Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Guest Post -Taking Back Their Lives: Dual Diagnosis Recovery Survivors Share Their Stories


Taking Back Their Lives: Dual Diagnosis Recovery Survivors Share Their Stories
by Constance Ray



I am a strong woman and I can do whatever I put my mind to. ... I'm caring, honest, and most importantly ... I love who I am today.” - Elizabeth, Proud Recovery Graduate

The connection between substance abuse and mental disorder is a strong and complex diagnosis. Left unchecked, the combination of the two can have devastating consequences. But how on earth is someone in pain supposed to claw their way free? It feels like a Sisyphean ordeal with no way out, and so the vicious cycle continues.

Treatment is, without question, the best way to battle the dual diagnosis of addiction and mental illness. To the uninitiated, it’s a terrifying and suspect gamble, but with therapy and group counseling, recovery victims can arm themselves with the tools and skills necessary to face down their personal demons and whatever life throws their way.

Survivors are proof that there is life after addiction, and hearing their realizations and discoveries can be the motivation others need to take the plunge themselves. Consider the stories of these brave women.

Katherine’s Story
Alcohol had consumed Katherine’s life.

“I drank pretty hardcore and it got to the point where I was drinking in the morning, at my lunch, drinking before I went to work, all night long. I was constantly buzzed or intoxicated. I went to my doctor. She let me know that she thought that maybe I was bipolar, and I asked her, ‘Why?’”

Her doctor pointed out that Katherine was making a lot of bad decisions and insisted that she take medication. Resistant to try anything, Katherine went home to reflect, and then a light went off.

“... I realized that I probably wouldn’t make any of these decisions if I was sober. I knew that I needed more help than doing it on my own.”

Katherine reached out to an alcohol treatment center, and from there, her life changed forever.

“Once I started learning more about my underlying causes and why I did the things I did, getting all the stuff out — all the guilty feelings, all the stuff from childhood, things I didn’t deal with — life just started to get a lot better. I started to understand my addiction. And I’m extremely excited to get out of here and experience a sober life for the first time.”

Audra’s Story
On the surface, Audra had the perfect life: a great job, great kids, a nice house. But it was all
a facade. Inside, she suffered from deep depression and despair that stemmed from an adolescent trauma. Audra started drinking when she was 12, and at 42, she finally realized her world was spinning out of control.

“I knew I was going to die if I didn't stop, and I didn't see any way that I could. I took a video of myself in a really drunken state, and the next day I had my aunt call me and ask me, 'Honey you need some help — what can we do to help you?'” Audra said.

The next day, Audra packed herself off to a treatment facility.

“I knew that I needed help, and I had faith that God was going to put me in the right place.
Within about a day or two of being [in treatment], I truly believed that this is exactly where I needed to be.”

Sober and prepared to move on with her life, Audra is grateful for what she has learned about herself, and she is grateful for the new opportunity.

“Without the counseling, I don't think I really could have gotten to the root cause of why I was drinking. I have learned so much. With those counseling sessions, we were able to open up all those wounds and just put them on the table and just let them heal naturally and on their own,” she said. 

Katherine and Audra are living proof that there is hope for those who suffer a dual diagnosis. There is a way to take back life and move forward. The process can be arduous, and it lasts a lifetime, but in the end it’s the survivors who win — not their disease.


-- Constance Ray started Recoverywell.org with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it.

Photo by Pixabay

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