The foundation for addiction/mental health recovery is community. Finding your “tribe” who share your life experiences is needed daily. Although I live my life by working the 12 steps, I do not attend AA or any other 12 step group. I mainly don’t attend because depression is the daily battle I fight. I am an alcoholic because I used alcohol to run away from the emptiness of depression. Alcohol made me feel alive. It also made me crazier. So I quit drinking Nov. 24, 1976.
For 39 years, I have belonged to the most underserved population in the addiction/mental health field. Dual diagnosis/co-occurring members have special needs. Living with the “Double Whammy”–addiction and depression recovery, I have had to learn relapse prevention for both. Luckily for me, I decided in 1976 that I would go all in with addiction recovery.
The 12 steps taught me the way out of addiction. But they didn’t help me with depression. I have dysthymia which is milder than other depression types and it comes and goes. I have had to learn everything about my depression by myself. I am sure that is true for most of us with co-occurring or dual diagnosis. The mental health field can provide labels, medication, and sometimes, if you are very, very lucky, good counseling. But we have to become our own mental health expert. It is an individual journey.
Some unusual recovery resources:
Solitary Spiritual Retreat Centers United States–hermitages, cabins, and other places for spiritual reflection
Moderation Management Public Hub–a behavioral change program and national support group network for people concerned about their drinking and who desire to make positive lifestyle changes.
Group Beyond Blue–Facebook closed group about living with depression. Has 4500 members and is very active. Anyone can ask to be added.
Recovery Unplugged–mission is to provide hope and healing for individuals affected by addiction using the power of music
CRAFT (Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training) is an intervention to help concerned significant others to engage treament-refusing substance abusers into treatment. This link is to Dr.Robert Meyers who originated CRAFT.
Harm Reduction Guide to Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs–published by The Icarus Project and Freedom Center
Beyond Meds–comprehensive mental health resource center. Originated by Monica Cassani who writes of herself: “I have seen the system from both sides – as a social worker and as a person whose life was severely ruptured by psychiatric drugs. I write critically about the system, as well as about holistic pathways of healing without medication. Beyond Meds documents and shares many natural methods of self-care for finding and sustaining health in body, mind and spirit.
Surviving Antidepressants–peer support for tapering and withdrawal syndrome
Emotional Sobriety–My Facebook page I’ve done daily for 5 years. Currenty has 6100 readers.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline–24/7 chat line plus other resources
Alliance of Hope for suicide loss survivors–a place of healing and remembrance
Dying, Surviving, or Aging With Grace--resources on illness, death and dying, loss, grief, and positive aging