Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Recovery From Addiction and Depression: An Interview with Vivian Eisenecher

Today I have the honor of interviewing Vivian Eisenecher, author of “Recovering Me, Discovering Joy,” and a sought after speaker, mentor and writer since 1996. Her other published works include articles for “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and Woman’s World. Her inspirational story has been enthusiastically received by churches, companies and corporations, national organizations and national associations. She is passionate about reducing the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse. She loves helping people meet their potential and discover joy in their lives!



Question: I love the definition of authentic success that you give in your book. You spell out PROCESS as an acrostic and go through the seven components of process. Could you abbreviate them here for my readers?

Vivian: Authentic success is not a destination. It is a PROCESS that includes: Perseverance, Resilience, Openness, Compatibility, Enthusiasm, Self-esteem, and finally, Spirituality.

Perseverance – The ability to stick with a project or situation until it is completed regardless of setbacks and disappointments.

Success in many things comes word-by-word, step-by-step, or stroke-by-stroke. Nothing is mastered in one giant leap forward. I thank God everyday for the gift of ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ He has so graciously bestowed upon me. Perseverance has allowed me the successes I now enjoy, and continue to build on every day.


Resilience – The ability to roll with the punches, to deal effectively with life’s adversities. To continue to move forward even after failure.

I can’t begin to relate to you how many times I tried to stop drinking and failed. I would bet I tried to quit fifty times. So, what if I hadn’t made that fifty-first try to quit? I’d be dead! Boy, am I glad I decided to get up and try one more time. Today, I have deep-rooted resilience, and it is such a tremendous advantage for which I am grateful every day.

George Patton once said, “Success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom.” Well, I’m on a bungee cord to the heavens, and I’m taking everybody I know with me. I am sitting on one sweet victory, and the opportunities my failures have awarded me are astronomical.


Openness – This includes open-mindedness–being receptive to other arguments or ideas and open-endedness–not rigorously fixed.

To remain successful, we must consider any success as an open-ended project. It is a fluid, evolving experience, not a one-time event. In my mid-forties, I figured I had attained all my goals. I had a beautiful boy and girl, a nice home, and I was happily married to a successful husband. I was even a good tennis player, which was very important to me at the time. By the standards I was brought up to believe in, I had done well. I had ‘arrived!’

I had arrived all right, and was on the brink of complete destruction.

I had what looked like success, but I didn’t have authentic success. Why? My thinking was closed-ended, and my life was at a dead-end. I had stopped imagining. I had stopped dreaming. I wasn’t open to new challenges, new opportunities for success.
We must look at every completion as a new beginning. Today, I have learned to leave the door open, and listen for new thoughts…


Compatibility – The ability to exist together in harmony. But authentic success means much more than that.

One of the best ways to become successful is to surround ourselves with successful people. Behind every achiever is usually another achiever. No-one achieves greatness without the help of others. By reaching out to others with generosity, we lay the foundation for lasting relationships.

The most powerful tool we have for building lasting and mutually beneficial relationships is a service attitude, in which our goal in every relationship is to add value to the other person’s life. If we approach our relationships with that attitude, we will always be able to find shelter in the friendship and trust of others.


Enthusiasm – The state of being inspired.

Enthusiasm is one of the most empowering and attractive characteristics we can have. The level of our talent isn’t nearly as important as the intensity of our passion.
When we’re passionate, we’re focused, purposeful, and determined, without even having to try. Pursuing our passion will sustain us when no external rewards seem evident. The chance for success at what we are passionate about is much greater than anywhere else in our lives.

When we enjoy doing something, we make it a priority. We discipline ourselves to be able to include it in our lives. We make sacrifices in other areas of our life in order to be able to concentrate on our passion. And sacrifice is usually the only difference between those who succeed and those who don’t.


Self-esteem – The appreciation of one’s worth.

Without self-esteem, it’s difficult to tap into our inner strengths. Self-esteem is a tool that can help us weather thousands of obstacles.

Having a self-worth more powerful than any rejection or failure that we encounter enables us to move forward with confidence. With high self-esteem, it is difficult for failures to defeat us. We can accept setbacks and move on. This kind of self-worth is essential for continued success.

