the program and my sponsor. I need to be of service to my group and my community. I have to focus outside myself, and I cannot take recovery for granted. If I do, I may suffer the fate of an old-timer who spoke yesterday. He had 21 years of sobriety. Fortunately for him, after “relaxing and taking it easy,” he returned yesterday from a relapse to start again at day one

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