I learned it wasn’t an either/or. And that I didn’t have to “do this anymore”

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The hopelessness and lack of will to keep going portrayed by the young lady in this photo resonate with me deeply.

For years throughout my journey with Bipolar Disorder and Addictions, even before I started off in early Recovery in 1993, I kept myself going through sheer force of will and tenacity. It cost me pieces of my humanity, but I nearly always managed to appear unbreakable and functional. And save two instances of suicidality, I never “gave up.”

But after people helped me put the pieces back together, I kept “doing it” despite my severe mental illness and incredibly self-destructive ways.

By 2010, like this girl, I hit a wall-a deep rock bottom after one hell of a manic episode. My life was in rubble, like London after WWII. I was completely drained of the will to go on. I wasn’t suicidal. I was like her: “I can’t do this anymore.”

My last resort, the “flimsy reed” it mentions in the Big Book, was Alcoholics Anonymous. I finally found a Fellowship of people brought together by suffering and by a common solution.

That spiritual (but not religious) mutual aid society with no governance other than the love for one another and the merciless lash of our disease if we don’t follow suggested practices, surrender to a Power Greater than Ourselves, AND a better way of thinking and acting (mine CLEARLY wasn’t working), was the final piece of my Recovery. It tied in with my therapy, meds, and CBT. At last I could thrive instead of survive.

I learned it wasn’t an either/or. And that I didn’t have to “do this anymore.”

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