My Journey of Recovery Through the 12 Steps

My first heartbreak was in September, 1990 when the guy I was involved with informed me that although he really, really liked me, he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend. This was the start of my severe depression and suicidal thoughts. The idea of not being with this guy threw me into a tailspin. He was my life. I could not breathe without him. 

My next relationship was no better. After six months of dating, the guy dumped me because I was too “needy.” I continued to sleep with him for six more months in desperate hopes that one day he would decide that he wanted to be with me again. It never happened. He even said to me once, “I know it’s really depressing, but we are never getting back together.” I was devastated and felt like I wanted to die again. 

In 1999 I got help for my mood swings and severe depression. I got on medication to relieve me of my suffering. Doctors spent years trying to figure out which cocktail of drugs would take away the severe depression with suicidal thoughts. I was initially diagnosed with depression and then diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2. With all the medication and tons of therapy, the low moods and suicidal tendencies persisted. 

I was single for the next ten years. With every relationship I tried to have, I would become obsessed with the guy. When things didn’t work out, the suicidal thoughts would come back full force. This went on for about fifteen years until 2004 when I tried to kill myself. I spent the next seven years in a dark and lonely place and still didn’t feel like I fit into this world. Why did everyone have a boyfriend but me? Why were all of my friends getting married and having kids while I stayed single and miserable? 

In 2008 my older sister introduced me to a 12-step recovery program to address relationship issues. With this love addiction I would make others my higher power and when the person did not want to be with me, I would feel hopeless and desperate and would want to end my life. Through this 12-step program I was finally able to break free of my addiction to the other guy and put my true higher power above everyone else. I developed a strong connection to my higher power and learned how to set boundaries to establish healthier relationships. 

I worked the 12-step program with a sponsor and she helped me put together a dating plan to learn how to date in a healthy manner. I met a guy in 2011 and seven months later we were engaged. I had finally met a guy that accepted me for who I was and wanted to commit himself to me. The suicidal tendencies subsided and I finally felt like I belonged here on this planet. I was lonely no more. 

The medication I take for bipolar and the therapy together help me tremendously. However, without this 12-step program, I would not be here today. I would have become a statistic and I would have lost my life to my mood disorder and love addiction. This 12-step program literally saved my life. I am so grateful that my sister introduced me to this program. I am happy to say that my life is ten times better than it ever was. I never thought I could get to such a peaceful and joyous state. But here I am living to tell the story of my wonderful recovery! 

To read more from Mary, see her posts for IBPF here or check out her personal blog


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