Choosing Life Over Addiction with Bipolar Disorder

Author: Che’ Lang


Thinking I may be dead because too many things in life are connecting perfectly, and way too often, was a sure sign that I was in the throes of a manic episode. Sleeping 2-4 hours a night was all I needed. I had no time to sleep. I had too many creative ideas flowing out of me, and the constant stream of unrelated thoughts were bound to sync up at any moment. I felt unique in every situation; I was meant for something bigger. The Universe put me here for a very specific reason; I was chosen as The One. My eyes gleamed with positive vibrations as they pierced into each person I looked at, and I knew they felt it. My body coursed with energy that felt like it could explode at any moment and paint the sky. At the same time I wanted to crawl out of my skin, and the true rage I would feel at times was perceived as passion, in my eyes. Reality seemed to separate, and visions of rotting skin was a dead give away that this mania was taking control over me.

Being so elevated and in tune with things around you is extremely overwhelming.

I found that alcohol really helped bring that intensity down to a bearable level. I could drink all night and not feel drunk. The only proof that I in fact was drunk, was the anxiety ridden hangovers that I was nursing several times a week. Waking up at 430am for work after a night of binge drinking was becoming the new norm. I came to crave alcohol on a daily basis during this specific manic episode. On a subconscious level I knew it balanced out the mind shrieking mania. A message from Source Energy would whisper in the back of my mind, “You don’t need this.” It wasn’t until a friend straight up asked me if I was an alcoholic, that I stopped and truly thought about if I had a drinking problem or not.

It brought me to look back on my previous years of life and how alcohol played a role. I started drinking at age 13 and drinking to the point of blacking out at age 14. I thought blacking out happened to everyone when they drank, because it happened to me so often. Once I started, I didn’t stop until I was passed out or puking. If we bought a fifth of Popov, I knew I wouldn’t remember parts of the night; and that told me it was going to be a good night. Alcohol also gave me a confidence I didn’t have when I was sober. The chatter of insecurities that swirled through my mind were muted and I could truly be myself. This false sense of security comforted me and I didn’t know how to be myself without it.

After my friend asked me if I was an alcoholic, I had come to the conclusion, after looking back at my alcohol history, that I possibly had a drinking problem. This prompted me to stop drinking and try to live life without alcohol. It took about 2 weeks until I had a craving so bad I rapid cycled from my still raging manic episode.Shooting up into the manic high, vibrant colors wisped around the air; plummeting into despair. I desperately called a friend and told her I was about to drink, and she quickly gave me an address to an AA meeting. Feeling completely helpless I found my way to the meeting.

I can’t even explain to you the thick feeling of unity that filled this room.

I knew none of these people, but immediately felt connected. It was a speaker meeting that night. I never in my life would have thought I’d have so much in common with a middle aged white man. I cried throughout the entire meeting. The lady sitting next to me held my hand the entire time. This embrace was not uncomfortable in the slightest; it was as if I had known this person for years. I realized I had found the group of people I had been wondering about for years. People who all believe in the Source Energy that created everything, that guides you through life if you ask it to. People who believe in synchronicity; a sign that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at that very moment.

The key to staying sober is working the 12 steps. The 12 steps consist of admitting you are powerless over alcohol, surrendering to a Higher Power, working through your resentments and fears, noting your character defects, making amends to people you have harmed, taking a personal inventory on a daily basis, keeping in touch with your Higher Power everyday, and then passing on these steps to another suffering alcoholic; ultimately, being of service to others.

I found a sponsor who walked me through the steps and I stayed sober for 4 years. In that time I was more mentally stable than I had ever been. I could think clearly and work through my issues and traumas, and accomplish goals I never could if I was active in my addiction. Alcohol does not mix with psychiatric medication. It lessens the effectiveness and leads you down a path of instability. I still had moments of needing medication adjustments, but managing those times were far easier and the amount of time it took to achieve stability was way less than it would have been if I were ingesting a substance that messed with my body chemistry.

Toward the end of my 4 year streak of sobriety, I had stopped going to AA meetings.

The struggles of life became harder to deal with because I wasn’t living the vigorously honest life I once was when I first became sober. The urge to numb out had come back and I eventually relapsed, and I continued to relapse for 2 years. I could only stay sober 3 months at a time and my mental stability eventually plummeted. The slow creep of a depressive episode began Spring of 2022 and I would continue having depressive and mixed episodes for over a year. I quit my job, had to live with my parents on different occasions to ensure I wouldn’t end my life, and I was thrilled if I could muster up the energy to shower a few times a month.

On March 21st 2023, my mom expressed concern for me again. I was drinking up to a handle of gin in 3 days and still was unable to manage my life. Being unstable drove me to drink so I could numb out the negative thoughts of how my bipolar disorder runs my life. My mom’s concern broke the illusion that I was doing better, and I realized I needed to get sober and STAY sober.

I’ve now been sober for 1 year, and I don’t think I would be where I am if it wasn’t for my support system of family, friends, and doctors.

Living with bipolar disorder CAN be possible. Seeking professional help for your bipolar disorder and working the 12 steps with a sponsor is CRUCIAL if you want to find peace and navigate life as a stable and clear headed human. Finding the right combination of medication along with talking to a psychologist on how to develop coping skills to decrease stress and knowing how to point out triggers is A MUST if you want to find stability within your body, and learning how to work the 12 steps is A MUST to find peace within your mind. AA and NA meetings are everywhere. You can find one in you area, here. If going to a meeting in person feels too overwhelming you can also find meetings over Zoom, here.

Having to deal with bipolar disorder, unfortunately, is going to be an ongoing ordeal for the rest of your life. My first AA sponsor once said, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice.” Do you want to choose to continue suffering, or do you want to choose the path that will lead you to TRULY LIVE… The choice is yours.


The content of the International Bipolar Foundation blogs is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and never disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read in any IBPF content.
Translate »