12 Step Recovery and Manic Depression

I went to a meeting earlier. There was a lot of talk about this and that, as there is at any 12 step recovery group. I won’t say which 12 step recovery group as I don’t think it’s all that relevant to what I’m going to say. It’s a new one though, a fellowship I haven’t ventured into into previous lives (I’ve visited quite a few of them).

So in order to be of service at one of these new meetings I have to have been a certain amount of time clean from my DOC (drug of choice) and have a sponsor with whom I’m working the steps. But I’m not doing that, i.e. I don’t have a sponsor, and I am not working the steps with the sponsor I don’t have. I’m slightly disappointed in this set of affairs, I mean, I’d like to be of service. But I don’t want to go through any steps again.

I’m still attending my local face to face group and there I do participate in service, so I am doing service at one 12 step group. Maybe that’s enough, and I volunteer to do the readings that get handed out in the new recovery group & that’s considered to be service.

Today I said in the new meeting that I’m not inclined to get another sponsor and go through any steps again because the last time I did this it was so gruelling. And it really was. No word of exaggeration there.

I also had to share in the meeting that I have relapsed a lot — just not for ten months (yipeeeee).

But then I got to think: well why is that? I’ve done such a lot of recovery work, why have I continually relapsed? I then realised that the reason is because of my Bipolar disorder. And the reason why I relapsed again, after the last time I went through the twelve steps and it was gruelling ++ is because I had not accepted my Bipolar disorder. The reason I know this is that I wasn’t taking any meds. So I ended up going through the steps with this sponsor when I was mentally ill. And going through the steps with this ego-deflating, gruel-making, sponsor when I was mentally ill with Bipolar Disorder did not make me well. Sure, I ticked all the boxes, which made me feel good about myself temporarily. I unpacked every fold of my brain and its twisted up thinking to that woman. I apologised to those people my bipolar disorder had negatively affected. I had a sense of having a clean slate. But I stayed mad: manic, deluded, spending madly, insensitive, grandiose, highly compulsive.

So what should I have done instead? I should have taken the meds, even though they made me fat. That’s what I should have done. But instead I stopped taking them. I thought “alcoholism is Bipolar disorder” and I’ll just be like everyone else in the 12 step program I went to then. But I’m not like everyone else. Everyone else doesn’t end up in the nut ward 5 times with no substances involved. I have to accept it.

I don’t have to accept that I’m addicted to my drug of choice; I accepted that a long time ago. I HAVE TO TAKE MY MEDS.

Now I would say I pretty much have accepted it my manic depression. And I think it’s been harder than accepting my addiction. I was just too used to being manic/depressed. It felt like me. I didn’t like feeling normal. I didn’t like being sane. I wanted DRIVE. I wanted OBSESSION.

I hope now I’ve accepted my manic depression I won’t have any more addiction relapses or trips to hospital. But time, like it always does, will let me know.

Published by unipolar2

I’m a writer living in Wales

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