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(Not so) Lonely in Atlanta
Aug 4, 2002

Michael:

Thanks again for your forum and your direct reply. You were right I've been sitting on pitty pot.

It's now the morning after I took some action. Yesterday (8/2) I left work early and sought out AID Atlanta--while I couldn't enroll in a support group that day I was given allot of information. Next I called my sponsor and told him about my status. He was glad I told him and it means allot that he seems to love my more inspite of it.

Last night was the closest I came to using. Thanks to God, my sponsor and a deep concern to maintain good numbers I opted to take a sleeping pill--perscribed by my doctor.

ANXIETY! I obsess over everything. I'm unable to focus and complete task at work--despite my most intense efforts. I'm trying Yoga, but my sponser and I both agree that Effexor my not be for me. Is there anything out there that would help my depression, Anxiety and lack of attention span.

Thanks again,

Not so lonely

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I am thrilled to hear that you have moved into doing positve things for yourself. But I must say that unless you or your sponsor is a psychiatrist I have no idea of why you are second guessing whether or not a specific antidepressant might be helpful to you.

Get yourself to a good psychopharmacologist who is skilled in working with people who have HIV, and have a consultation with him or her. Do follow his or her advice if they suggest an antidepressant medication. Some people in AA have an irrational bias against antidepressant drugs.

You did not get sober to suffer and you will not be able to stay sober unless your depresion is correctly treated. I am sure that part of the reason you drink is to medicate yourself from feeling anxiety and depression. You will have a much greater chance of successful sobriety if you do begin an HIV + support group, begin psychotherpay, and if a psychiatrist suggests medication, you take it as prescribed. All of this is of course in addition to going to alot of meetings, sharing honestly about who you are and what you feel and struggling with on a regular basis.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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