When I first found the 12 Step programs there was a pretty strict belief in never taking any medications. It was considered a breach of sobriety to take meds for depression or other psychological conditions that many in the 12 Step programs believed could be handled by attending meetings, working the 12 Steps and being of service. While this is true to an extent, what I’ve learned in the last 25 years is that there can be real need for temporary medicinal intervention to prevent or relieve needless suffering.
And the term “suffering” is not used lightly. When chronic depression, and some other physiological conditions are present people deserve assistance to alleviate the degree or severity of the suffering they may be enduring. And, it’s important to have a plan to wean off medications taken to temporarily alleviate psychic distress. The plan to wean off the medication is meant to be discussed and agreed upon before starting medications. Unless otherwise specified, this is often possible and appropriate – but not in every case, as it seems some disorders require more long-term pharmaceutical intervention or another alternative intervention.After suffering a brain injury that caused significant cognitive (thought) and emotional functioning, it would have been helpful for me to have temporarily taken a medication to minimize the severe degree of anxiety caused by both the physical injury and the disturbance to my emotional state. Going to meetings then actually caused more difficulties, as it was too much for my brain to process after the injury, either causing me to suffer from severe anxiety or to completely shut down and dissociate. An anxiety minimizing medication may have allowed me to continue participating in life, (meetings and all) and helped me recover sooner, rather than taking the many years it did without meds. And we’re talking severe debilitation including losing my company, not being able to work, read, drive, speak normally or operate socially at anything near the level I’d been at pre-injury. Looking back, it seems that this suffering of ability was to quite an extent needless for the sake of not taking a med that could be considered breaking my sobriety. And there are other methods for alleviating psychic distress as well such as EMDR, DBT, or hypnosis.
It’s been 19 years since the injury occurred, and it’s a miracle that I’ve recovered so much of my function. My life is full, and the experience gained from the physical and emotional recovery are very helpful to me when working with others. My recovery has also taught me about the great value of non-chemical interventions like EMDR, which also help the brain to function well, thus allowing us to reduce or eliminate anxiety that may have plagued us for decades. It can take only a single 45 minute session with a therapist. This was my experience. Really, I’d done everything else one could do, over decades prior, and only the EMDR was able to connect the neuropathways in my brain which could allow me to turn the anxiety off. This is truely a miraculous advance in the field of brain function, and has given me a nearly anxiety free life for the past 2 years. No more needless suffering. What a blessing! It reminds me how important it is to have hope.
Affirmation for the Day – ” I am open to the possibilities. ”
Remember to say the affirmation at least 3 times whenever you remember it, preferably in front of a mirror.
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