More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
He apparently encountered some problems posting and asked me to post this for him:

inkandpaperguy said:
Alcohol & Depression
Hi, I am new to this forum and hope to find some insights into my situation.

I have been sober (and clean) since 1989 when I joined AA. I have been sober for 15 years; however, I was diagnosed with dysthimic depression last summer (2003) and am taking a 20 mg dose of paxil since then. FYI, my emotional problems really took off when I sobered up, it seems - no way to numb my feelings anymore. I know that I had treated depression for years with alcohol and drugs, so, taking "drugs" after all this time sober was a challenge (even though they were prescribed by my doctor).

I am confrontational (not violent) and I have a hair-line temper. I am verbally abusive when my wife and I fight. She is getting better at verbally lashing out at me too. I sometimes feel I could be the poster child for the "you hurt the ones you love" cliche. This fighting has pushed her away physically and emotionally and I know this is now having an impact on our kids (8 year old boy, 6 year old girl). We dont argue daily; however, our fights can go from zero to raging very fast. My wife is an RN, is quite astute and holds much of our collective common sense. We both know the home situation has improved since I began paxil 1.5 years ago; however, things could (should?) be much better.

I am about to embark on talk therapy sessions with a counsellor who knows my history & situation, I will be asking my doctor for a higher dosage paxil RX on my appointment next week and I have increased my AA meeting intake by one or two closed meetings every week.

I pray for happiness, sobriety, emotional balance and good health. Am I asking (or expecting) too much? Has anyone been down this road before and have some good advice? Am I making the right life choices to correct the slow and steady mess I am making of my personal life?


Congratulations on 15 years of sobriety! That's a milestone worthy of celebration, hon! Ya done good!

Alcohol and drugs, for so many depressives, are a way of self-medicating that they fall into early. My daughter is an alcoholic, after suffering with bipolar disorder for many years. She, too, is sober now...for about 3 years at this point. It's still difficult for her, but she keeps on trying, and we all try to remember to recognize her efforts and commend them.

When you see your doctor, you might ask him if the effects of the Paxil might be becoming less helpful due to the extended time you've been using the product. Perhaps, one of the new products in that same line might be an answer for you. Drug therapies have to be readdressed, periodically, to ensure their continued effectivity. I also think the talk therapy sessions will be very helpful for you. It's good to have a safe place to talk out our feelings and get new ideas as to how change might be addressed, taking small steps toward our end goal.

I admire you for your committment, and for your courage to realize that you must address your problems in a proactive manner. Give yourself a pat on the back, fellah. You're doing good work. :)


Hi inkandpaperguy,

It sounds like you're doing all the right things. I wrote a post about working on my anger in the "Anger Management" section if you want to check it out.



Welcome inkandpaperguy,

Congratulations on your sobriety! I hope your posting problem gets resolved and that you find helpful information on the site.


it talk therapy that works

I am lucky, we have a relatively generous health policy for therapy in Canada, and I was able to get involved in psychotherapy quite a long time ago .... having a family history similar to yours (we were proud of the vicious tempers and tried for generations to call the family instability an "Irish" trait, imagine how dysfunctional that is!)

Anyway, I stayed in talk therapy with an avg. therapist (therapist doesn't matter that much, people make alot of noise but alot of us have average bread & butter-type problems ... not the sort of things that usually demand the kind of witch-hunt I hear some folks talking about) and over a decade have tried various anti-depressants and psychiatric labels BUT have noticed that these things were only important early in therapy (and I mean I really believed I NEEDED medication, as much as I had BELIEVED I needed drink & drug ... ) well, ultimately they served the purpose and are no longer necessary.... and throughout this (nearly life-long) process of weekly "talks" I've come to see that what I now value and where my current insights are now produced I would have never been able to imagine at the beginning.

What I'm trying to say is keep going and don't be discouraged if the medication changes or dosage seems to take forever to kick in, and when you most want to quit and most think it's not working is when you should pay the most attention and still keep on going .... it's a weird thing to "get" but once you do, it works for life and you'll be richly rewarded for perserverence!
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