Spirituality – One’s personal relationship with God

By adhering to God’s principles on a daily basis, we exponentially increase our chances of success. Nothing can compare to the power derived from our trusting acceptance of His gentle perfection. On the contrary, by refusing to place God first, I am deprived of His help.


Belief in God’s great power carries a huge amount of positives in concentrated form. Faith increases our social awareness, expanding our interest and perspective. Keeping God central in my life helps keep me from getting all mucked up in self-gratification, which is one of the core traits often found among the success-challenged.

Success is best achieved under His direction. Fulfilling our uniqueness within His moral and ethical guidelines will bring us success upon success. When we start having little victories, a momentum begins. Every success empowers us for more success. As we become more successful, we are in a position to give more and take less. All of my successes since I turned my life around are a direct result of adherence to His plan, which includes: Perseverance, Resilience, Openness, Compatibility, Enthusiasm, Self-esteem and Spirituality. This is my continuous path for authentic success.


Question: What would you say is the hardest part about being both and addict and a depressive would be?

Vivian: My low grade depression (dysthymia) fueled my alcoholism. It was a catalyst, a trigger. But when I was depressed and drinking for relief, I was miserable. Not only did I feel bad (depressed) but I felt bad about my drinking, too! I didn’t want to give up alcohol because I thought it was the only solution for me. It lifted me up if just for a little while. But alcohol is a depressant and so I would sink lower requiring more alcohol for the same affect. That is the classic definition of addiction, isn’t it? And so it became a deadly cycle for me.

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue! And click here to follow Therese on Twitter. And click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • Harold A. Maio

    She is passionate about reducing the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse
    By how much?
    The sentence actually says:
    She is passionate about reducing the stigma she is trained to associate with mental illness and substance abuse.
    Reduce it by one, do not personally make the association.
    Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor

  • docmongoose

    Interesting harold
    To write a book and make the best seller coinage, vs actually getting in there and getting dirty if need be.Those who mentor or sheperd those at a disadvantage may find them selves removing lost and sick sheep from all kinds of quagmires.

  • Ali Alansy

    Ali Alansy

  • Melissa

    Great article. I wish I could see more about recovery.

  • Your Name

    I’m pleased that a precipitator of addiction is mentioned. While abstinence is necessary once addicted, the victim can more readily “stick with the program” when the triggers are known.
    The number one cause of addiction is child abuse, especially sexual. Alcoholics Anonymous is filled with women who are victims of incest and men who have been savagely abused as little boys.
    I make these points in my book, “AM I BAD? Recovering from Abuse”. Child maltreatment is the leading cause of so-called mental illness because there is no normal way to react to craziness.
    Thank for this book and for this blog.

  • kirby

    I am so grateful today to be clean and sober.I would not trade what I have today for anything, and I don’t have much, but I am clean and sober and have found a new way to live. Through NA and AA working the steps and my Higher Power, We can and we do Recover. I thank God and the Fellowships everyday for another day. We can only keep what we have by giving it away. I am Responsible, when anyone anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of NA and AA to always be there and for that I am responsible.
    Thank God and all of you for another day clean and sober.

  • Leeann

    Thank You for this blog. This woman seems like a survior to me as I am, this article brings back many memories of my childhood of my father being an alcohloic and how my brother and I grew up. The abuse that we survived not from him but my mother, especially me I seemed to get the worse I think it was b/c I was very close to my father and she resented me for it. He stopped back in 1981 after his mother died but the addiction part never went away, first it was soda then years later b/c of back problems it started as pills and led to so many other drugs. He died 2 years ago this past July in his sleep and they never did an autopsy they ruled it as a heart attack b/c my mother told them of a clotting factor on his side of the family in men. No man had ever lived past 60 years of age and each takes one asprin a day. My mother was in denial about his drug problem as well as my brothers. I know that I could be an addict as they are but I stay away from all of that. I only take the medication I need to and yes one of them is a narcotic but I have made it clear to my dr. I will never allow him to increase it no matter how much pain I am in. My point to this story is even though I have mental illness and physical problems due from a car accident I know due to genes and being so much like my dad I could be at risk but people have a choice in life they can fight it, in my life I have given it up to the Lord and know that know matter what he is always with me and when I have fought with suicidal thoughts he always reminds me of those especially my children that would be left behind to deal with and blame themselfs for and that is something I would never want to happen. Her article is really good and I would like to know more about her and books she may have if you could Therese could you email me with more info on her.
    Thank you and God Bless

