Stay Positive Doug

That is Cape Town, South Africa. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. I have been spending a few months a year there for over 20 years. I have never been the victim of a violent crime. Until my last visit.

11 October 2018. That is the day that my attitude got rearranged. I’m still not sure what that rearrangement looks like. I just know that things are different now.

AA will be the same. The beauty of the city will not have changed. My family will still be my family.

I will be different. There will be an adjustment in my views, attitudes, thoughts, reactions, behavior and in my well being. That is the only way I can describe it. My well being. How well will I maintain my well being?

I have PTSD. I’m trying not to sound dramatic. I don’t like descriptive letters. Labels. Especially about me. They make me feel week. You can have PTSD. I just can’t.

Turns out, the psychologist I have been seeing at times over the years, is a trauma specialist. When I told him what happened to me his whole demeanor changed. He began asking me questions, about time mostly. How long was it before I talked to a professional? 5 days. He said that the first 48 hours after the trauma is/are when the most beneficial counseling can take place. 5 days is not ideal. He told me to treat myself, with kindness.


Two days ago, I saw my psychologist, another friend and psychologist for tea, and my best South African friend (besides Yolande) for a walk and dinner. It was a triple shot of love and support. Kindness. It worked.

I woke up the next day feeling better than I have felt in such a long time. I was really stressed for a week or so, before this all happened.

I have had physical symptoms since the gun was pointed at my face, through the car window. My body is reacting because of my inability to settle my mind. I’m still in fight or flight.

I’ve been told to treat myself as if I have anxiety, even if I can’t feel any anxiety.

Lots of talk, then a walk and lots more talk. It worked. This is day two of feeling better. Except, now that I am writing all of this and reliving that day, I can feel my psyche ramping up.

My face is hot. My hands are cold. My chest is tight. I want to eat. I used to drink in these situations. Deal with things with oblivion. Not my reality anymore. Thank God.

I do think God all the time. I will keep tapping into my gratitude. I’m grateful to be a sober man today. I’m grateful to have the love and support of my wife and my friends, in and out of AA.

I am grateful that I was born in America. Everyday I am grateful for that.

I am going back to South Africa on New Year’s Day. Going back. We are selling our house.

The decision was made months before this all happened. The tickets were purchased just before the gun incident. I don’t have to go. I am going.

I will keep my positive attitude. I can’t let Yolande go by herself.

I will continue to recover.

It’s not easy at the moment, but I know it is worth it.

Thank you to all my friends who have sent their love.

All In

3 thoughts on “Stay Positive Doug

  1. Good to know that about PTSD, that after such a trauma, counseling should be sought immediately. Keep sharing that. You are selling your house where, in Capetown? Be safe.

    Love, Lindy


  2. Hang tough man. You will beat this. You have. I know about PTSD. I was treated for clinical depression 93/94 and 2002 . I saw therapist both times. It was nice to have someone just listen to me. I don’t take antidepressants anymore. Thank God. Ok see you when I do.

    Liked by 1 person

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