A recent message in a LifeRing email group included this comment: “40 years of smoking pot and 10 years of drinking heavy have probably scrambled my marbles…..eeeesh…..unhealthy coping skills and unhealthy ways of reacting to sadness have not helped.”

That comment drew this response:

That’s exactly the sort of thing that the whole recovery process can deal with. Pretty much in just the way you’re experiencing: not blocking the emotions with drugs leads to more feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety, which leads to doing something about it — making a series of changes, seeing a therapist, etc. Those steps can be pretty slow to bring benefits, unlike the alcohol and other drugs which acted virtually immediately, but aside from the clear head and better life that sobriety brings, those longer-term, ‘real’ changes improve things on a vastly deeper level. And, after a time, the changes take root and open up a whole new world. Not always a world of “happiness,” but one of hugely more satisfaction. Or at least that was my experience and it sounds like you’re on track for something similar.

Try to remember, when you’re feeling bleak about your future, that you have plenty of time to change EVERYTHING. You’re what … 38? Okay, more like 52. But that’s only about 30 years of living as an adult, and your life expectancy is, now that you’re getting all healthy and everything, well into the 80′s. So you’re only half-way through your adult life! Anything can happen (and probably will!).