  • Marty

    This is for Kirby:
    I too have found my peace in the rooms of NA &AA after struggling with cocaine adddiction 25 years and a myriad of problems deppression being the worst and which I feel is what led me to experiment with drugs,first pot at the age of 15 and all kinds of others,I thought I’d outgrown experimenting with drugs when I got married and had children,what a surprise when I became a single parent at 29,although I was single I began to feel really good it’s like I was just starting to enjoy life accompanied with my children, when I got hooked on coke at 31.
    I’ve tried rehabs, church and a bunch of stuff only to go back to my misery,I even tried NA and slowly started using again.But I didn’t want to work the steps,some say I wasn’t finished.
    Well praise God I think I”m finally finished I’ve really been going to a lot of meetings I got a wonderful sponsor and am doing the steps
    This time it really does feel different!I hope to God I am done!

  • SideTrac

    Thanks to everyone’s input! I needed to hear all of the comments a few comments made, raised red flags for me. I am a recovering addict no matter what I choose to consume but I must believe that I will NEVER recover just as a diabetic will never recover from their illness I can only not use today and incorporated the steps into my daily life which will produce the Promises! I thought I recovered once slowly lost focus on my program in my daily life and when tragedy arose in my life I couldn’t deal with the pain and other emotions and there I went into my old ways of copeing. As mentioned above My Depression and fears overwhelmed me as a result I used. I wish I could make SSA understand that it is possible for mental health issues to exist and not be a result of addiction but for me the reverse and when managing mental health via meds and you loose your employment and medical insurance to obtain the necessary care the preexisting mental illness worsens and hopelessness sets in….it’s a set up that cunning diese gets you as soon as you turn your back

  • Your Name

    I am a recovering addict.I go to N\A and A\A meetings also. I have never been diagnosed with deppresion.I have always been happy go lucky popular and athletic. But I was never happy I was just good at hiding it.I can remember from my early teens not wanting to live doing any drug I could get my hands on.And now I have fianally hit bottom homeless.But to me it seems like I am not happy if everything is going fine.But I am finding the strength in GOD and the program to go on and give it to GOD. Bless all of you

  • Vivian Dixon Sober

    “You ain’t nobody. A drunk. Always have been and always will be.”
    After many years of drinking, my cousin went into rehab. I begged him not to return home to the same ol’ voice reeling through his mind. It belongs to his father. He wanted his approval and returned home clean and sober. Nothing had changed for him–as we are the so-called black sheep in the family. It didn’t take long before he failed. Alcoholism is problem for many in my family.
    I love my cousin and each and every one of my family members who are alcoholics. Just looking at your experiences gives me hope. I will simply wait for my closet of close to return to God, then to herself, and finally to me. First, she must return to the God she knows. His hands are large enough for her foes.
    Please do not give up. You are loved. Take your pad and your pencil out and join me. I will help you through writing. I will give of myself. I want you to succeed. If you do not believe me, contact me via my blog. It does not matter where you are. The Internet connects. You do not have to be a professional writer. I’ll show you. Thank you for sharing your success stories. Yes, you can!
    Vivian Dixon Sober

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment fred philip

    my name is Miss fred philiph, I’m from uk. I want to share my testimony with all of you.
    Prophet zambar gave me the possibility to start my new and
    happy life with jane. The commitment and Marriage
    spells worked beyond my imagination. 6th of June will
    be always in my memory as the start of our new life.
    We had the most beautiful wedding and I was in the
    seventh heaven from happiness. I am sure that this
    feeling will be with us during our whole life and it will
    never leave us. We’ll remain grateful forever. Please
    my friends if you need the help of this man just
    contact him true email

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.