Ask Amy: Drinking and depression keep her in a rut

August 3, 2012

DEAR AMY: I just ended a five-year relationship by cheating on my fiance. I am not proud of what I did. Alcohol played a factor, and I had done it before.

He left me (not that I blame him) and I finally got the freedom I so sorely wanted. I’m 27 and think the idea of marriage freaked me out. But now that I’ve been single for about a month, he’s all I can think about. I miss him more than I miss the relationship, honestly.

I began to drink heavily at least four to five times a week to try to forget him, but it made me feel worse. I don’t want to become an alcoholic like my parents. But I also hate my reality sometimes. I’ve apologized to him, and have made a choice to quit drinking and quit my self-destructive patterns.

I’m taking medication for anxiety and depression, but it feels as if I still get into bouts of depression, especially now. I haven’t cleaned my apartment much either; I just don’t feel motivated.

I hate who I am. I wish I could go back in time to when the two of us were happy, but I know it would only be a matter of time before I’d repeat this behavior.

I want to change. Any ideas on how to get myself out of this heartbreak rut? Or am I stuck like this until time wipes the slate clean? -- Need Answers

DEAR NEED: My vision for your future looks like this.

You: Sober. You are lonely, depressed, and either drinking or not drinking, or thinking about drinking or not drinking.

You are an alcoholic (even if you aren’t currently drinking) and until you surrender to this reality and choose to do something about it, the sad rut you are in will become an unwinnable trench warfare against an enemy that is bigger and stronger than you are.

Your self-awareness is going to be a strength as you do what you need to do to get help and feel better. You should seek a medical evaluation and therapy (in addition to medication).

But start by attending an AA meeting today. It is the quickest, bravest and smartest choice you can make in the short term. You can find a local meeting by checking AA.org and clicking on your state.

DEAR AMY: What’s the protocol on throwing away disposable diapers at someone else’s home?

Our family (and most of our friends) use cloth diapers, so this hasn’t been an issue in our house until recently. Now a couple has been visiting us more often with their toddler. They have been throwing their used disposable diapers (with poop) in our house’s sole trash can (which is small and is located in the kitchen).

I think this is rude to do without asking. We don’t generate much trash, so those diapers could end up festering in our kitchen for more than two weeks.

Should I ask them to please take their trash out with them, or is this one of those unpleasant aspects of having guests over that I need to grin and bear? -- Diaper Dilemma

DEAR DILEMMA: I was stumped here, so I posted a version of this question on my Web site: askamydaily.com. The responses contained many suggestions.

First, the poop. For lack of a more delicate description, your guests can and should “shed the solids” in the toilet, the way you do with cloth diapers.

Once this has been done, the dirty dipe will be more tolerable to your trash can, and I (and the majority of respondents) think you should tolerate it.

This is a relatively brief phase of parenthood. As you are emptying the trash, just remember that “this poo will pass.”

DEAR AMY: Your response to “Still Steaming” was harsh. A young couple canceled Father’s Day plans with the dad and stepmom because they were hung over.

Confronting them and accusing them of having a drinking problem is really an overreaction, especially since they’ve already apologized. -- A Reader

DEAR READER: “Still Steaming” claimed that the couple drank a lot. This was a case where drinking interfered with a relationship. I thought it was time to confront it.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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