That being said...
Alcoholism is a recurring subject in my stories, and as I begin writing The Casual Cafe - a novel set in the early days of a young man's addiction - I can't help but think of my own. Having lived with addiction for 23 years, I have - like most abusers - tried to stop drinking many times. But I've also always failed because until very recently, drinking has provided genuine relief - not only to depression & anxiety disorders, but to the shame that comes from hiding mental illness. Being known as a drunk is far more socially acceptable than being known as someone with a mild schizophrenia.
With all that in mind, I've made a pivotal decision this week, and I know it's the only way I'll ever find sobriety. I'm not going to fight depression anymore. It's far too strong, far too entrenched, and unlike alcoholism's textbook progression, depression is genuinely "cunning, baffling, and powerful."
Like Dexter's psychopathy, depression has been my "dark passenger" for 34 years, and no drug - prescribed or consumed - will ever make it go away. I've wasted too many decades trying to change something that's as permanent as the color of my eyes...and if people don't like me because I'm mentally ill, then that's their problem. They probably don't like black people, either.
There is no shame in being depressed, and if readers could accept Charlie Brown's melancholy, then they've gotta' love mine because it comes with Seth MacFarlane humor! Besides, I'm not suicidal; I have every intention of staying alive for as long as possible. I've accepted the loneliness brought on by social isolation, my next three novels are outlined from beginning to end, and I haven't had a mood "collapse" since Goodbye to Beekman Place was published. By the standards of depression, these have been some pretty good days.
And when you share your head with schizotypal's dark passenger, good days are very hard to come by.