"Don't let anything stand between you and recovery."

About Trevor McDonald:

I’m a bit of a fitness freak who also happens to be a recovering addict and alcoholic. I’ve been clean for over five years, but this is part of my story that can’t be swept under the rug. I’m part of the content marketing team for Detox Local . When I’m not writing or helping recovering addicts, you can probably find me hiking, biking or working out.

Trevor’s Story

What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

(I don’t remember a specific turning point, but I do remember the day I woke up and realized I had hope; so much more hope than I’d had in many years.)

You see, I was depressed before I started abusing drugs and alcohol. For a short time, substances buried my problems. And then they got worse. So much worse.

Drugs and alcohol mess with your brain chemistry. This can cause your feel-good chemicals to get really wonky. Your brain and body grow to depend on drugs and alcohol for pleasure. Over time, it gets to the point where nothing else will do.

I thought when I stopped using, I’d have my aha moment filled with sunshine and rainbows. The opposite happened.

Don’t get me wrong. My life is amazing now, and I wouldn’t change any part of my journey for the world. It all made me who I am today.

But my road from drugs and depression was long and winding.

You see, after the physical withdrawal symptoms subside, there’s a second stage of withdrawal that has many mental and emotional symptoms. Depression is a big one.

I learned to remind myself that it’s normal. It’s okay to feel depressed as my brain re-learns how to work without relying on outside substances. And day by day, I got better and better.

What are some things that really helped?


  • I chose to see a counselor after my stint at rehab ended because I didn’t feel cured. I was severely depressed and even had fleeting thoughts about ending it all. I saw a counselor sometimes twice a week to talk about how I was feeling. It’s amazing how much this helps.

Peer support

  • I also attended a group support session weekly, so I could get support from people who have walked similar paths. Depression and recovery can both be incredibly isolating, and this helped keep me “social.”


  • Meditation is an incomparable tool for strengthening the mind. I recommend it to anyone dealing with depression and/or addiction. In fact, meditation has even been shown to naturally increase the brain’s feel-good chemicals.


  • When I exercise, my mind is relatively clear. If I can get myself “in the zone,” it’s just me and my goals. Exercise also increases endorphins, which are one of those mood-boosting feel-good chemicals.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

When you’re in the depths of depression and/or anxiety, you can’t always trust your gut. My gut always told me that I should stay home and do the comfortable thing.

Depression is a nasty beast that controls your mind. It influences your thoughts, and because of this, it can impact your actions.

Visualize your path to recovery. Make a list of the things that will help you recover (e.g., counseling, meditation, etc.). Don’t let anything stand between you and these things; not even yourself.

– Trevor McDonald, fitness freak, recovering addict and alcoholic, and marketer for Detox Local, based out of San Diego, CA, United States.