Dual Diagnosis

It’s the weekend!  A time for barbecues, watching sportball, (football is the pointy one, right?)  or if you’re me at the moment, sitting on the couch with your S.O. and cat, watching the fog roll by, coffee coursing through your veins, a Boris Karloff movie shining its Technicolor glory from your T.V.

It’s also the time that many people drink.  Normally this is just fine, people can have a beer say, and go on about their fog filled summer (I live in San Francisco, it’s a thing.)

But some, like me, cannot do this.

I frequently have to explain to people exactly what this means.  “Well, can’t you have just one beer?” they ask me, adorably.  “I can’t have one six pack.  And one beer leads to one six pack.  It’s like a potato chip, only with gaps in memory and slightly more vomit.”

Many of us who are alcoholics may be dealing with underlying, undiagnosed mental illness; depression, bipolar disorder (present!) any of a myriad of illnesses that likely require medication.  It’s called “self-medicating” and it is very common.

Consider the acronym HALT, Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.  When you drink are you feeling one or more of these?  Are you drinking to forget?  To numb your mind? Are you finding yourself missing time (blackouts) or getting sick?

Are you waking up wondering what the hell you did the day before and realizing you hurt people, made a fool of yourself, or your money is gone?  Are you in a holding cell?

If you answer yes to any of these, I urge you to get help.  It doesn’t have to be like this.

You can get sober and if you are “dual diagnosis” you can be treated for that as well.  I promise you, you can do this.  I’ve been there. I survived.

I’m including two websites and numbers. Please call. Please get help.  Let yourself be vulnerable, it’s OK.

The world is a better place with you in it.

National Helpline

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.


National Suicide Prevention Hotline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.






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