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Meth and depression have sapped my energy

answered 10:39 AM EST, Sat October 01, 2011
I was a meth addict for 4 years and I am now just a couple of months clean, which is a pretty huge deal for me because I never thought I’d be able to stick it out this long. I feel really down though and I basically have no energy to do much beyond going to meetings and getting back to my parents basement to watch TV for the rest of the day. I understand that depression and low energy are a normal part of the recovery from meth and I know that I may never get back to what I was before I started using meth (which scares me a lot) but I am really tired of feeling like this all the time.

Is there anything I can do to get over these feelings of depression any faster?

Art Matthews Says...

Energy level can be somewhat a paradoxical thing for all of us. My first question to you is how active are you physically? Human metabolism sets an energy point based on how much routine energy demand we have. The less physically active we are the less energy we need, so the less energetic we feel. Toss in meth use, and now you have a metabolism that was running on overdrive and now may be at a complete stop. Some of what you value as depression could just be a lack of energy. Start small, have patience with yourself and get moving. Twenty minutes a day of brisk walking and moving up to doing more and more. Make sure your doctor has approved vigorous exercise before starting if you experienced massive weight loss or muscle wasting while using.

My second question also relates to activity: what is your social and spiritual (not religious) activity level? Attending 12-Step/therapy meetings is necessary but not sufficient for your social needs. I know you may have a low opinion of yourself now that you're sober and can see clearly what your life has become, but you must avoid self-judgment and self-criticism and reconnect with yourself as a person and not see yourself as merely an "addict." You are so much more, but you have lost touch with yourself. Look at volunteering somewhere away from the addiction world. If you don't have a criminal record this can be easier than you might think. When you have a record, it will take a thicker skin and more creativity. Volunteering will be more flexible than working and will get you out among people where you can see yourself as someone who has skills and talents, and see that people like to be around you.

Your family may be part of the cause of your depression without meaning to. THey may be overly protective, cautious and skeptical of you. They have been through this too. They love you, but may not have known the best way to show it without it feeling hurtful to you. Look into individual and family therapy so that everyone is working on themselves and your interactions as a family. If you are without insurance but your parents have it, then they might be able to set up family counseling where each member of the family also has individual appointments covered on one policy.

On the spiritual side, it may be time to explore your beliefs about yourself, your value and your purpose. We all have intrinsic value, we all make mistakes along the way. I like to refer to mine as "teachable moments." I can choose to find a lesson in anything that happens to me. By doing so, I have less need for blaming myself or anyone else. Look into Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction. This is not just an intervention for stress but a philosophe of living that can profoundly affect anyone.

As a spiritual being, You have come through the fire and are just learning to walk. You are relearning how to be in the world and mourning a life you once had. Have patience, child of the universe. Don't be so smart that you can't be optimistic. Judge not. Experience life. Take a little risk to venture outside your parent's basement. Develop an "inner world" where your self-talk is positive and nurturing and accepting of who you are and what you feel... for now. Then set smaller, more easily obtainable goals and rake in some successes.

You deserve some right now.

Namaste.

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Page last updated Oct 01, 2011

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