Addiction and Recovery and OCD

Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)English Author
Doubt and Other Disorders Logo

1 a : uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with decision-making
b : a deliberate suspension of judgment
2 : a state of affairs giving rise to uncertainty, hesitation, or suspense
3 a : a lack of confidence : DISTRUST
b : an inclination not to believe or accept

1 : to disturb the order of
2 : to disturb the regular or normal functions of

Definitions from
Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Most of us
are about as eager to be changed
as we were to be born,
and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.

James Baldwin (1924 - 87), U.S. author

I am recovering from addiction, or alcoholism if you prefer ( alcohol being just the last of a long line of drugs I used), on the 12 step path. I do not speak for any of the fellowships. What I write here and on my other pages is just my experience. Take it for what it is worth. There are other paths of recovery from addiction, but I cannot speak of those not having any experience that I can pass on.

Good. The disclaimer is done. Let us move on to the good stuff.

Whenever I give a talk or share my experiences with newcomers, I am almost always a little hesitant to share what my early recovery was like. My experience of early recovery, say the first 18 months or so, was not pretty nor very typical. I am Dual Diagnosed. In other words I am an addict and mentally ill with OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). "Self-medicating," using alcohol and other drugs in part to mask the symptoms of OCD, kept me out there a long time after I knew I was an alcoholic. When I stopped drinking, the disorder I live with and just being newly sober and emotionally raw, made life very difficult. My marriage fell apart, I lost my job, had no place to live that I could call my own. All the stuff that is supposed to happen before you get sober. Things were so difficult for me my sponsor once announced to my home group that if I ever had a good day I would relapse. Only partly joking I believe.

Looking back, he might not have been too far off the mark. There have been times when the thought of going through all of that again (early recovery) has kept me sober. I think in many ways I am more afraid of that then of drinking again. All of that emotional turmoil, the pain and the rapid unraveling of the structure of my life, once glued together by my drinking, left me only one place to go to be OK. That was to the tables (that's what we call meetings in this part of the world).

Why didn't I just drink?

I am not sure I really know. I suppose, as we say," It works if you work it". Nothing major had happened at the point I got sober. I had not been arrested, my job was not in danger, nothing had occurred like that. I was just tired, tired of drinking in the dark. I was tired of just existing in this bleak winter world on which I lived. I was not living I was just existing.

I had tried everything else to find some measure of peace. I had tried marriage, religion, therapy, career changes and nothing had helped. I did not get sober to be happy. I tried sobriety to be just OK.

I knew I could always just go back to drinking, so I would stick it out just one more day. The chaos and pain of the change, forced me to embrace the program or drink.

I sought out those I saw around the program and fellowship that appeared to be OK or even happy and I asked them what they had done to get there. I then tried what they had.

I heard many things around the tables and still do, with which I do not agree. I try not to dismiss anything out of hand. I will just file it away as something that might be useful later.

I also sought outside help for my ocd diagnosis. The program does what it is intended to do very well but it is not a cureall. It does help keep me in a place where I can live with the other disorder and so does help with that in that fashion. Staying clean and sober and being clean and sober are just part of the program of recovery that I try to practice in my daily life. Without sobriety I would have no hope.

What I have been doing has, so far, proven successful. I have not picked up a drink since the day I walked through the doors to my first meeting, over 11 years ago. I am still mentally ill. Today, however, unless I choose otherwise I am OK.

That's enough for now. This page and the others here will be always changing as the mood strikes me. It is my hope that I will be able to carry the message that has, not just saved my life, but given me a life.

I am not a doctor, therapist or professional in the treatment of OCD. This site reflects my experience and my opinions only, unless otherwise stated. I am not responsible for the content of links I may point to or any content or advertising in other then my own.

Always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment choice or changes in your treatment. Never discontinue treatment or medication without first consulting your physician, clinician or therapist.

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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2009, January 10). Addiction and Recovery and OCD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 16 from

Last Updated: May 26, 2013

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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