Tag Archives: depression

Recovery Is A Crazy Place

19 Jun

Recently I have seen a lot of forum topics and headlines discussing mental health and addiction. As someone who is labeled as “dual-diagnosed”, this topic hits close to home. Steadfast supporters sit on both sides of the fence. The group chanting “no meds” rivals the group chanting, “treat the mental illness and the addiction is cured ”. I have very little time for extremists. Both mental health and addiction are personal issues that the afflicted individual has to come to terms with. I don’t feel that taking medication for mental health issues threatens ones sobriety, if they are working a strong program. In my opinion, if you are seeing a great shrink and they understand addiction, they must promote holistic well-being. If they don’t, seek a second opinion. My doctor insists that I deal with my addiction first, working one day at a time to stay sober. The use of low doses of medication to manage the bi-polar is suggested and it has worked for me. When someone deals with mental illness combined with addiction, they must come to terms with recovery and their personal mental health.

People like to talk about balance, saying that life is all about creating a way to manage everything at the same time. I prefer the term harmony. Finding balance is stress inducing and ends up being fruitless. I view my life as sheet music. I see the elements of my life as notes and if I’m having a good day they don’t sound off key. Some days the harmony is beautiful and other days it’s dark and disturbing. Regardless of how the song of the day pans out, it always reflects the real me. I strive for harmony between my recovery, my mental health and living moment to moment. The majority of the time, it works.

I am aware of what outside influences trigger a manic. I’m a member of the “all manic all the time” club, I don’t get depressed. I may crash and burn for a few days but for the most part, my bipolar encourages my mind and body to go go go. No one likes to see me in a full- blown manic, trust me it’s not pretty. I have had rage issues since I was a toddler and when a manic occurs, all of my tact filters fly out of the window.  The exact same thing happens when I drink. You can imagine what the combination of drinking and being manic induces. Utter nightmare. I manage my sobriety and recovery on a day-by-day basis. While I don’t adhere to any specific recovery method, my program is strong and has a solid foundation. The combination allows me to maintain some type of harmony.

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Addiction: Another Place Where Women Aren’t Equal

3 Apr

The percentage of women who suffer from anxiety, depression and suicide is much higher in women suffering with addiction as opposed to men.

In a world where women are hardly equal to men in many regards, it is not surprising that women have a higher chance of suffering from some serious conditions due to their addiction. This fact raises an important question:

What is being done, in a pro-active manner, do deal with this hardcore issue for women addicts?

It is apparent that the recovery industry (because it is indeed an industry) is taking notice of the different needs for women addicts. Treatment facilities that offer services only to women seem to be opening up at an increased rate. This isn’t to say that men who suffer from addiction don’t experience dangers, but for women addiction has always been a different ballgame.

The stigma surrounding women addicts in our society has always had a harsh connotation. If a woman is a mother, the reality is even more severe. Their ability to be a good mother, a good provider for the household and a better human being comes into question if they have the disease of addiction. The majority of men who are addicts tend to have a more sympathetic and understanding ear from society. Women addicts tend to be frowned upon, as if being a woman and having an addiction was something they actively engaged in. Addicts have one choice and only one choice, which is the decision to pick up and use just one time. After that, chemically they are unable to have control over when to stop. Are addiction treatment centers taking note of the specific needs of the woman addict?

truly hope that they are. There are psychological needs that all addicts must attend to upon initially getting sober. One of the biggest misconceptions that I have encountered is that when the woman, wife, mother, sister or daughter returns home from treatment that everything will be hunky dory. This is simply not the case. There is no reality where an addict, upon leaving treatment, is transformed into the warped reality of who they should have been. There is no basis for comparison between who the addict was and whom the addict will turn into. We don’t revert, well actually we can revert and that is when relapse becomes an issue. The point is that when the addict returns from treatment they are not going to fit into a cookie cutter mold of the false expectations (due to a false reality) based on what their friends and family want. How should we expect the addict, who is now in recovery to act?

There is no simple answer. We are all unique and in truth, the addict in recovery doesn’t have a clue who they are becoming because everything they are experiencing is new and raw. Equate their behavior to the age when they first began to use. They are going to have to grow-up and mature all over again because they were extremely sick the first time through. The message is to not have any specific expectation. This goes for the addict in recovery as well. Release the outcome and let nature take its course. Trying to demand or expect the addict in recovery to become someone they aren’t will be a futile fight. For the addict, trying to become something based on someone else’s expectations will leave you hollow, empty, frustrated and alone. Thereby proving the statistics that say that women suffer from more emotional distress true.

Don’t feel like you have to conform to a social construct of a perfect identity. When you become sober you will have no idea who you are, what you are or what you need. These elements will come in time. Simply keep the faith that the universe will get you caught up emotionally and place you on the path leading towards a meaningful recovery. The important thing to remember is that you have a voice and investing energy into where you use the power of your words will give women in recovery the ability to overcome the stigma attached to their disease by modern society. The result:  lower number of women suffering the psychological aftermath of a disease that is out of their initial control and the ability for these women to live a life with intention of purpose.

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