depression and sobrietyI take responsibility for managing my depression and sobriety. Yes, I take meds. Yes, I go to 12-Step meetings. Yes, to therapy, getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising blah, blah, blah.

But seriously, it really comes down to honestly answering one question: Is what I am doing right now bringing me closer or further from a depression and a drink?  Going to a sports bar and watching Michigan’s football team get clobbered by Penn State – again, is going to bring me closer to a drink. Not taking my meds is going to bring me closer to a depression. Listening to Sarah McLaughlin and pawing through old photos after I break up with a guy is going to bring me closer to both.

I don’t want any more responsibilities. I get ticked off sometimes that I have to be responsible for my alcoholism and depression. I’ve got enough responsibilities: my 83-year old house that needs a new roof; getting my daughter through college; my job; saving for retirement; bills; leaky faucets; pulling weeds; scrubbing the toilet and herding the dust bunnies roaming the floors of my 83-year-old house that needs a new roof.

Along with all these damn responsibilities come consequences. You can’t have a responsibility without a consequence. It’s like one of those laws of physics: For every action there is a equal and opposite reaction. If I don’t get a new roof on my house I’m going to have some serious damage, which is going to cost me a lot more in the long run. If I don’t work, I don’t eat. If I don’t save for retirement, there is no retirement. And on and on and on…

If I don’t take my anti-depressants, get enough sleep and exercise I will very likely get depressed. If I drink, I risk losing everything, including my freedom and my life. I have to remind myself – constantly – is that the responsibilities I have today are, for the most part, luxuries. I am a single mom and I have a great old house, a nice nest egg, a great job, devoted dog and lovely daughter. I wake up every morning without a hang-over and knowing exactly what I did the night before and with whom. I am happy. I don’t think about killing myself anymore.

And those are the consequences of being responsible.

Photo by Eggybird, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.