Concurrent Disorders Story: Addiction and My Recovery
I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 19 and it took years to educate myself about the perils of addiction that went along with it so well but, I kept asking questions of professionals to get the information I needed. I was a top student in High School and I enjoyed learning. Then I found marijuana, mushrooms, alcohol and LSD, my life slowly changed from being an overachiever to a girl who barely could function. I know something was wrong because my self-judgment and boundaries disappeared. I acted differently, lost friends and despite all the warnings went to party after party to get high. I quickly spiraled out of control.
When I got my diagnosis of schizophrenia I did not think to change my life. I still drank heavily with friends and continued to do drugs. I did not even have a glimpse of hope or recovery. I didn't even know the world existed outside myself and circle of drug using friends. I did not know the concept of health and making sane choices but learned about that as I participated in programs. I did not know what volunteering was or how to get a job, but was taught that by the supportive people around me that were there to help me recover.
Darkness and chaos was my life back then but now I make choices that benefit my life and I set goals that I know I can achieve. It took years to undo the damage of a lot of wasted time. I missed out on so much because I made the choice to follow a dragon of misery.
While I was doing drugs my symptoms never ceased, and when I came down from a high or an alcoholic stupor they would get worse. I never got the full value of my meds during these times and looking back I know the clean life is the better life. I now stay abstinent from drugs and am relatively symptom free. I also use a lot of coping strategies like deep breathing and relaxation to stay that way.
It took some awesome role models and some great resourcefulness for me to find the right programs and get the right help to overcome my demons. I know it can be done, and I know it is my responsibility to make it happen with the supports my community has to offer. I live and breathe "Hope" now and want others to know they can get out of the darkness and live a happy and productive life free from unhealthy addiction.
My support system and the love and compassion of my family and doctors keep me on a wellness path. My recommendation to others is to ask for help, read as much as you can about addictions and mental illness and take action in your recovery while, being involved in the community.
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